Jan 262011

Firstly I should point out I’m not an exchange guy. In fact I have only installed and maintained it on a –200 user platform, and that was Exchange 2003. So when I was asked to review TrainSignals Exchange 2010 training I found myself being the perfect candidate to give an impartial view. In addition I have not done many video based courses like this so being able to compare this training to a on site instructor led course gave me the opportunity to choose if I should follow this path in the future.

The training package comes in DVD format and contains 3 disks. Split over 40 lessons the subject range across ‘System requirements and Prerequisites’, Understanding and Managing Databases’ to ‘Anit-Virus and Anti Spam Features’. The initial overview and setup I found to be more than enough to be able to grasp what was expected of the training and also what was expected of myself i.e. setting up my lab environment. While I am a relative Exchange newbie it did strike me that someone with some experience may find it more tedious to sit through every section or slide so the ability to fast-forward or skip sections is a huge advantage over an instructor led course.

Just like an instructor led course there is a powerpoint presentation and an instructor that guides you through the training. There are even instructor notes should you want to retrain someone using the TrainSignal slides. The instructor ‘Peter Bruzzese’ explained the concepts very well and I thought managed to get his point over excellently. However even when you did miss a piece or didn’t understand the first time you can always role it back to the point you lost him.

I found that being able to put them onto my iPad (or equivalent) meant I could still see my screen that I was working on and watch the demos and powerpoints. These files are on the additional content DVD (DVD 3) and it is very easy to follow and even tells you how to get the files into iTunes.

I do a few recommendations regarding the instillation:

  • I would of liked the option of the command line instillation as well as the GUI. (or at least point us to the Technet article on how to do it).
  • Patching the server prier to use was skimmed over and is key to passing the instillation pre-requisites.
  • When errors in the instillation did occur (for me anyway) there were no “and a few common instillation issues are” section. This left me having to pause the training why I troubleshot the issues.

I appreciate it is not possible to account for every error or misconfiguration that a user will come across or cause however this would have been a ‘nice to have’.

All in all this was a fantastic training course that you can manage at your own pace to really understand the subject. The only issues I could find were personal to me (as i did not set up my lab correctly in the first place). This type of education, for me, is much preferred to the self-paced books that are out there. As I am Dyslexic it can often take time and multiple re-reads of a book to understand it but with this method and the standard TrainSignal have produced enables me to learn at heighted pace and level of data absorption.

TrainSignal provide a wide range of courses including Microsoft and VMware and if they are to the same standard as this one they are sure to be excellent. Get the pirchase details here and also check out www.trainsignal.com and follow the on twitter.

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