What’s the difference between MCITP Certified Server Admin and Enterprise Admin?

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So ... what's the difference between a Server Admin and an Enterprise Admin?

The only way I was able to tell them apart for the first few days was the fact that the courses for each of the professional exams were being created by different instructors. Ed Liberman was the Server Admin and Coach Culbertson was the Enterprise Admin.

But there are distinct differences between the two MCITP certifications that I learned about -- read on and you will know them too.

Main Differences

According to Microsoft, the MCITP: Server Administrator certification will get you ready toward a future role in the following areas:

  • Windows server administrator
  • Server systems administrator
  • Monitoring operator
  • Network administrator

On the other hand, the MCITP: Enterprise Administrator certification will prepare you for the following roles:

  • Enterprise systems administrator
  • IT systems manager
  • Enterprise security administrator
  • Systems architect
  • Network administrator

Depending on what career path you choose, these two certifications should help you in achieving your goals.

Exam Requirements

Which certification is easier? Well, in my opinion MCITP Server Administrator certification is faster to achieve because you are only required to take 3 exams, compared to 5 exams to become an Enterprise Administrator.

The good thing about the Server Admin certification path is that two of the required exams are also required for the Enterprise Admin cert. So once you're a Server Admin and decide to become an Enterprise Admin it will be a piece of cake.

So, if you take Exams: 70-640 (Active Directory Configuration) and 70-642 (Network Infrastructure Configuration) you're only one exam shy of getting the MCITP Server Administrator Cert. The final exam you'll need is 70-646 which is the Server Administrator Exam.


MCITP Server Administrator Exam Requirements:

  1. Exam 70-640: Active Directory Configuration
  2. Exam 70-642: Network Infrastructure Configuration
  3. Exam 70-646: Server Administrator

If your plan is to become an Enterprise Administrator then, you'll need to take 5 exams.


MCITP Enterprise Administrator Exam Requirements:

  1. Exam 70-640 (Active Directory Configuration)
  2. Exam 70-642 (Network Infrastructure Configuration)
  3. Exam 70-643 (Applications Infrastructure Configuration)
  4. Exam 70-647 (Enterprise Administrator)
  5. And one of these exams:

Topics Covered

Below you can find the main topics covered by each of the MCITP certifications, and if you want more detailed exam objectives just follow the links to the specific exams above.

For Server Administrator Certification you will need to know how to:

  • Handle day-to-day management of the server operating system, file structure, and directory services
  • Handle software distribution and updates
  • Monitor servers
  • Provide tier-2 troubleshooting support
  • Support engineering and change-management projects
  • Create builds and configure the server
  • Implement the auditing policy
  • Perform scheduled vulnerability-assessment scans
  • Monitor logs for firewalls and intrusion-detection systems

For Enterprise Administrator Certification you will need to know how to:

  • Design Windows Server infrastructures
  • Evaluate and recommend new technology solutions
  • Serve as an escalation point for infrastructure issues
  • Develop client and server best practices for other teams, such as engineering, development, and operations
  • Keep policy current for authentication, identity, and access management
  • Provide guidance in implementing security policies that affect the infrastructure on multiple levels
  • Participate in application reviews on security, and ensure that the applications adhere to standard security guidelines and practices

Where Do I Start?

I think the best place to start is with one of the required exams. I would suggest studying for and passing the Active Directory Configuration (70-640) and Network Infrastructure Configuration (70-642) exams first.

If you don't think you're ready for either one of those, check out the Network+ Certification -- it's a perfect primer for any aspiring IT professional.

Then you can decide if it's worth for you to get the Server Administrator certification first, or if you should continue with the Enterprise Administrator certification path.

If I were you, I would get both :) Think about it, it's only one extra exam that you have to take and you will have a lot more opportunities.

And if you're already an MCSA or an MCSE learn how to transition your Server 2003 skills to Server 2008.

Let me know what you think about the two certification paths and which one you're thinking about getting.

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Gosia Grabowska

(MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP) is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more.