How to prepare for Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104?
Let me start off by saying that Microsoft AZ-104 certification exam is not an easy one. You need to have subject matter expertise implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment.
It goes without saying the responsibilities for a Microsoft Azure Administrator include implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment, plus provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources, when needed.
As per Microsoft, a candidate for this exam should have at least six months of hands-on experience administering Azure, along with a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. In addition, this role should have experience using PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, and Azure Resource Manager templates.
Preparation Tips For The AZ-104 Exam
- I prepared for around 2 hours each day and on the weekend around 4 hours. Overall it took me around a month and a half to complete all the course and the labs.
- Create a free account with Azure to get the $100, create your own subscription and use it for your labs. This is a must to get familiar with the Service offered by Azure.
- I would highly recommend getting familiar with the syntax of both the Azure CLI and AZ Powershell. If you’re not too familiar with it, start with the basics like create a resource group, then a subnet, a VM and so on. If you do for few times, you’ll have the basis of the commands nailed down.
- Some of the questions are lengthy and tricky. You need to understand possible dependencies and where to spot them to be able to answer questions quickly.
- My weakest area was “Configure and manage virtual networking”. I would highly recommend creating Virtual Network (VNET), subnets, Network Security Group (NSG), Virtual Machine (VM), test RDP, install webserver, create allow/deny rules etc to make yourself familiar with the entire Azure VNET ecosystem.
- Another important lab is around You can use Azure Web App in your free account and play around with it. Expect to see multiple questions there.
- On the official Azure link, it suggests buying official practice test cost of which is $100. I would NOT recommend buying that.
- I didn’t get a lot of Kubernetes questions in the exam but I’ve heard some of my friends get not so easy questions there.
- Another important topic is the Azure Active Directory. Check the list of topics below in the Official Exam Guide. I must have received at least 6-7 questions there.
- Some of the questions are lengthy and tricky. I would recommend to check them to be revisited at the end. If not sure of an answer, use the elimination process to get rid of options that are not applicable before making a guess.
- Azure Documentation has a lot of tutorials and quickstarts. While you do not need to go through all the tutorials but doesn’t hurt if you really want to understand the Azure Cloud in depth.
Important Links for Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104 Exam
Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104 Official Exam Guide
As per the AZ 104 Exam Syllabus, I’m listing down the official documentation links from Azure that I’ve compiled from the internet:
Manage Azure AD objects
- Create users and groups
- Manage user and group properties
- Manage device settings
- Perform bulk user updates
- Manage guest accounts
- Configure Azure AD Join
- Configure self-service password reset
Manage role-based access control (RBAC)
- Create a custom role
- Provide access to Azure resources by assigning roles
- Interpret access assignments
- Manage multiple directories
Manage subscriptions and governance
- Configure Azure policies
- Configure resource locks
- Apply tags
- Create and manage resource groups
- Manage Azure Resource Manager resource groups by using the Azure portal
- Manage Azure resource groups by using Azure PowerShell
- Manage subscriptions
- Configure Cost Management
- Configure management groups
Implement and manage storage (10-15%)
Manage storage accounts
- Configure network access to storage accounts
- Create and configure storage accounts
- Generate shared access signature
- Manage access keys
- Implement Azure storage replication
- Configure Azure AD Authentication for a storage account
Manage data in Azure Storage
- Export from Azure job
- Import into Azure job
- Install and use Azure Storage Explorer
- Copy data by using AZCopy
Configure Azure files and Azure blob storage
- Create an Azure file share
- Create and configure Azure File Sync service
- Configure Azure blob storage
- Configure storage tiers for Azure blobs
Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)
Configure VMs for high availability and scalability
- Configure high availability
- Deploy and configure scale sets
Automate deployment and configuration of VMs
- Modify Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template
- Configure VHD template
- Deploy from template
- Save a deployment as an ARM template
- Automate configuration management by using custom script extensions
Create and configure VMs
- Configure Azure Disk Encryption
- Move VMs from one resource group to another
- Manage VM sizes
- Add data discs
- Configure networking
- Redeploy VMs
Create and configure containers
- Create and configure Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
- Create and configure Azure Container Instances (ACI)
Create and configure Web Apps
- create and configure App Service
- create and configure App Service Plans
Configure and manage virtual networking (30-35%)
Implement and manage virtual networking
- Create and configure VNET peering
- Configure private and public IP addresses, network routes, network interface, subnets, and virtual network
- What is Azure Virtual Network?
- Quickstart: Create a virtual network using the Azure portal
- Virtual network traffic routing
- Networking limits
- Create, change, or delete a public IP address
- Add, change, or remove IP addresses for an Azure network interface
- Associate a public IP address to a virtual machine
- Subnet extension
- Virtual network traffic routing
- Add network interfaces to or remove network interfaces from virtual machines
Configure name resolution
- Configure Azure DNS
- Configure custom DNS settings
- Configure a private or public DNS zone
Secure access to virtual networks
- Create security rules
- Associate an NSG to a subnet or network interface
- Evaluate effective security rules
- Deploy and configure Azure Firewall
- Deploy and configure Azure Bastion Service
Configure load balancing
- Configure Application Gateway
- Configure an internal load balancer
- Configure load balancing rules
- Configure a public load balancer
- Troubleshoot load balancing
Monitor and troubleshoot virtual networking
- Monitor on-premises connectivity
- Use Network Performance Monitor
- Use Network Watcher
- Troubleshoot external networking
- Troubleshoot virtual network connectivity
Integrate an on-premises network with an Azure virtual network
- Create and configure Azure VPN Gateway
- Create and configure VPNs
- Configure ExpressRoute
- Configure Azure Virtual WAN
Monitor and back up Azure resources (10-15%)
Monitor resources by using Azure Monitor
- Configure and interpret metrics
- Configure Log Analytics
- Query and analyze logs
- Set up alerts and actions
- Configure Application Insights
Implement backup and recovery
- Configure and review backup reports
- Perform backup and restore operations by using Azure Backup
- Create a Recovery Services Vault
- Create and configure backup policy
- Perform site-to-site recovery by using Azure Site Recovery
I hope you’ll find this guide helpful. As per Microsoft, Azure Administrator AZ-104 exam will be updated on January 27, 2021. Hopefully, there aren’t much updates and the course is still relevant.
Author: Ralph Bryant is a cloud enthusiast who likes to tinker with all things cloud. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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