Ways Around IT is a typical techlog. It has no agenda, focus, or purpose other than to offer something back to the community by way of individual musings of its contributors. The owner and main author has been in IT for 15 years and still gets excited about it. He gets his income from working as an Infrastructure Solutions Architect, mostly based around Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange. He gets his professional satisfaction from helping a few charitable organisations with their IT needs.
Anything More Specific?
Well, yes. I decided to go for the Microsoft Certified Master program. It is Microsoft’s premier technical certification (Microsoft Certified Architect, which is right at the top and requires MCM as a prerequisite, focuses on business aspects, too. It also hasn’t got any exams attached to it). The program is very demanding and preparation will last months.
During the process of making a decision whether to bite the MCM bullet, it became apparent that blogs would be a major part of the whole exercise. Microsoft’s MCM pages are good as a starting point, but the really good information can only be obtained by reading blogs from those who attended the program (see side links – I will continue to populate them over time). So, I read quite a few posts on quite a few blogs and quickly realised that there is a very direct correlation between useful blogs, MVP awards and first-time passes on MCM. Now, as most folk in IT I too tend to be an early adopter of new technologies (you know, get new iPhone on the day of release and proceed to play Bejewelled on it sort of stuff), but somehow blogging evaded me. Mostly, I think, because I never thought I had anything really useful to contribute. Until now, that is.
There are two major things I want this blog to provide. And they are very much connected.
The first is a comprehensive source of information about my preparation for the MCM program. I intend to go for the June 2011 Exchange 2010 rotation (I believe it will be R10), which means there should be a good eight months of posts here – enough to track my progress with a good degree of measurability. The reason that I believe this will be useful is that I get the feeling that, even after 15 years in IT (13 since my first MCSE), I have a feeling that I am nowhere near ready for the MCM program. So, irrespective of whether that feeling is justified – by the time the whole exercise is completed, someone reading the blog should be able to extract their own, relatively objective conclusions. Or so goes my thinking for Blog Rationale No. 1.
The second reason is that as a contractor Technical Architect I change clients fairly frequently (13 in the last ten years). In almost all circumstances, I found that every time I start a new contract, I have to spend a considerable period of time working out that specific organisation’s scoping, selection, design, documentation, approval, implementation and all other processes involved in any infrastructure project. There are also quite a few frameworks out there, including MSF, TOGAF and others. So, I thought that it would be useful for me to have some sort of ready-made best-practice environment, including relevant designs that I could use as a starting point for all future similar deployments.
Therefore, instead of just running silly number of Exchange Servers in my practice lab, I decided that I will run a silly number of Exchange Servers, as well as numerous System Center and Forefront products, as well as various AD environments and I’ll create them all by following relevant Infrastructure Planning and Design recommendations.
Since all documents will be created by me, using publicly available information, I hope that others may find them useful and will be welcome to reuse them, particularly in small to medium environments where there are no TA handbooks, established processes and such like.
Standard Disclaimer: Should this original idea turn out not to be very useful, I may change the purpose of the blog without any notice.