For those of you that still haven’t taken the Free Oracle Training and the certification exams, you still have time. You can take OCI certifications in any order but it is recommended to have the fundamentals ironed out. This time I took the Architect Associate Exam and managed to pass with moderate preparation. I took the OCI Foundations Exam, couple of weeks back and you can read about it in my previous blog. Remember certifications do not land you a job, but can help you get one and it’s a good validation of your skills. Read my earlier blog on why you should get certified.
Now coming back to the OCI Architect Associate Exam. First of all, you should read Mukesh Sharma’s blog that covers all the topics that you might be asked in the real exam. It has a very good summary and excellent preparation notes of all the topics covered in the Oracle videos. This blog covers tips on some questions that you might see in your exam. Please note that this is based on my memory and you might see different topics in your exam. The exam is 105minutes long and it has 66 questions. The official oracle university course is 9hours 40mins long and I must confess that I watched it at 1.5X speed.
So, in a random order, here are the tips on few items that I had in my exam:
- First of all, it is a must that you go through the original Oracle videos by Rohit Rahi. You do not need any other video content. Oracle University official videos are more than enough.
- If you haven’t created your OCI account, please do so. Oracle will give you $300 and a free one-month trial. Use it at your own discretion and remember to tear down the environment once you have practiced enough. I got a couple of items on debugging what could be wrong when the instance is not getting traffic from the internet. Know that Instance cannot communicate with another instance in same subnet until you permit them to. So, it is important to familiarize yourself with IGW, Route Tables, Security List, NSG to name a few. I didn’t get any question on port except for one which talked about port 22 for SSH.
- Remember to at least do one round of provisioning a running environment. I believe the videos could be improved in how other can create their own environment by providing custom scripts and walking through them. I’ve seen people struggle between using OS if they have to SSH into the instance as the setup might differ from Windows vs Mac.
- Most of the questions I got were with 2 correct choices. So, you really have to understand the OCI services in good way.
- I got a confusing question on if peering is allowed between two VCN’s and they had CIDR block listed. Understand that for peering to be allowed, there should not be any overlapping CIDR blocks.
- Know the difference between Internet and VCN Resolver and Custom Resolver.
- Important to understand how compartments work. I do not remember seeing anything on policy implication when moving compartments. That topic can be a little confusing when you haven’t had any hands-on practice.
- Another important topic is Connectivity between On Prem and OCI. Also, understand difference between VPN connect and FAST connect and what to use when. It is important to pay close attention to the demo that Rohit Rahi does in the videos.
- Understand File Storage specially how mounting works. Remember that Mount target has an IP address and DNS name that you use in your mount command. Also, placing NFS client and Mount Target in same subnet can result in IP conflicts as users are not shown which private IP are used for mount target. So, place FSS mount target in its own subnet where it can consume IP as needed. Finally, export path is unique path specified when the file system associated with mount target. /example & /example/path not allowed
- VNIC’s is another critical topic to understand and remember. Know that each VNICs has one primary private IP can have additional private IPs called Secondary Private IP up to 31 Secondary Private IPs. Ephemeral IP can be assigned to Primary Private IP only. Hence only 1 per VNIC vs max 32 for reserved IP.
- It is important to remember what type of database to use when and for what option the db storage and/or CPU can be changed.
|Virtual Machine (VM)||BareMetal||Exadata|
|Scaling||Storage (Number of CPU cores on VM Db cannot be changed)||CPU (Amount of available storage cannot be changed)||CPU can be scaled with a ¼ , ½ and Full Rack. Storage cannot be scaled|
|Multiple Homes/Databases||No, Single Db and Home only||Yes, one edition but different versions possible||Yes|
|Real Application Cluster (RAC)||Block Storage||Local NVMe Disks||Local Spinning Disks and NVMe Flash Cards|
- Understand how OCI Data Gaurd is used. Oracle Data Guard is supported on both virtual machine and bare metal DB systems. It is limited to one standby database per primary database on OCI. If the customer has a database license for Active Data Guard or deploys the Oracle Enterprise Extreme Performance package, they can use the standby database in a Data Guard setup for queries, reporting, running tests, or backing up the database from the standby. Understand when to do a planned switchover vs a failover.
- No exam is complete without question on backups. Remember that by default, automatic backups are returned to Oracle owned object storage. Customers will not be able to view the object storage backups. There are the preset retention periods for automatic backups, 7 days, 15 days, 30 days, 45 days, and 60 days. The default policy cannot be changed at this time. You can also do a standalone backup. On demand standalone full backups are stored till the point you decide to delete it from the OCI console. You can restore a database to the latest backup. Or you can restore the database to the timestamp.
- All cloud providers judge your knowledge on Load Balances. Remember that Load balancer (LB) stops sending traffic to bad instance. Understand the type LB policies – Round Robin, IPHash, Least Connection. Also, remember to study the health status, drain, offline and backup state.
- What happens to boot volume when the instance is terminated – you have the option to preserve it. Also, study on boot volume backup and know that it doesn’t require downtime. Also, there is cost associated with amount of object store used to store backup.
- Image Import/Export questions can be tricky. Image export import enable you to share custom image across tenancies and region. Image export import uses OCI Object Storage. Mode of Import Export to spin your own instance
- Emulation Mode – VM IO device CPU & Memory are implemented as software, Emulated VM support almost any X86 OS. These VM are slow
- Para Virtualized – VM include a driver specially designed to enable virtualization
- Native Mode (SR-IOV Single Route IO Virtualization)- same as Hardware Virtualized Machine (HVM) offers maximum performance with modern OS
- It goes without saying that Object Storage is an important topic for the exam. Understand how Multipart Upload works. There is a 10TB limit, Individual part can be as big as 50 GB or as small as 10MB. Initiate and upload by calling api CreateMultiPartUpload. Make an upload part request for each object part upload. You can restart failed upload part. No need to restart all upload.
- Cross region copy is another important topic. Copy objects to other buckets in the same region and to buckets in other regions. For this to happen, you must authorize the service to manage objects on your behalf (Separate policy for each region). In the policy, you must specify a target bucket. Unfortunately, bulk copying is not supported right now. Also, objects cannot be copied from archive storage.
- Understand the difference between Autonomous Data Warehouse and Autonomous Transaction Processing. The topic can get confusing so, it is important to know the difference and what to use when.
- Finally, understand where all cloning can take place, starting from Boot Volume, Block Volume, cloning an instance, Cloning a Volume group, Autonomous data base. This is a very important topic.
That’s it folks. This is all that I can remember from what I got in my exam. Please note that I don’t remember the exact questions and I’ve listed the topics which are important for you to remember for the exam.
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Author: Haman Sharma is a life long learner, MBA (from UNC Kenan-Flagler) and founder of reviewNprep. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
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