Exam 74-409 – Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center (Post 1)

I am late to the party with regards to the free exam voucher for the exam 74-409 (this expires end of June 2014), but I have just booked my exam for June 16th. I have just over a month, taking into account a holiday, so I need to start revising! Having looked around there are lots of resources out there to help with revising for this exam but thus far I have found them all pretty daunting! Therefore I am going to use this post to start collecting materials that I will use to prepare for the exam, but I am going to try keep this as concise as possible.

Test Environment

You don’t need to have a test environment to study for this exam, but I personally learn best with a mixture of theory and practical. I downloaded Evaluation copies of:

  • Microsoft Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft SQL 2012
  • Microsoft SCCM 2012

On one server I installed Win Server 2012 and setup a test domain called ‘test.local’On another server I installed Win Server 2012, SQL 2012 (with full test search), SCCM 2012 and also the Hyper-v role. I managed to get this all set-up without any problems but if you do have any troubles drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to get you back on track.

The Course Topics

So that I know which specific areas to study I’ll go through each of the course objectives found under the Skill measured section of the Microsoft Exam Page. For each topic I will hyper-link pages I found useful and comment where appropriate so that once I have gone through each section once I can use this for my revision.

Configure Hyper-V (Makes up 35-40% of the Exam)


For this section I have started by watching Microsoft’s Virtual Academy which covers each topic on the exam, but in my opinion does give enough detail. I did start watching the 1st video but I have actually skipped to the 2nd video as I felt this was more in-line in with the exam objectives.

This objective may include but is not limited to: Configure dynamic memory; configure smart paging; configure Resource Metering; configure guest integration services; create and configure Generation 1 and 2 virtual machines; configure and use extended session mode, and configure RemoteFX

Dynamic Memory consists of 3 memory types; Start up (used to boot machine), Minimum (memory the VM will reduce to if not used) and Maximum (the most memory it can use).

Smart Paging will only really occur when VM(s) are using their start-up memory and in total use more than is avaiable on the VM host. Smart Paging will create a temp page area on the VM storage location (as default) but will trigger an alert if not cleared after 30 minutes.

Generation 2 VM’s came about in Win Server 2012 R2 which basically updated the virtual hardware used. Other improvements: VHDX, Online expand of boot disk, Larger boot volume (64TB vs 2TB),  Boot from SCSI attached storage and removed redundant hardware like floppy disk).

Guest integration services allow you to copy a file onto a VM without it having any network connectivity or shared folders. It uses the VMBus and is useful when a server has to be isolated (web server). 

RemoteFx off-loads graphically intense workloads from the CPU to a physical GPU in Windows Server 2012 .

Extended session mode redirects Display configuration, Audio, Printers, Clipboard, Smart cards, USB devices, Drives and Supported Plug and Play devices

Create and configure virtual machine storage.

SmallvideoVirtual Academy has a good section on the hyper-v drives (see below) which is in the 3rd video, however I would recommend skipping to around 21 minutes as before is about “Cluster in a box” which I don’t think is covered in the exam.

This objective may include but is not limited to: Create VHDs and VHDx; configure differencing drives; modify VHDs; configure pass-through disks; manage checkpoints; implement a virtual Fibre Channel adapter; configure storage Quality of Service

VHDX was the default since Server 2012 and supports up to 64 TB.

Differencing disks use in conjunction with an existing ‘parent’ disk in so that any changes made to the baseline parent image are actually stored on the child differencing disk. The differencing can be merged into the parent disk later. or the differencing disk deleted. You can have multiple differencing disks on the same parent, and you can chain differencing disks.

Pass-through disks are, from what I understand, a pre-existing non-virtual hard-disk which is in an offline state. The benefit is performance based but you lose a lot of benefits, example being portability.

Checkpoints are the same as snapshots. When a snapshot is created the vhdx is set to read-only and all future changes are written to a .avhd. It is only recommended to run this short-term due to the performance hit, and when a snapshot is deleted the VM needs to be shutdown.

With this Hyper-V virtual Fibre Channel feature, you can connect to Fibre Channel storage from within a virtual machine.

Storage QOS let an administrator  throttle the storage I/O to stop a tenant from consuming excessive storage resources that may impact another tenant

Create and configure virtual networks.

This objective may include but is not limited to: Configure Hyper-V virtual switches; optimize network performance; configure MAC addresses; configure network isolation; configure synthetic and legacy virtual network adapters; configure NIC teaming in virtual machines.

Network TypesExternal allows you to connect your VMs to each other and to the physical host machine. Internal is between VM and Host. Private is networked between the VMs. 

Please see my other page for Optimizing network Performance on Hyper-V servers

Next Topic Configure and Manage Virtual Machine High Availability 


3 responses to “Exam 74-409 – Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center (Post 1)

  1. Pingback: Optimize Network Performance on Hyper-V | Life with Computers·

  2. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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