Azure Exam AZ-102 Overview, Part 2

This is the second part of my Azure AZ-102 Review. It will focus on the content that is being pulled from the AZ-101 objective domains.

You can find part 1 of this article here: Azure Exam AZ-102 Overview, Part 1.

AZ-101: Microsoft Azure Integration and Security

Evaluate and perform server migration to Azure (15-20%)

  • Evaluate migration scenarios by using Azure Migrate
    May include but not limited to

o   Discover and assess environment

o   Identify workloads that can and cannot be deployed

o   Identify ports to open

o   Identify changes to network

o   Identify if target environment is supported

o   Setup domain accounts and credentials

  • Migrate servers to Azure
    May include but not limited to

o   Migrate by using Azure Site Recovery (ASR)

o   Migrate using P2V

o   Configure storage

o   Create a backup vault

o   Prepare source and target environments

o   Backup and restore data

o   Deploy Azure Site Recovery (ASR) agent

o   Prepare virtual network

Continue reading “Azure Exam AZ-102 Overview, Part 2”

AZURE EXAM AZ-102 OVERVIEW, PART 1

Many of you may have may have read/heard the announcement from Microsoft Learning about the changes to the Azure certification and exams. I’m guessing that there will be lots of discussion around whether this is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing. From what I can tell, Microsoft is attempting to respond to what they are being told by companies/partners/the market. Is this the right move? Will it work? Are they just muddying the certification waters? Time will tell, and that is probably a good topic for another time.

What I’m interested in here is “what’s new in the new exams” and “what do I need to know”. The new exams will be rolling out from July 2018, but I wouldn’t expect updated courses from Microsoft until late 2018/early 2019, so until then it will really be up to the individual to make sure they get themselves ready, and hopefully trainers will integrate this content into the legacy courses.

The first exams coming down the pipe are for the Azure Administrator certification. You can find the details here:
AZ-100: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-AZ-100.aspx

AZ-101: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-AZ-101.aspx

AZ-102: Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition

These exams are available for public beta from July 15, 2018 and will likely go live in mid-September. Other exams will probably be landing in beta in the September timeframe.

I had an opportunity to attempt AZ-102, the exam that is meant to be a transition for people who have already passed exam 70-533, Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions. Without violating the NDA, I want to review the content of this exam, and my reactions to it.

My first thoughts

First things first—this exam will likely be around 50 questions. There will be a mix of case studies, standard questions, and repeated question sets. At some point, performance-based testing (i.e. you have to do the task) is likely going to be integrated into the exam.

My first impression of this exam was “hard but fair”. Having said that, I did this on the first day of the beta, so I had no exam prep. I was reasonably familiar with all the topics that appeared on my exam. Was I “exam ready”? Probably not.  Especially for questions that were process driven, i.e. “Select the steps and put them in the right order” or “Choose the three actions you would do to xyz”. But overall, I felt if you have been using Azure for infrastructure solutions, then passing this exam should be very achievable.

Because this is an exam specifically designed for people who have already passed 70-533, the topics covered are all the objectives that aren’t already in 20533. So, if you are currently in the middle of prep for exam 70-533, then I would recommend that you continue down that path then do AZ-102 after that. If you had not even started preparation, then you might want to consider taking the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams instead. Since it is a “differences” exam, the content is culled from both AZ-100 and AZ-101.

Now to the topics . . .

AZ-100: Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment Topics

Manage Azure subscriptions and resources (5-10%)

  • Analyze resource utilization and consumption
    May include but not limited to

o   Configure diagnostics settings on resources

o   Create baselines for resources

o   Create and reset alerts

o   Analyze alerts across the subscription

o   Analyze metrics across subscription

o   Create action groups

o   Monitor for unused resources

o   Monitor spend

o   Report on spend

o   Utilize Log Search query functions

o   View alerts in Log Analytics

Here’s the part of Azure resource configuration that almost always gets glossed over in training materials— “Oh yeah, and here you can configure some metrics and alerts. Moving on now…” This is something that I think many people will need to get familiar with options in this space and practice some practical applications.  I would probably add using tags on resources and resource groups (and the default behaviours that come from that), especially as it relates to running queries and generating reports for specific resources or resource types.

If you’re not already, make sure you understand how Log Analytics works, and what all the “Diagnostics” settings are on all the major Azure resources. You can start digging around in the “How-to guides” of the Azure Log Analytics documentation.

This section would also include being able to configure/use the costing and analysis tools, like Azure Advisor. Understanding when to use that service, how to configure it, and how interpret the results will be very useful for this exam. Knowing what your choices are for filtering the results in the cost analysis tools, and how they connect to things like tags and subscriptions will also be helpful.

Azure Advisor documentation

Implement and manage storage (5-10%)

  • Configure Azure Files
    May include but not limited to

o   Create Azure file share

o   Create Azure File Sync service

o   Create Azure sync group

o   Troubleshoot Azure File Sync

This section really focuses on understanding how to configure the Files service in a storage account. Specifically, really get to know and love the Azure File Sync service. This is a relatively new-ish service, and is something that is designed to scratch a very specific itch. It’s very possible that you may not have had need to use that service, which means your knowledge here could be light.  A good place to start would be Planning for an Azure File Sync deployment, and Deploy Azure File Sync.

Configure and manage virtual networks (15-20%)

  • Create connectivity between virtual networks
    May include but not limited to

o   Create and configure VNET peering

o   Create and configure VNET to VNET

o   Verify virtual network connectivity

o   Create virtual network gateway

  • Configure name resolution
    May include but not limited to

o   Configure Azure DNS

o   Configure custom DNS settings

o   Configure DNS zones

This topic is the one that I felt might require the least amount of extra work to prepare for. If you are working with the Azure IaaS services, then you should be pretty good with DNS. If you haven’t done a lot of work the Azure DNS specifically, then taking a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the differences between Public DNS zones and Private DNS zones, the common record types and delegations (i.e. common DNS management tasks), should put you in good stead.

As for the connectivity between virtual networks—there’s not a lot new in this space, and this is covered pretty well in the existing training materials. An area that might throw a spanner into the works for some people might be understanding how this connectivity works when you have multiple VNets (i.e. how do you create routes, rather than a big mesh). You can use VNets peering and custom routes, or you can use VNET to VNET. Know how to do either, and understand how data is going to flow with default settings.

If you want more information about the peering options, you might want to start with the Virtual Network Peering documentation.

Manage Identities (15-20%)

  • Manage Azure Active Directory
    May include but not limited to

o   Add custom domains

o   Configure Azure AD Identity Protection

o   Azure AD Join

o   Enterprise State Roaming

o   Configure self-service password reset

o   Implement conditional access policies

o   Manage multiple directories

o   Perform an access review

  • Implement and manage hybrid identities
    May include but not limited to

o   Install and Configure Azure AD Connect

o   Configure federation and single sign-on

o   Manage Azure AD Connect

o   Manage password sync and writeback

This is an area that I didn’t stress over when questions from here appeared, but I also do quite a bit with this because I spend a lot of time configuring these things for Office 365.  Assuming that you have some experience with Azure AD setup and configuration, as well as Azure AD Connect, you really will want to make sure you fill in your gaps. For example, if you’re strong on setting up federation, you’ll probably be in good shape for that, but you might want to make sure you have a good understanding of how to configure Pass-through configuration.

Another area that I suspect may trip people up will be the Azure AD Identity Protection and Conditional Access Policies.  These services are straightforward to configure (imho), but if you’ve not had the need to use them, then taking a bit of time to make sure you understand what each one does, why you want it, and how to configure it will make a big difference.

Part 2 will cover the content from AZ-101.

 

Module 1: The Marketing Module

Over the years I have become somewhat blasé about modules in MOC that are titled “Introduction to …” or “XXX Overview”. Mainly because often (but not always) they are what many of us in the training call “Marketing Modules”. Little or no substantive information or material, just a very very high level regurgitation of the sales pitch. Usually my approach to these chapters is to skim over it lightly and head straight for the meaty stuff. So in front of my wondering eyes does appear? “Module 1: Introduction to Azure”. I’m going to try to go against my habits and give this chapter my attention. Hopefully I’ll be rewarded . . . .

The first roadblock

I’ve got the courseware, but not the lab environment. So I started downloading it this afternoon. It’s only a single VM, but still nearly 8 GB. I could just spin up my own VM, but I want to test the course as it is written. So I’m downloading it. And still downloading it. Nearly 7 hours later, it’s still downloading. I’m pulling it over a 10 mbps internet pipe, so I’m pretty sure my end isn’t the bottleneck. What makes me even more sure is that in the transfer manager there is a little notice that tells me that the download speed is being throttled by the server. Grrrrrr……. But hey, I’ll just dive right in. And the very first thing in the very first module is “Prepare the environment”, which requires me to launch the VMs and run scripts from within the VMs. And it has details about the subscriptions we need. I guess I’ll just have to wait a little while longer . . .

I’m setting up an Azure trial anyway, just giving it a go. There is a good warning note in the course that students might want/need to use a new or clean MicrosoftID for this trial. It doesn’t make any mention of the Azure trials that CPLSs and MCTs can get. That might be a good way to go when running the course. I suspect that I will want to encourage students to set up their trial subscriptions a few days in advance so I remove that risk. Not to mention that Azure doesn’t like it if too many subscription requests come from the same public IP address in a short period of time. The notes in the manual said that it might take a few hours for it to be provisioned. It took all of about three minutes for me. Plus my home country got this lovely greeting:

The next roadblock

I think there is a problem here. As I go through the manual, there seems to be missing content. Like page after page of missing content. I think something went wrong in the publishing. When I go look in the instructor notes there is lots of good text, but nothing in the “Student Text” sections. I’m pretty sure this isn’t right. I’ve escalated to Microsoft LeX. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. But on I forge!

First thoughts

The first section, or lesson, is about as expected. The name of the section? “Cloud Technology Overview” Nothing I haven’t seen before. Basically the same definitions and examples that Microsoft has been putting out for months, if not years, now. There’s really no meat here to advance my understanding. Given the likely audience for this course, I don’t think this is a section that you’ll need to spend a lot of time on. However, the second lesson picks up. Within the first couple of pages, there’s some good, meaty stuff about Azure Datacenters and their datacentre architecture. While I doubt it’s going to help me much on the exam, it does fill in some gaps in my knowledge and understanding. While I’m not sure that it’s examinable stuff, it’s good to have it in there.

As I pour over this list of services that Azure offers, I’m impressed. I didn’t know about at least half of these, if not more. And with the change cadence of Azure, the list is probably out of date already. It’s going to take some commitment to stay on top of all these offerings to deliver this course.

Nice! Taking some time to look at the new Azure Management Portal Preview. I’m glad to see that in there. But I do wonder how LeX is going to be able to keep this kind of content current/accurate. It’s already a problem in courses where they talk about “New” features that have been out for months/years. How do they have a chance to keep courseware for cloud services even close to current? I already see all the pain that is caused by this exact issue in the Office365 course. Will this course suffer the same fate? I fear it will.

The explanation/walk-through of Certificate-Based Authentication is very good. Very detailed, yet still easy to follow and be used as a reference at a later point in time. It has good tips/recommendations for this whole process. Good stuff here!

On the whole, this is a good start to the course. There’s more good stuff in there than I was anticipating, and definitely some stuff I’m going to want to know for the exam. I’m glad I took the time to read through it properly.

 

 

 

Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam 70-533

Course 20533 hasn’t been released yet, but the exam is live. If you are and IT Professional who wants/needs an excuse to dive into Azure, or are looking to provide some evidence of your Azure skills, you could do a lot worse than passing this exam! Check out this from the Sandhu-Blogg:

Marius Sandbu - IT blog

Microsoft just released a the first of Microsoft Azure IaaS exams! which going towards another specialist exams –> Microsoft Specialist: Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

You can see the exam objectives here –> https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam.aspx?id=70-533

They have also created a training course –>

  • 20533A: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (5 Days)

Now I have already created a quick study guide here which will get you one step on the way towards the exam.

  • Configure…
  • View original post 646 more words

    TechEd NZ 2013 Wrapup

    I’ve been tweeting up a storm over the last few days, picked up a few more followers. Yay! The last two days of TechEd went by in a blur. Unfortunately I (and Malcolm) got to spend waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too much time on the phone with Prometric support, trying to get their software to work properly, but that’s a story for another day . . .

    When I wasn’t doing that I saw a couple of good Exchange sessions by Scott Schnoll. I would highly recommend watching any of the presentations he does. He really understands Exchange well, and has a great knack for making the complex clear. I learned a great deal. I sat in on a few sessions that were reminders of “what not to do” when presenting. Here’s a hint guys: it’s really obvious when you haven’t prepared and practiced your demos.

    My employer, Auldhouse sold out all of our exams, we had several attendees earn new certifications. So it was very successful from our point of view.

    But best of all I got to catch up with some old friends. It’s always nice to catch up w/ Miguel and Dandy and Lohit and others. I also made some new friends, and got to be part of a great panel discussion on why its important to keep your skills and certs up to date. Some really interesting stuff came out of that.

    But now it is done, and I am knackered. Time to go home and see my family again. 🙂

    Hopefully I’ll see some of you there next year, if not sooner.

    Cheers,
    James