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on 11 March 2014
I'm writing this on the same day that I passed 70-463. Having previously used the other 2 ms training books to study and help to pass 70-461 and 70-462 I can now happily call myself a mcsa in sql server 2012. Without these books I would have never passed the exams but likewise I couldn't have passed by just using the books. The books help to give a grounding in the subject matter and I'm sure I'll now use them a reference as the exercises are very clear 'how to' guides . The measure-up questions help with drilling in key concepts but again these are not questions that really help in the exam.
It took me 6 weeks to read each book and complete the exercises ( never bothered with the case studies). 1 week to ace the measure-up test questions. 2 weeks of studying MS TechNet .... So 9 weeks per book.

Out if all the 3 training kits , 70-463 had the most errata but I'm not surprised given the bigger topics and concepts this book has to cover ( the o'reily website lists the errata so it's worth checking before starting each lesson). Out of the three, 70-463 was the most interesting, 70-461 the most straightforward and 70-462 the least interesting ( the pure DBA topics in 70-462 just didn't float my boat)
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on 6 April 2017
My background first - Analyst, MI Manager, Data Warehouse Developer.
I am currently taking a career break and decided to study full-time to finally get my MCSA. Whilst quals don't prove that you don't know the subject matter, not having them often closes doors before they open. So accreditation it is.
70-461 was straight forward. I whizzed through 2-3 chapters a day. I had set up a virtual machine and the exercises were simple to follow.
Then, like so many others on here, I started on 70-463.
I didn't even consider the errata until I reached chapter 7. I assumed that the book, being a later publication version would have been fully updated by now. Funnily enough, most of the typos listed had been corrected, so I fell into a false sense of security and trust with the book. More fool me.
It turns out that it isn't so much the errors within the book itself that pose the greatest frustration, but rather those within the exercises, as cited by so many other reviewers. Pre-configured connections that just don't work, code that fails when it shouldn't and doesn't when it should. In a way it has helped as my trouble-shooting skills have increased dramatically. My familiarisation with SSIS has no doubt improved more that it would have, as I have been forced to delve into areas not covered by the specific exercises. However, and this is the issue, as a consequence some chapters have taken days to cover. For a number of reasons: losing focus and motivation due to frustration; taking breaks because it is so demoralising; switching between chapters to review what should have happened and then discovering why it now doesn't work.
Bizarrely, the errata mentions nothing about the errors in the exercises.
Why three stars? Well, it's a thick book. I think that it has value as a reference book (despite that not being its primary purpose). As a training book it is poor. The exercise issues are a real pain. If there were other options.... but even other training sites with videos (that I found useful for 461) don't seem to cover 463 in sufficient depth (e.g. pluralsight).
Another bugbear is the language. I'm a techy. I'm also intelligent. I have a Masters. But for God's sake, why so wordy? In some chapters it's almost as if the authors are intentionally writing it for only academics to follow, not those of us who are advocates of plain English. It may take half the space to make a point if you use words with 6 syllables, but it takes five times as long to read and understand it.
I'm about two-thirds through and I now feel compelled to write a review. After searching for documentation highlighting the errors in the exercises all I came across was one blog by erikhaselhofer and the reviews on Amazon. I thought that I'd contribute another constructive criticism with the intention that it tempers the expectations of anyone else making the same purchase: "beware ye who enter here", but not quite "abandon all hope".
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on 18 November 2013
As someone with a background in the SQL Server BI Stack I was hoping to use this book to learn a bit more of the theory behind the practice, get to grips with the new features in SQL Server 2012 and pass exam 70-463.

Whilst the theoretical content is good, covering everything from DW schema basics to optimising your SSIS packages, the example code is poor, often offering incomplete (or just plain incorrect) advice.

It unfortunately appears that no one proof-read the examples, or actually tried them out for themselves, otherwise the obvious errors would have been spotted.

A few examples of errors in the book include:
Creating table schemas and then inserting values larger than the column size without encountering a failure
Constantly switching between singular and plural table names (in the same example). This occurs so often, you often actually have to check back to the example code to see what you actually called the table...
Asking the user to 'connect the output' fro a transformation to another transformation, without specifying if you should connect the 'success' or 'failure' output.

However, if you can get past the issues in the examples, there is a lot of helpful information here and the exam questions are good basic preparation for taking the final exam.
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on 31 December 2013
First of all I struggle to understand how anyone can give this five stars and as such I question their motives for doing so.

I've been taking Microsoft exams for nearly 20 years and have recently passed 70-461 and 70-462, so I believe I am qualified to review this training kit.

As such I would reiterate a number of observations made by Mr. Sinkinson.

Quite simply this is the worst training kit I've ever used as it's littered with mistakes and errors, it would be simply impossible to follow the exercises without using the published errata on the O'reilly web-site. I cannot believe that anyone has proof read this book.

At times my progression has felt like wading through treacle as I have attempted to diagnose and correct each error.

Like most SQL DBA's you are probably forced into learning DW simply to maintain your SQL certification, so if you can find an alternative method of learning this product I suggest that you undertake it.
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on 10 March 2014
I have read a lot of criticism about this book, and some of it is deserved, some not. There is a large Errata published online, of which I have contributed to myself. I recommend you review this first and update the book where necessary before you begin the exercises. It will save you a lot of heartache. While this shouldn't be necessary, you will not find a better one stop shop for learning the required exam content. This book was my main resource and coupled with the practice test questions on the companion CD, I still believe you are getting good value for money. As results always speak louder than words, can tell you that I passed the exam easily the second time round. The first failed attempt was not a reflection on the book or CD.
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on 13 June 2013
It was easy to read, and contained good examples to work through.
It helped me pass my certification, so I recommend it to others.
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on 24 November 2015
I didn't buy this book just to pass my exam but also to strenghten my theories (what's happening at backend). I really loved all tips for optimisations and they are in use now.
I'll thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who works on SSIS-I happliy take this book as my main reference book and I've read a lot of books on same subject matter......
Unfortunately this is no way a book for beginners.......
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on 22 May 2013
It is easy to read, very good examples, as for what I read until now.
I would recommend anyone to purchase it if they need to sit for the certification.
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on 13 January 2016
Good Training Kit. Keeps ytou engaged and signposts well to Live Labs and additional training material.
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on 15 May 2015
Was for a migration of an older system used as reference only
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