I passed the final review board today to become the first Microsoft Certified Architect: Database outside of Microsoft. Hooray!
"For architects who specialize in using Microsoft technology to provide expert solutions, Microsoft offers MCA training and certification in messaging (Microsoft Exchange Server) and database (Microsoft SQL Server focusing on OLTP (online transaction processing) disciplines."
"To become a Microsoft Certified Technology Architect (referred to internally as "Ranger"), you must successfully participate in a four-week in-depth training program, successfully complete weekly written and lab-based exams, and pass a rigorous Review Board interview conducted by Microsoft experts and MCAs."
It used to be open to only Microsoft internal staff and Gold Partners but they've recently relaxed that to include Certified Partners as well. It's very expensive ($25k+expenses) but I can heartily recommend it.
The four weeks training is in Redmond and delivered by the SQL Server product group which is amazing in itself but combined with 12 hour days 7 days a week with 20 or so other SQL Server experts from across the world is an experience I will never forget. I've made friends and business contacts for life through the program and would encourage anyone that meets the entry requirements to take the opportunity if they are ever in a position to.
You can read more about the program here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/database/default.mspx
Christian Bolton MCA: Database
http://coeo.com - The SQL Server Experts