Friday, March 28, 2014

The SharePoint 2013 70-331 Preparation Guide

Many of you are preparing for the Microsoft 70-331 certification exam. Well gird your loins my friends. Microsoft presents a list of skills that need to be mastered in order to be considered prepared for that exam. As a student, you want to consider these a checklist that should be examined with a critical, self-examining eye. The Exam is an MCSE level exam, which means that the Server Administration prerequisites of an MCSA are assumed for this class. Even if you are not taking the exam, these are the skills that keep you from having to install SharePoint multiple times or hire an outside consultant to fix your mistakes!

Exam takers can expect multiple questions based upon a detailed case study. In these questions you will need to select the best answer using your understanding of the scenario and its objectives. Sometimes you might be given examples of PowerShell code and to accomplish a given task correctly you’ll need to put them in the correct order.  Or hot areas where you have to click the appropriate area in Central Admin to accomplish something. Case studies are separate sections of the test that don’t allow for the ability to return to previous case studies.

For each of the major sections of this class you will find a checklist version of the preparation skills you need to master along with test tips, suggested web resource links on core technologies and details that are often known only to the subject matter experts. (We hope all links will still be available at the URLs given). In addition, bolster your skills – keep learning. Use your course sessions, your labs, and practice tests. Build your own lab environment to “make it and break it” on your own. You can learn much by using the free SharePoint Foundation server and using a trial version of Office 365, or downloading a trial VHD that you could install on Windows 8, Server 2012, or the free Hyper-V server installation. Read Microsoft’s documentation as well as the pain points described in blog articles on the same subject by professionals like yourself.  

With all that said, these suggestions and links are there to help you be the best SharePoint Core administrator you can be, test or no test!


The official Microsoft Exam page is here:

Here are some other things to start with:

Session 1: Planning and Installing SharePoint 2013

Be sure to understand the capacity of SharePoint objects: KNOW the maximum number of content databases, site collections, web applications in a farm, lists and libraries, site columns, application pools per server, Managed paths per web app, maximum database size, RAM consumption etc. Understand how to determine the amount of physical disk space and database space needed for SharePoint with capacity planning to ensure enough throughput for your devices. Understand how Network services like DNS, DHCP, and firewalls support or break SharePoint. Know how to install a Workflow Manager and then register it with Workflow Manager Client on each SharePoint WFE. In the exam pay attention to the case studies. A word or two can make the difference. Know how to relocate the distributed cache so it is NOT on every server in a scripted install. Know the PowerShell cmdlets that interact with SharePoint online as well as on premise.

·         Design a logical architecture

o   Plan application pools

o   Plan web applications

o   Plan for software boundaries

o   Plan content databases

o   Plan host-header site collections

o   Plan zones and alternate access mapping

·         Design a physical architecture

o   Design a storage architecture

o   Configure basic request Management

o   Define individual server requirements

o   Define service topologies

o   Plan server load balancing

o   Plan a network infrastructure

·         Plan a SharePoint Online (Microsoft Office 365) deployment

o   Evaluate service offerings

o   Plan service applications

o   Plan site collections

o   Plan customizations and solutions

o   Plan security for SharePoint Online

o   Plan networking services for SharePoint Online

·         Plan installation

o   Identify and Configure installation prerequisites

o   Implement scripted deployment

o   Implement patch slipstreaming

o   Plan and install language packs

o   Plan and Configure service connection points

o   Plan installation tracking and auditing

·         Plan and Configure farm-wide settings

o   Configure incoming and outgoing email

o   Plan and Configure proxy groups

o   Configure SharePoint Designer settings

o   Plan and Configure a corporate catalog

o   Configure Office Web Apps integration

o   Configure Windows Azure workflow server integration

Additional resources

Session 2: Web and Service Applications

Remember that there can only be one app site collection per web application, but an app site collection can be published to another web application. Farm admins can limit whether the SharePoint store is available to end users or if they can only request an app. The HTML field security limits the ability of certain sites to appear in content editor iframe web parts. Know which service applications do what, and what is not (Office Web Apps).

·         Provision and Configure web applications

o   Create Managed paths

o   Configure HTTP throttling

o   Configure List throttling

o   Configure Alternate Access Mappings (AAM)

o   Configure an authentication provider

o   Configure SharePoint Designer settings

·         Create and Maintain site collections

o   Configure Host header site collections

o   Configure self-service site creation

o   Maintain site owners

o   Maintain site quotas

o   Configure site policies

o   Configure a team mailbox

·         Manage site and site collection security

o   Manage site access requests

o   Manage App permissions

o   Manage anonymous access

o   Manage permission inheritance

o   Configure permission levels

o   Configure HTML field security

Additional resources

Session 3: Security

Be sure to understand Oauth based claims authentication, classic authentication can only work through PowerShell installation – though some BI apps only work through classic authentication. What Azure Access Control Services are (ACS) and how to configure an ACS connection for SharePoint Apps. Know the new sharing options for libraries. Know the sharing for External Users option in SharePoint online. Know which ports are associated with SQL and SharePoint and how to configure non-standard ports. Know how to export/import/install certificates in PowerShell and how to add a cert as a SharePoint Trusted Root Certificate Authority for Azure Workflow Manager, SharePoint Apps, SSL, and Farm Trusts.

·         Plan and Configure authentication

o   Plan and Configure Windows authentication

o   Plan and Configure identity federation

o   Configure claims providers

o   Configure site-to-site (S2S) intra-server and OAuth authentication

o   Plan and Configure anonymous authentication

o   Configure connections to Access Control Service

·         Plan and Configure authorization

o   Plan and Configure SharePoint users and groups

o   Plan and Configure People Picker

o   Plan and Configure sharing

o   Plan and Configure permission inheritance

o   Plan and Configure anonymous access

o   Plan web application policies

·         Plan and Configure platform security

o   Plan and Configure security isolation

o   Plan and Configure services lockdown

o   Plan and Configure general firewall security

o   Plan and Configure antivirus settings

o   Plan and Configure certificate Management

·         Plan and Configure farm-level security

o   Plan rights Management

o   Plan and Configure delegated farm administration

o   Plan and Configure delegated service application administration

o   Plan and Configure Managed accounts

o   Plan and Configure blocked file types

o   Plan and Configure web part security

Additional resources

Session 4: Taxonomy

In this section be sure to understand the MMS application and how it relates to columns and content types. Also make sure to understand permissions Management for MMS. Category Pages and Catalog Item Pages are page layouts designed to integrate with Managed Navigation. Assign them to a term from the term driven pages tab in the Term Store Management Tool

·         Create and Configure a Managed Metadata Service (MMS) application

o   Configure proxy settings for Managed service applications

o   Configure content type hub settings

o   Configure sharing term sets

o   Plan and Configure content type propagation schedules

o   Configure custom properties

o   Configure term store permissions

·         Design information architecture

o   Design an inter-site navigational taxonomy

o   Design site columns and content types

o   Plan information Management policies

o   Plan Managed site structures

o   Plan term sets

·         Manage taxonomy

o   Manage site collection term set access

o   Manage term set navigation

o   Manage topic catalog pages

o   Configure custom properties

o   Configure search refinement

o   Configure list refinement

Additional resources

Session 5: Search Applications

Be prepared to Configure a search server that can integrate with an existing farm or a separate farm, how to Define internal and external content, when to use the continuous crawl feature, and how to Manage the enterprise search application. Managing the SEO settings enables you to define meta tags to make the site cleaner for search engine referrals and linking. FAST and Enterprise search is now integrated and consistent. You’ll need PowerShell scripts to configure this well.

·         Create and Configure enterprise search

o   Plan and Configure a search topology

o   Plan and Configure content sources

o   Plan and Configure crawl schedules

o   Plan and Configure crawl rules

·         Manage search

o   Manage result sources

o   Manage query rules

o   Manage display templates

o   Manage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) settings

o   Manage result types

o   Manage a search schema

o   Configure crawl Performance

o   Plan and Configure security trimming

Additional resources

Session 6: User Profiles and Performance

Be aware of the new permissions model for user displays, how the Newsfeed tool works, and when to use the Distributed Cache Service.  UPA requires MMS and Search to function correctly.

·         Create and Configure a User Profile Service (UPA) application

o   Configure a UPA application

o   Setup My Sites and My Site hosts

o   Configure social permissions

o   Plan and Configure sync connections

o   Configure profile properties, Configure audiences

·         Monitor a SharePoint environment

o   Define Monitoring requirements

o   Configure Performance counter capture

o   Configure page Performance Monitoring

o   Configure usage and health providers

o   Monitor and forecast storage needs

·         Tune and optimize a SharePoint environment

o   Plan and Configure SQL optimization

o   Execute database maintenance rules

o   Plan for capacity software boundaries

o   Estimate storage requirements

o   Plan and Configure caching

o   Tune network Performance

·         Troubleshoot a SharePoint environment

o   Establish baseline Performance

o   Perform client-side tracing

o   Perform server-side tracing

o   Analyze usage data

o   Enable a developer dashboard

o   Analyze diagnostic logs

Additional  Resources:

Other Hints for the Test Takers:

For best results on your 70-331 exam, you will want to have done all of the following:

  • Installed SharePoint via GUI and Powershell, online and offline
  • Deployed multiple SharePoint farms in a single forest which talk to each other and share services
  • Deployed Office 365 tenants using Single Sign On
  • Deployed a full ADFS 2.0 infrastructure
  • FULLY Configured all components of SharePoint 2013 via the GUI and Powershell
  • Managed detailed Search configuration and optimization
  • Configured a Web Application to use ALL of the authentication methods
  • Configured multiple SharePoint topologies across multiple servers using a variety of load balancing techniques
  • Optimized SharePoint Servers, Services and SQL Performance
  • Troubleshoot SharePoint on admin and developer level
  • Designed Highly available farms with several disaster recovery scenarios
  • SQL Admin skills – especially db management (logs/perf/backup/restore/attach) and security

You MUST know PowerShell Cmdlets



Rakshith Roy said...

Some truly superb blog posts on this web site ,thank you for contribution.
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shaz said...

Just passed this exam. this was an invaluable resource! Thank you,