SharePoint resources for demos

Today’s post I thought I would include in order to find anything needed to create a working demo of SharePoint locally. Nowadays,  Azure or other cloud providers make this much easier, but if you want more control you can spin up your own locally.

Windows Server

2019 (still beta as of now)




SQL Server





SharePoint 2016


SharePoint 2013


Server (Standard and Enterprise)


SharePoint 2010


Server (Standard and Enterprise)


Enjoy and happy lab building!


Thoughts on taking the 70-346 exam

Recently I took the 70-346 exam from Microsoft to further my knowledge and skills about being able to administer an Office 365 environment.

It was a difficult test and in the end I did not pass on my first try, but I got close to passing (maybe about 2-3 questions close by my calculations). But as the old saying goes “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades…”.

One area I think that really kept me from passing this exams was I was not as prepared on knowing how important the specific DNS settings for setting up the O365 environment was. I had a general idea on it but I wasn’t super familiar with things on certain services like port numbers and other items that I am starting to go back and refresh my knowledge on now.

Another area I struggled with was the different admin roles and how extensive the settings are for Rights Management in O365. Once I go back and retry for this I will review this area as well.

For those that are curious my method of prep here has been through an online resource that gave video training and remote labs in order to go through scenarios to learn each content area. One of the main frustrations I am dealing with is everything right now around Office 365 in general, which is how do you train on something that changes constantly?

For example I have content in some of my training right now that discusses DirSync and ADFS 2.0. Yes, 2.0… As of today (February 2018) ADFS is somewhere in the neighborhood of version 3.0 or 3.1 if I remember correctly. And it doesn’t stop there. I recall one area that tripped me up in knowing the different icons on the service health dashboard in O365 and what they mean.

Well, as it stands right now the study content I have reviewed and what is representative in O365 today is miles apart.

Now they do go into describing things about AAD Connect and how that is used so thankfully at least that helps out to be relevant in this section.

So my main advice when getting ready for this exam is know your Office 365 history. If you are new at all in getting into O365 from an admin perspective, hit up YouTube or other resources like MVA or others I have mentioned in my previous post to get an idea of where Office 365 has come from and where it is now.

The key here I think will be to refresh on core items that won’t change like domains and other important topics, but keep in mind and look to older content if necessary so you don’t get tripped up and hopefully that will give you an edge to pass it on the first time, unlike me having to go back and try to prepare for a second attempt.


Update 03/06/2018: Just found out today that the MS Learning folks @borntolearn updated a bunch of resources for getting prepared on this exam and other tests. Hit this link to check it out:

SharePoint Survival Course

This past week I attended a SharePoint Admin survival course and it was a great training event to learn SharePoint and everything related to it.

The main reason I wanted to attend this training was to get familiar with the new content for SharePoint 2016 and to get familiar with what it takes to implement a hybrid environment for SharePoint.

The content of this class was excellent, but the best part of the course for me was actually going through and configuring a test environment on premises and in the cloud and connecting the two. This was something in the past I wasn’t sure how to replicate and it was a great learning experience in the class.

We covered other topics like Hybrid One Drive and Sites (more like site pages), Hybrid Search in 2016, Configuring a workflow server, setting up Office Online Server (formerly Office Web Apps), and many other areas that give a good foundation to be prepared for SharePoint 2016.

There’s so many different aspects of SharePoint that could be focused on in this course, but I felt like that this had something if you are a beginner or if you have a few years (and grey hairs on you like me), there is plenty of information to be absorbed.

I would even recommend this course to those people not on 2016 yet. 2013 has plenty of presence and discussion in this course because while Microsoft has improved many areas in the newest version, the foundation of much of the product is still rooted in the functionality of 2013.

Lastly what you take away from this course is confidence. Confidence that you are better prepared for all SharePoint has to offer. You also get a great pool of scripts, links, articles and reference material that will take me a long time to digest thoroughly. If you have a chance to take this training, jump at it.


SharePoint Saturday Atlanta 2014

Back on June 21st, I had the privilege of attending my first event of the year in Atlanta at the Georgia State University Student Center.

You can find out more about the event by going here.

The twitter feed for this event was #SPSATL and if you have a chance, I highly recommend you go back and check out all the content that was related to this one.

While I was there I had a chance to check out the following sessions:

“Anatomy of an Intranet” by Michael Greene Twitter Blog

“Use SharePoint as a viable Hybrid Approach to your Enterprise” by Eric Harlan Twitter Blog

“Windows Azure as a SharePoint Farm Restore Rehearsal Space” by Tyler Bithell Twitter Blog and Pablo Montequin Twitter

“The White Hat: hacking SharePoint On-Prem from Google Reconnaissance to Metasploit” by Joseph Irvine Blog

“Business Intelligence with SharePoint 2013 and SQL 2014” by Ivan Sanders Twitter Blog

My personal favorite of the day was the session on hacking SharePoint by Joseph Irvine. It gave me chills as to some steps I should be doing with my own SharePoint farms, but also gave many examples of businesses and organizations that show they just click next, next, next and then quit maintaining their servers.

Shame on them and shame on me too! Security for the most part isn’t too difficult, it just takes extra time that most people don’t have the time for. Until they get hacked or pwned.

The folks in charge of putting on this event did a great job! I look forward to these events whenever I can go because they always line up good speakers who can give you FREE training on something you want to learn more about. If there is an event going on close to you in the future it’s worth a tank of gas and a Saturday of your time to better yourself. Now go sign up!! 🙂

To learn more about upcoming events for SharePoint Saturdays head on over to