I was recently fortunate enough to be accepted into the Lync 2010 Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) course. The MCM program is designed to recognise, develop, and validate industry experts in order to ensure Microsoft solutions such as Lync Server 2010, are successfully deployed according to global best practices.
I’m currently 4 days into the 3 week course that is held at the Microsoft head office in Redmond, Washington, and it’s been amazing so far. Many of the instructors are current or ex program managers that have led the development of OCS and Lync. It’s been great to hear the history of the development and understand how and why everything works.
Today we dived into the Lync edge server to look at how Lync provides seamless remote access and federation to users over the internet. This section was led by the original program manager that implemented the NAT/Firewall traversal technology in OCS. The sophistication and robustness of the Lync edge server is incredible, we actually had quite a hard time trying to break it in the lab.
The pace of the course is gruelling. Even before arriving there was a pile of prerequisite reading and videos to consume. The classes run from 8am to 7pm, 6 days a week, with extra study expected in the evenings to keep up. At least it keeps me out of the chilly Seattle weather…
The training facilities in Redmond are excellent. Each candidate has:
· 2 PCs each with dual monitors, headsets, and HD cameras
· Polycom CX600 handset
· Analogue handset
· Cisco handset
· High avilability caffeine sources and enough candy to feed us for a year
On the back end, each candidate has a dedicated Hyper-V server which provides over 50 separate virtual machines that are required for the lab scenarios we must complete. Since everyone on the course is very experienced with OCS/Lync deployments, the labs mostly involve digging into the network/SIP traces to examine and understand how it works under the hood. Not so much clicking next, next , next….
The course concludes with a 4 hour exam and an 8 hour qualification lab.
Tomorrow night we do battle against the Exchange and Sharepoint Master candidates on xbox 360 Kinect