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Course Summary of TrainSignal's Course "SharePoint Server 2013 Administration" - Part 1

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Categories:OpEd; SPF 2013; Training


Editor's note: Contributor Stephan Onisick is a Senior Software Developer for HP specializing in SharePoint Portal Applications. Follow him @StephanOnisick

When I noticed the affiliation between my favorite site,, and, I immediately made contact with TrainSignal and proposed some course reviews. Being closer to the “Suma Come Later” crowd than the “Technology Bleeding Edge” crowd, I wanted to offer my perspective and insight as a kind of compendium or adjunct to some of the SharePoint Courses.

The YouTube offerings from TrainSignal were top notch and I couldn’t wait to partake in their course offerings. As part of my review arrangement, I have access to their courses for the next year (Awesome!).

My choice of “SharePoint Server 2013 Administration” was deliberate. My normal role as developer had been altered to configure some SharePoint 2013 virtual machines for our test environment. To say I was challenged was an understatement. I was only peripherally familiar with Active Directory, DNS, Server Manager, Firewalls and Domain Controllers. I was looking for a good introduction without too many assumptions of prerequisites.

Being a member of, and Safari Online, I had actively been looking for SharePoint 2013 Administration Courses and couldn’t find one. TrainSignal’s course fit the ticket exactly. (Soon to be part of for a mere 27 million!)

To be fair, I know, has an offering—but I was not a member and did not want to outlay cash. Also, has sixty-five SharePoint Courses with approximately seventeen SharePoint 2013 courses—but none, at this time, were specifically designed to be an administration guide to SharePoint 2013—much less a “Newbie Admin” .

This course was specifically designed for the first-time admin—but there are also pointers for the seasoned veteran that might just be new to SharePoint 2013.

Train Signal Opening Menu

Course Menu - User Profile Service (Most Awesome Module) Circled

My tale gets even more woeful: I had been trying for three weeks to resolve “User Profile Administration” in Central Admin of a SharePoint 2013 development installation. I just wanted the User Profile Service to pick up my test users from Active Directory. Not surprisingly, when I got access to the course, I immediately opened the Lesson 10 on “User Profile Service Administration”.

What I found in that lesson was a Godsend! After watching the Lesson about twice and following Bill Kulterman’s instructions. My Profile Service was up and running and I successfully imported my Test Active Directory users. (There was life after User Profile Service Administration!)

Reticent Programmer

Bill had impressed me with his friendliness so much so that I’d even buy a used car from him?

Bill Kulterman: My Hero!

(I just found this YouTube Video Bill made if you’d like a sample of his congenial style: SharePoint 2013 - Creating a Web Application & Site Collection - YouTube)

What I specifically liked about the way Bill taught was that he navigates you into the problems that you WILL encounter and is friendlier than Microsoft Documentation at solving them.

My methodology for reviewing this course will be to give my impressions and point out the salient features in the lessons. I also provide a decent running dialogue of what’s being covered.
(Note: By my gestimate, in this course Bill goes through at least 500 screens, I have tried to include a representative sampling.)

Lesson 1: Getting Started with SharePoint

The Intro was the basic “Hi and Howdy” spiel—necessary, but just enough to move you on.

Lesson 2: Preparing for the SharePoint Install

Bill begins to get into “red meat” with this lesson 2. What most SharePoint Administrators know is that doing SharePoint involves a lot of off-roading. There are a number of components that go into a SharePoint Installation such as Configuring Service Accounts in Active Directory, Setup of SQL Server, and Firewall Configuration

I especially like his preparation of the Accounts in Active Directory to setup the accounts for the permission management and his use of the “Least Privilege” philosophy:

Setting up Admin Accounts in Active Directory

Next he proceeds to the SQL Server Install. SQL Server is the “bread and butter” of SharePoint. It is essential that the Admin have a feeling of how SQL integrates with SharePoint.

One thing that I value in his coverage is the seemingly obscure topics like “Max Degrees of Parallelism”. These obscurities come back to bite you if not set correctly.

Next he covers the actual SharePoint Prerequisites Install—which is part of the Setup download. After a couple of screens and a few reboots, “Bob’s your Uncle” and it’s onward to the SharePoint 2013 Install!


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