If one wasn’t enough this week, today I passed another exam – 70-451 PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
Combining that with yesterday’s success means I am now a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Database Developer 2008.
Doing the exams are an interesting (and educational) process but they have other advantages too – they’ll be useful to my employer (LobsterPot Solutions) and might benefit efforts for me to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
This morning I took the Microsoft exam “TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development 70-433”. I was quite chuffed after I hit the ‘Finish’ button and it said I’d passed!
One thing different about today’s exam was that I chose to do it at Rockfort International Pty Ltd. An impressive name, but it turns out they appear to be a 2-man outfit in a quite tiny office. I wasn’t even sure I was in the right place until the guy turned up and confirmed that yes they did do exams! Having said all that, once I sat down at the exam PC it was pretty good – quiet, comfortable and the PC had a reasonable screen. I’ve done most of my other exams at Excom, and last time I was there they still had a crumby old CRT monitor (running at a really low refresh rate) and that room had pretty noisy air conditioning. So even though the office may not be quite as swish, I’d rate the actual examination environment higher.
Over the weekend I was doing some study toward the exam and came across the following things that were new to me. Some of them may be obvious to others, but they’re not things I’ve used before or been aware of.
- You can create filtered indexes (an index that has a WHERE clause)
- An indexed view needs to use WITH SCHEMABINDING, and as a consequence the index must be UNIQUE CLUSTERED.
- Run a table-valued function against all the rows of a query using APPLY.
Note – these were things I came across BEFORE I did the exam. I am definitely not indicating these topics were either in or out of the exam (and no, there’s no hidden meaning here, I really mean that). All I am saying is that by reviewing the curriculum I happened to learn some new things.
Finally, let me pre-empt the inevitable lazy sod who emails me and asks for some hints or answers to this exam (apart from the fact that by taking the exam, I’ve agreed to Microsoft’s Non-Disclosure Agreement which includes not “Disseminating actual Exam content” ) ..
Do what I did – use the product, and know all (or enough of) the stuff it says you need to know and you should pass!
I mentioned yesterday that the Hyper-V server had been experiencing the Blue Screen Of Death with the message “A clock interrupt was not received on a secondary processor within an allocated time” (0x00000101). The problem is that it doesn’t really give you any clues as to what was the cause of the error.
Yesterday morning I changed the BIOS defaults to “Fail safe” and things had been working fine… until this morning, when it crashed again. Researching this error is not that encouraging:
- There are a few posts to forums where suggestions such as BIOS settings, defective CPU cores, RAM timing, CPU VCore etc are thrown up.
- Almost every other reference I’ve seen also indicates the problem is seen when running a 64-bit OS.
- AMD lists some basic checks but nothing very specific (I’ve already tried resetting BIOS settings, updated the BIOS to the latest firmware version
Presumably Microsoft are slightly more interested in the crash as today’s Windows Error Reporting asked for me to submit extra debugging info. I’m happy to do that, though I don’t expect to get any quick answers.
This is quite frustrating as until I can identify and resolve the cause of this problem, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the server.