Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing provider used to test, build, deploy, and manage services and applications. It is one of the fastest-growing cloud computing services in the world. There are a lot of tools, frameworks, and programming languages that Azure supports. The cloud services it provides are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Microsoft also offers several role-based Azure certifications. One of the most popular ones is the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect certification. Read on to learn more about this certification and how you can get it:
Who is a Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect?
A Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect is a professional with in-depth knowledge of designing solutions that run on Azure. If you want to become a Solutions Architect on the Azure platform, having expertise in storage, security, and network is a must. There are two exams that you will have to clear to get the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect certification.
- AZ-300 (Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies)
- AZ-301 (Microsoft Azure Architect Design)
Let’s learn more about these certifications:
The AZ-300 exam covers the following topics:
- Create and Deploy Apps (5-10%)
This is the shortest section covering developing and deploying apps using Azure Container Service or Azure App Service.
- Deploy and Configure Infrastructure (25-30%)
This is the most extensive section covering various concepts, including virtual machines, storage, Azure Active Directory, and networking. You must have an in-depth knowledge of these topics. Apart from knowing how to build a VM, it would help if you also learned how to use Azure Resource Manager to automate VM deployment and make VM highly available. You should also be familiar with virtual network gateways and how you can use them and VNET peering for connecting virtual networks together. In the Azure Active Directory area, you should know how to use an on-premises Active Directory server for synchronizing Azure AD and enable single sign-on.
- Develop for the Cloud and Azure Storage (20-25%)
This section covers cloud development. Autoscaling is one of the best features of the Cloud. Instead of provisioning compute power that is enough for handling peaks, you can tell Azure to remove or add computer resources based on the current demand. However, you must be careful while configuring auto-scaling because if you set up the rules incorrectly, it can significantly impact the cost and performance of your application.
- Implement Authentication and Secure Data (5-10%)
This is another short section that covers two essential concepts. The first one is using a wide range of methods for implementing authentication. One of the vital concepts you have to study is Managed Identity, which makes authenticating an application easy to access other Azure services. The second topic is encrypting data. This will cover using the Azure Key Vault, where you store the cryptographic keys.
- Implement Workloads and Security (20-25%)
This section requires you to learn how to connect the Azure virtual network to your on-premises network and use Site Recovery for migrating your on-premises servers to Azure. After you get your applications to Azure, you have to implement load balancing that helps improve availability as well as performance. When it comes to security, it is your responsibility to make sure that it is harder for trackers to get in. For this, you can use multi-factor authentication and use role-based access control to limit user’s access levels to only what they need.
Another feature of Microsoft Azure that you will have to learn is setting up messaging services between the applications. Azure offers messaging for all your needs, including Service Bus, Event Grid, Event Hub, Notification Hub, and Relay Service. You must learn about each one of them.
AZ-301 exam will cover the following topics:
- Design a Business Continuity Strategy (15-20%)
For this section, you have to focus on how to design a business continuity strategy. The most important concepts covered in this section are disaster recovery and high availability. For disaster recovery, you will be using Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery services. You can use different levels of redundancy for designing high availability.
- Design a Data Platform Solution (15-20%)
This section focuses on designing data solutions. Azure offers a wide range of data services, including data lakes, data warehouses, relational and non-relational databases, and other related services. You should know which service should be used for what, how you can size them, and how to design for protection, availability, durability, and data consistency. You should also know how to design and document data flow between all the services.
- Design an Infrastructure Strategy (15-20%)
This section covers how to design an infrastructure strategy. You should know how you can develop strategies for computing, networking, and storage. You have to select the right solution, appropriate management tools, and design secure access to the solution for all these areas.
- Design for Deployment, Migration, and Integration (10-15%)
This is the smallest section and focuses on design for deployment, integration, and migration. It’s about designing a repeatable way to deploy Azure resources, using Azure API managed services to integrate your applications, and migrating to the Azure environment from an on-premises environment.
- Design for Identity and Security (20-25%)
For this section, you need to focus on design for security and identity. The focus of this section is using the Azure Active Directory. When you are working in a big enterprise, several identities require managing, including users and applications. To ensure that these identities are securely and effectively managed, you must build an identity management system. Also, you will have to set up an authentication system for all the identities, which include the single sign-on. Once the application or user has been authenticated, they will be given the right level of access to Azure resources.
- Determine Workload Requirements (10-15%)
This section requires you to know all the subjects about designing IT environments like governance, maintainability, and capacity planning. There are also some Azure-specific topics that you should be familiar with, like creating a monitoring strategy and optimizing Azure costs.
Many consider AZ-301 to be more complex than the AZ-300 because you need an in-depth understanding of IT architecture and how you can apply this knowledge to create Azure solutions.
If you are still unsure how you should start your journey to becoming a Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect, you can start by enrolling yourself in a training program. This can be an instructor-led or self-paced course that will help you learn everything you should know to become a Solutions Architect for Microsoft Azure.