Review–Train Signal- Exchange Server 2010 (MCITP Package)

Access to quality training is something that is seemingly hard to come across sometimes. With vendor and partner provided courses costing in the $3,000+ realm, I am not in too much of a position to get access to much of it. My training budget needs to be spent in such a way that I can get the biggest bang for my precious dollars.

So, when our Exchange 2010 project finally came to fruition, I needed to find something out there to help bring me up to speed on what is going to happen. I understand how email works… but, the devil is always in the details and the details was what I was lacking. The actual implementation was going to be handled by my colleague and a consultant. However, it is important that I have some underlying knowledge of what is going to be going on as this is a core corporate service.

I was able to convince management that we should give Train Signal training a shot. I heard positive reviews from people all over the interwebs and the pricing was great. We bit the bullet and purchased the Exchange Server 2010 – MCITP package (which includes: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Training AND Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Design and Deployment).

The actual media arrived on the very same day our consultant and my colleague were getting ready to start designing and implementing. Seriously… 1 hour beforehand.

Delivery

Train Signal has done an excellent job in making sure that training material is accessible from the moment you purchase the material.

The material is available via a web-based video delivery system. So, just login and go to town. This is great because the delivery time for the media was based on Ground delivery… which was at least a couple of business days away.

The one gotcha I ran into with the web-based delivery is that Flash continually crashed on my workstation… Chrome, IE, and Firefox. So… I could get through about 1/4 of a video and then need to restart the session. Not the end of the world by any means. But, seeing as Flash did not crash for any other Flash content (including other videos), it may be a compatibility issue with the media player.

Content

Content was initially provided as streaming video via the website. However, once the physical media arrived, there were so many more options available. Now, I could watch the videos via Windows Media Player, on my portable device (iPod, iPhone, mobile phone, etc…), and check out the presentation notes.

The videos ended up being very well done. There is no  need to be super flashy with this kind of training. So, the combination of PowerPoint style presentations, voice over, and desktop video captures were extremely effective! Well done Train Signal!

Results

While my colleague and the consultant were in their meeting, I was watching the videos in whichever order I felt I needed to so I could have a smart conversation post meeting.

Sure enough, I was able to have knowledgeable conversations with the consultant on design decisions he made based on the video content. In the short amount of time I was introduced to the content, I became comfortable with the subject matter, terminology, and roles/functions of the Exchange 2010 components.

Plus, this information has been useful outside of the specific implementation above. The content is organized so well, that I could pick specific areas to help address issues we have been having.

Conclusion

As a tool used to provide introductory information on new technology as well as being a supplementary troubleshooting tool, the training from Train Signal was fabulous… especially when considering the cost.

Microsoft technologies are more in the realm of my colleague. So, the training content has been officially handed off to him. However, as far as the evaluation of the training methodology itself, the Train Signal training has passed with flying colors. I look forward to getting my hands on some Cisco training soon and seeing what that has to offer!

Disclosure

This review is not sponsored by Train Signal or any other company/individual. The content was based on my personal experiences with one of the products from Train Signal.

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