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The curriculum of the EITC/IS/WSA Windows Server Administration focuses on knowledge and practical skills in administration and security management in Microsoft Windows Server organized within the following structure, encompassing comprehensive video didactic content as a reference for this EITC Certification.
Windows Server is a brand name for a group of server operating systems released by Microsoft since 2003. After Linux it is one of the most popular operating systems for network servers. It includes Active Directory, DNS Server, DHCP Server, Group Policy, as well as many other popular features for state-of-the-art network servers. In contrary to Linux (the most popular operating system for servers), Microsoft Windows Server is not open-source, but a proprietary software.
Since 2003, Microsoft has released a series of server operating systems under the Windows Server brand name. Windows Server 2003 was the first Windows server edition to be offered under that brand. Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server was the initial server edition, followed by Windows NT 3.5 Server, Windows NT 3.51 Server, Windows NT 4.0 Server, and Windows 2000 Server. Active Directory, DNS Server, DHCP Server, Group Policy, and many other popular features were included in Windows 2000 Server for the first time.
Microsoft typically provides ten years of support for Windows Server, with five years of mainstream support and an extra five years of extended support. These editions also include a comprehensive graphical user interface (GUI) desktop experience. Server Core and Nano Server variants were introduced with Windows Server 2008 R2 to decrease the OS footprint. To distinguish these updates from semi-annual releases, Microsoft referred to them as “long-term servicing” releases between 2015 and 2021. (see below.)
Microsoft has published a major version of Windows Server every four years for the past sixteen years, with one minor version released two years after a major release. The “R2” suffix was added to the titles of the minor versions. Microsoft violated this pattern in October 2018 when it released Windows Server 2019, which was supposed to be “Windows Server 2016 R2.” In addition, Windows Server 2022 is a small enhancement over the previous version.
The following are included in the full releases:
Main features of the Windows Server include:
Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) is a directory service for Windows domain networks. An Active Directory domain controller authenticates and authorizes all users and computers in a Windows domain network, as well as assigning and enforcing security policies and installing or upgrading software. A schema describes the sorts of objects that can be stored in an Active Directory database, as well as the qualities and information that the objects represent. A forest is a group of trees that share a global catalog, directory schema, logical structure, and directory configuration. A tree is a collection of one or more domains linked in a transitive trust hierarchy in a continuous namespace. A domain is a logical collection of objects (computers, users, and devices) that share an Active Directory database. The DNS name structure, which is the Active Directory namespace, is used to identify domains. Users in one domain can access resources in another domain thanks to trusts. When a child domain is created, trusts between the parent and child domains are automatically created. Domain controllers are servers that are configured with the Active Directory Domain Services role and host an Active Directory database for a specific domain. Sites are groups of interconnected subnets in a specific geographical place. Changes made on one domain controller are replicated to all other domain controllers that share the same Active Directory database (meaning within in the same domain). The Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC) service manages traffic by creating a replication topology of site links based on the defined sites. Change notice activates domain controllers to start a pull replication cycle, resulting in frequent and automatic intrasite replication. Intersite replication intervals are usually shorter and depending on the amount of time that has passed rather than on change notification. While most domain updates can be executed on any domain controller, some activities can only be performed on a particular server. These servers are referred to as the “operation masters” (originally Flexible Single Master Operations or FSMOs). Schema Master, Domain Naming Master, PDC Emulator, RID Master, and Infrastructure Master are the operation master positions. A domain’s or forest’s functional level determines which advanced features are available in the forest or domain. For Windows Server 2016 and 2019, different functional levels are offered. All domain controllers should be configured to provide the highest functional level for forests and domains. For administrative purposes, containers are used to group Active Directory objects. The domain, Builtin, Users, Computers, and Domain Controllers are the default containers. Organizational Units (OUs) are object containers that are used to provide an administrative hierarchy to a domain. They support both administrative delegation and the deployment of Group Policy objects. The Active Directory database is used in a domain to authenticate users and computers for all of the domain’s computers and users. A workgroup is an alternate setup in which each machine is in charge of authenticating its own users. All machines in the domain have access to domain accounts, which are maintained in the Active Directory database. Each local computer’s Security Account Manager (SAM) database stores local accounts that are only accessible by that computer. Distribution groups and security groups are the two types of user groups supported by Active Directory. Email applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, use distribution groups. User accounts are grouped together in security groups for the purposes of applying privileges and permissions. The scope of Active Directory groups can be set to Universal, Global, or Domain Local. Any account in the forest can be a member of a universal group, which can be assigned to any resource in the forest. Any account in the domain can be a member of a global group, and they can be allocated to any resource in the forest. Any account in the forest can be a member of a domain local group, which can be allocated to any domain resource. Other universal groups and global groups from the forest can be found in universal groups. Global groups from the same domain can contain additional global groups. Domain local groups can contain both forest universal and global groups as well as domain local groups from the same domain. Microsoft recommends using global groups to organize users and domain local groups to arrange resources for managing accounts and resources. To put it another way, AGDLP is the process of putting accounts into global groups, global groups into domain local groups, and giving domain local groups authorization to access resources.
To acquaint yourself in-detail with the certification curriculum you can expand and analyze the table below.
The EITC/IS/WSA Windows Server Administration Certification Curriculum references open-access didactic materials in a video form. Learning process is divided into a step-by-step structure (programmes -> lessons -> topics) covering relevant curriculum parts. Unlimited consultancy with domain experts are also provided.
For details on the Certification procedure check How it Works.