Azure Fundamentals, Exam AZ-900
With the cloud computing boom of the last decade, some of the biggest names in the industry have thrown their hats into the service provider ring. This includes Amazon, IBM, Google, and Microsoft. The 30 Bird Media team is excited to announce our first courseware entry into this blossoming field: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (Exam AZ-900).
Microsoft provides certification paths for many technical job roles. The fundamental level of certification is geared toward professionals who are new to the technology or are looking to change career paths. For Azure the starting point is exam AZ-900, or Azure Fundamentals. By passing the AZ-900 exam students demonstrate foundational knowledge of cloud concepts and Azure’s products and services.
About the exam
The AZ-900 exam comprises six sections called “domains”:
- Cloud Concepts (20-25%)
- Core Azure Services (15-20%)
- Core Solutions and Management Tools on Azure (10-15%)
- General Security and Network Security Features (10-15%)
- Identity, Governance, Privacy, and Compliance Features (20-25%)
- Azure Cost Management and Service Level Agreements (10-15%)
About our course
30 Bird’s course contains eight chapters that fully cover the six AZ-900 domains. Each chapter contains detailed exam objective coverage, hands-on exercises, topics for discussion, and assessment questions.
Chapter 1: Cloud computing fundamentals
The course begins with a high-level overview of cloud computing. The first chapter covers basic cloud concepts as well as the benefits of cloud computing, including high availability, scalability, elasticity, agility, and disaster recovery.
Next, we cover computing costs and examine the differences between traditional and cloud expenditures. This includes a discussion of two key concepts: the consumption-based pricing model and the economies of scale.
Chapter 1 concludes with coverage of cloud deployment models (Public, Private, and Hybrid), cloud service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), and cost, ownership, and management responsibilities. The shared-responsibility model is a key topic to understand for the exam.
Chapter 2: Pricing and support
Next, we dive into the Azure Cost Management and Service Level Agreements domain. Chapter 2 begins with an examination of purchasing and billing standards for Azure services, including subscriptions, Azure free accounts, and subscription management.
We then move on to cost planning and a discussion of factors that affect costs. Hands-on exercises using Azure calculators help to demonstrate these factors. Spending optimization and budgets are also covered to round out a thorough examination of Azure cost computation.
The last part of this chapter examines service-level agreements (SLAs), the service lifecycle of Azure products and services, and the various support options.
Chapter 3: Core architecture and tools
The next chapter begins with an exploration of the following Azure architecture components:
- Availability zones
- Region pairs
- Resource groups
Chapter 3 continues with an overview of Azure management tools. It offers several hands-on exercises so students can get a feel for the capabilities of each tool. It covers the Azure portal, Cloud Shell, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, and the Azure mobile app. Students will also learn about the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) and ARM templates that are useful for deploying cloud solutions.
This chapter concludes with an exploration of Azure monitoring tools and how to obtain information about the health of Azure services.
Chapter 4: Compute and networking
Next, we move on to an overview of Azure compute options, including virtual machines (VMs) and VM scaling options. Chapter 4 also covers containers, Kubernetes, and serverless compute options, including Azure Functions and Logic Apps. This chapter also discusses the Windows Virtual Desktop, which is new to the AZ-900 objectives as of November 2019.
Next, the chapter familiarizes students with the Azure Marketplace and App Service, which is often the first stop when building and deploying cloud solutions.
Chapter 4 wraps up by covering Azure networking services, including:
- Creating virtual networks (VNets)
- Scaling a solution using load balancing and the Application Gateway
- Reducing latency with Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Azure Traffic Manager
Chapter 5: Storage and databases
The next chapter discusses storage and databases, which are core Azure resources. The AZ-900 exam requires understanding Azure storage services, including:
- Storage tiers
- Storage service replication and encryption
- File, Blob, Queue, Table, and Disk storage
- QueueContainer (Blob) Storage, Disk Storage, File Storage, and storage tiers
This chapter also covers Azure database options, including fully managed relational databases (proprietary and open-source engines, Azure Cosmos DB, and in-memory databases).
Chapter 6: Advanced solutions
The AZ-900 exam requires an understanding of advanced Azure solutions. These solutions showcase the benefits of using Azure for complex workloads and data analysis.
Chapter 6 covers how Azure enables companies to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and how devices, communication, and back-end services work in an Azure IoT solution. It examines the Azure IoT services, including IoT Hub, IoT Central, and Azure Sphere. Azure Sphere is a relatively new service and was recently added to the AZ-900 exam.
Next, this chapter examines several hot topic services, including big data, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Azure services. Exam takers will need to identify Azure’s big data services such as Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI integration, Azure HDInsight, Azure Databricks, and Azure Data Factory.
The chapter wraps up by examining how organizations can utilize Azure DevOps services. It covers Azure DevOps, DevOps Labs, and integration with GitHub.
Chapter 7: Security
Understanding cloud security features and tools is crucial for passing the AZ-900 exam. Chapter 7 begins with an overview of security concepts such as risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. It covers how security features can be layered to provide defense in depth. This chapter also covers how security is a shared responsibility between Microsoft and the Azure customer. It covers key Azure security tools and options, including Azure Security Center, Azure Defender, Azure Sentinel, and Azure Dedicated Hosts.
Next, we move on to key concepts relating to network connection security. Access control options, firewalls, and encryption are covered. We also examine Azure DDoS Protection for denial of service attacks.
Finally, this chapter discusses Azure’s core identity services, including Azure Active Directory, conditional access, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and single sign-on (SSO).
Chapter 8: Governance, privacy, and compliance
The final chapter covers governance, privacy, and compliance for Azure solutions. Governance features include role-based access control (RBAC), resource locks, Azure Policy, Azure Blueprint, and the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework.
The second part of this chapter covers privacy and trust. It includes information about Microsoft’s core security, privacy, and compliance tenants, Azure privacy documents, and the Microsoft Trust Center.
Chapter 8 concludes with a discussion of Azure’s compliance features, such as The Service Trust Portal.
Azure is the fastest growing cloud computing service in the world, and Microsoft’s AZ-900 exam validates mastery of fundamental cloud concepts as well as Azure’s products and services. By earning this certification technical professionals will demonstrate the skills required for entry-level roles in cloud computing. 30 Bird’s Azure Fundamentals courseware provides a solid blueprint for learners to gain this important industry credential.