IT professionals preparing for the new MCSA certification will find a stronger emphasis on Active Directory. Microsoft Active Directory, or AD, is a database management system that can be replicated across logical network partitions called domains. The AD stores configuration information such as user login credentials and contains objects representing users, groups and computers. Administrators can group these objects into units according to business requirements and centrally manage them through group policy objects. They can also use AD to push software and desktop configuration updates to user systems. While AD has long been a central component of Windows Server, significant updates have expanded its role in the MCSA exams.
Microsoft has retooled its MCSE certification for IT professionals to include a major focus on the cloud. The company made the changes in response to the growing movement of IT resources to cloud-based solutions. According to Microsoft-sponsored research, cloud computing may create 14 million jobs and generate 1.1 trillion in revenue by 2015. The new MCSE certificate holder is expected to have more comprehensive knowledge of both on-premises and cloud resource technologies.