FIM 2010 R2 Handbook

As FIM’s popularity within the marketplace increases, so does the demand for skilled FIM consultants and a need for reliable FIM learning material has arisen to train those consultants. Having identified that need, Kent Nordström has just published his Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Handbook, which he describes as a “complete handbook on FIM 2010 R2 covering both Identity and Certificate Management”.

This is a bit of a tall claim, as one of the main reasons that FIM is so hard to learn is that there is just so much that you need to know in order to perform a successful FIM implementation. However, Kent has done a pretty good job of covering the most important topics that you’ll need to know if you’re looking to start working with FIM, and has also thrown in a few more chapters on some advanced topics that are pretty useful to know.

In fact, one of the things I was most pleased to see in this book is not only the how-to basics, but also the in-depth knowledge that you only know if you’ve got substantial experience working with FIM. Most of us have to learn this stuff on our own, so it’s good to see some of these tips and tricks shared – I even learnt a few things I didn’t know.

Having been released right on the heels of R2 of FIM 2010, it’s obvious that the bulk of this book was written pre-R2, however the level of detail on how to use newly introduced features in R2 was pretty comprehensive. Not only was there an extra chapter included on the new Reporting functionality, but throughout the book there is mention made of new functionality – for example, detail on how to apply synchronization rules to Outbound System Scoping Filters rather than using the traditional MPR/Set/WF triplet.

The only downside to this book is that I found the technical detail on advanced concepts a bit light-on. Several common scenarios are highlighted where you will definitely need to implement non-declarative provisioning, synchronisation rules extensions and custom workflows, but not much detail is provided on how to do this. However, there’s only so much a single book can cover and in all cases a link is provided to online resources which do provide the advanced detail the book lacks. In fact, the book is riddled with links to articles and other sites which allow for extra reading on most topics, if you require a better understanding, which I think was quite well researched.

This book would be a good supplement (or even alternative) to taking Microsoft’s Implementing Forefront Identity Manager 2010 course (Course 50382), as they cover a similar level of detail on similar topics, though the R2 Handbook goes into more detail on advanced topics such as Self Service Password Reset and Certificate Management. Similarly, a lot of the hands-on detail in this book is the sort of stuff that really gets tested when you do the Microsoft 70-158 Exam for the MCTS (Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring) certification and while the book won’t help you pass that, it will help you gain the practical experience that will.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book for anyone starting out with FIM. Having read it cover-to-cover, I found it quite readable, with the technical language quite understandable. It also formatted well on my Kindle, having been available for download in several different formats from the publisher.

If you’d like to buy this book, it’s available from Amazon in Paperback or Kindle or directly from Packt Publishing in a variety of formats. In fact, it looks like if you buy from Packt you can get the paperback + ebook editions for one price.

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