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One of my favorite ways to learn is through examples. If you’ll explain what something does and a little of how it works,and then give me an example to decompose, I usually come up to speed pretty quickly.
I’ve been carrying a DVD (and CD’s before that) in my laptop bag for years from Microsoft (way before I worked here) called “How Microsoft Does IT”. It’s a series of diagrams, whitepapers and information on how one of the largest software companies runs the company’s IT infrastructure. I’ve used it time and time again.
You can get one of these as well, usually at a conference. That’s where I picked mine up. Microsoft has now made the same content available here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb687780.aspx. All free.
If you’re at a conference anytime soon, look for a blue-shirt and get a copy of this DVD. We update it all the time, and it can save you tons of time.