Friday 26 July 2013

Dell 12G PowerEdge Server System Essentials

Dell 12G PowerEdge Server
System Essentials
Dell Training
Instructor Alan Barnard

Now I will start off and state I likely could have gotten by without taking this course. I have built a lot of servers, both older 9th Generation Dell servers, then IMB's for a number of years, plus the random smattering of other devices. As my company is in transition to using primarily Dell servers I was interested in the course for many of the Extra's you get when you buy Dell hardware. I was specifically interested in some of the new features in iDRAC7, OpenManage, Lifecycle Controller and also interested in the new design and features in the hardware. But that being said this is one of the best courses I have ever taken!

I spend 20 years as a student in post-secondary education at a number of different institutions. I have taken numerous courses, via either live virtual classroom, self-paced, in class courses, web based, or courses on disk. And in all of that training I can state this was an excellent course and one of the best. A number of things about this first experience with Dell Training really impressed me. First the Dell Training Engagement Coordinator, Janie Murray, contacted the group 6 weeks before the class start date to get things rolling. She stayed in close contact from then right up to the start of the class. Her communication was excellent, scheduled times, getting resources, testing the system … Second the training materials arrived almost 2 weeks before the course, and they included the Course book, lab manual and an USB key with electronic copies of each. It was great to be able to have the digital copies up on one screen while working through the course and the remote sessions on another. The course followed this schedule:

Course Syllabus:
Module 1 Orientation
Module 2 Bios
Module 3 iDRAC7
Module 4 Lifecycle Controller
Module 5 OpenManage
Module 6 Server Platforms
Module 7 Memory
Module 8 Storage
Module 9 Troubleshooting
Module 10 Subsystems
Module 11 Q&A

Then on top of the lectures there were 16 required labs, 1 optional lab and one lab we did not do because of the live distance learning.

The second thing that made the course so amazing was the instructor. Alan Barnard is one of the best instructors I have ever had, 20 years in University, 2 years in college and more. His style was very engaging. For a distance learning experience he had great classroom control, excellent pace, and went above and beyond. I have found that numerous tech instructors just have a script or follow the PowerPoint or manual and just run through the material. Alan has been doing this so long and does it so well, he went off on tangents, gave some history, comparisons to other generations or even other vendors. If I ever get the chance to sit another course with him it will be a privilege.

The last thing that was so excellent about this course was the labs, we actually did everything that we learnt about. Each student got a remote VPN session to a Dell training center, we each had our own PowerEdge R620, we could log into the iDRAC card, reboot into Lifecycle Management, or boot into the windows OS installed on the box. We spent the better part of the three days doing not just listening. We were the first group of students to do the course using Windows Server 2012, because of that we ran into some slight glitches with the labs, but that was part of the fun, in real life everything does not always go perfectly. We had to upgrade versions of a few of the tools buy once we did that we could complete all the labs and using the latest Windows OS was a great bonus.

Even if you know servers, and yes to some extent to a good extent a server is a server is a server, but it is all the extra's that you get with servers that many people never learn or take advantage of. This course will show you how to maximize the benefits of using Dell hardware. If you are using Dell 12G servers you will get at least 2 or three things from the course that will more than make it worth the time and money you invest, no matter how much experience you have! So overall one of the best courses I have ever taken. A great experience and I look forward to my next Dell Training opportunity.


Steven Sohn said...

Great review Steve!

Lori Ott said...

I am glad you enjoyed the class, Steve! It is great for the entire Dell Education Services team and especially Alan, to be recognised for the work they put into making sure our customers have the best learning experience! Thank you. #IWork4Dell.