Welcome to the Azure Administrator Associate certification course! This course teaches IT Professionals how to manage their Azure subscriptions, secure identities, administer the infrastructure, configure virtual networking, connect Azure and on-premises sites, manage network traffic, implement storage solutions, create and scale virtual machines, implement web apps and containers, back up and share data, and monitor your solution.

Audience

This course is for Azure Administrators. Azure Administrators manage the cloud services that span storage, networking, and compute cloud capabilities, with a deep understanding of each service across the full IT lifecycle. They take end-user requests for new cloud applications and make recommendations on services to use for optimal performance and scale, as well as provision, size, monitor and adjust as appropriate. This role requires communicating and coordinating with vendors. Azure Administrators use the Azure Portal and as they become more proficient they use PowerShell and the Command Line Interface.

AZ-104 Certification Exam

The exam includes five study areas. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each area on the
exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions the exam will contain.

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (10-15%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networking (30-35%)
  • Monitor and back up Azure resources (10-15%)

You can access the free on-demand training for AZ-104 below:

Pre-requisites:

Successful Azure Administrators start this role with experience on operating systems, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, storage structures, and networking.

Module 01 – Identity

In this module, you will learn how to secure identities with Azure Active Directory, and implement users and groups.

Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is Microsoft’s multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service. For IT Admins, Azure AD provides an affordable, easy to use solution to give employees and business partners single sign-on (SSO) access to thousands of cloud SaaS Applications like Office365, Salesforce, DropBox, and Concur. Although Azure AD has many similarities to AD DS, there are also many differences. It is important to realize that using Azure AD is different from deploying an Active Directory domain controller on an Azure virtual machine and adding it to your on-premises domain.

Users and Groups

Cloud identities: These users exist only in Azure AD. Examples are administrator accounts and users that you manage yourself. Their source is Azure Active Directory or External Azure Active Directory if the user is defined in another Azure AD instance but needs access to subscription resources controlled by this directory. When these accounts are removed from the primary directory, they are deleted.

Directory-synchronized identities: These users exist in an on-premises Active Directory. A synchronization activity that occurs via Azure AD Connect brings these users in to Azure. Their source is Windows Server AD.

Guest users: These users exist outside Azure. Examples are accounts from other cloud providers and Microsoft accounts such as an Xbox LIVE account. Their source is Invited user. This type of account is useful when external vendors or contractors need access to your Azure resources. Once their help is no longer necessary, you can remove the account and all of their access.

Exam AZ-104 Module 01: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about how to secure identities with Azure Active Directory, and implement users and groups.

Module 02 – Governance and Compliance

In this module, you will learn about managing your subscriptions and accounts, implementing Azure
policies, and using Role-Based Access Control.

Subscriptions and Accounts

An Azure subscription is a logical unit of Azure services that is linked to an Azure account. Billing for Azure services is done on a per-subscription basis. If your account is the only account associated with a subscription, then you are responsible for billing. Subscriptions help you organize access to cloud service resources. They also help you control how resource usage is reported, billed, and paid for. Each subscription can have a different billing and payment setup, so you can have different subscriptions and different plans by department, project, regional office, and so on. Every cloud service belongs to a subscription, and the subscription ID may be required for programmatic operations.

Subscriptions have accounts. An Azure account is simply an identity in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) or in a directory that is trusted by Azure AD, such as a work or school organization. If you don’t belong to one of these organizations, you can sign up for an Azure account by using your Microsoft Account, which is also trusted by Azure AD.

Azure Policy

Azure Policy is a service in Azure that you use to create, assign and manage policies. These policies enforce different rules over your resources, so those resources stay compliant with your corporate standards and service level agreements. Azure Policy does this by running evaluations of your resources and scanning for those not compliant with the policies you have created.

Role-Based Access Control

Access management for cloud resources is a critical function for any organization that is using the cloud. Role-based access control (RBAC) helps you manage who has access to Azure resources, what they can do with those resources, and what areas they have access to. RBAC is an authorization system built on Azure Resource Manager that provides fine-grained access management of resources in Azure.

Exam AZ-104 Module 02: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about managing your subscriptions and accounts, implementing Azure policies, and using Role-Based Access Control.

Module 3 Azure Administration

In this module, you will learn about the tools an Azure Administrator uses to manage their infrastructure. This includes the Azure Portal, Cloud Shell, Azure PowerShell, CLI, and Resource Manager Templates.

Azure Resource Manager

The infrastructure for your application is typically made up of many components – maybe a virtual machine, storage account, and virtual network, or a web app, database, database server, and third party services. These components are not separate entities, instead they are related and interdependent parts of a single entity. You want to deploy, manage, and monitor them as a group. Azure Resource Manager enables you to work with the resources in your solution as a group. You can deploy, update, or delete all the resources for your solution in a single, coordinated operation. You use a template for deployment and that template can work for different environments such as testing, staging, and production. Resource Manager provides security, auditing, and tagging features to help you manage your resources after deployment.

Azure Portal and Cloud Shell

The Azure Portal let’s you build, manage, and monitor everything from simple web apps to complex cloud applications in a single, unified console.

Azure Cloud Shell is an interactive, browser-accessible shell for managing Azure resources. It provides the flexibility of choosing the shell experience that best suits the way you work. Linux users can opt for a Bash experience, while Windows users can opt for PowerShell. Cloud Shell enables access to a browser-based command-line experience built with Azure management tasks in mind. Leverage Cloud Shell to work untethered from a local machine in a way only the cloud can provide.

Azure PowerShell and CLI

Azure PowerShell is a module that you add to Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core to enable you to connect to your Azure subscription and manage resources. Azure PowerShell requires PowerShell to function. PowerShell provides services such as the shell window and command parsing. Azure PowerShell adds the Azure-specific commands.

Azure CLI is a command-line program to connect to Azure and execute administrative commands on Azure resources. It runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows, and allows administrators and developers to execute their commands through a terminal or a command-line prompt, (or script!) instead of a web browser.

ARM Templates

An Azure Resource Manager template precisely defines all the Resource Manager resources in a deployment. You can deploy a Resource Manager template into a resource group as a single operation. Using Resource Manager templates will make your deployments faster and more repeatable. For example, you no longer have to create a VM in the portal, wait for it to finish, and then create the next VM. Resource Manager takes care of the entire deployment for you.

Exam AZ-104 Module 03: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about the tools an Azure Administrator uses to manage their infrastructure. This includes the Azure Portal, Cloud Shell, Azure PowerShell, CLI, and Resource Manager Templates.

Module 4 Virtual Networking

In this module, you will learn about basic virtual networking concepts like virtual networks and subnetting, IP addressing, Azure DNS, network security groups, and Azure Firewall.

Virtual Networks

An Azure Virtual Network (VNet) is a representation of your own network in the cloud. It is a logical isolation of the Azure cloud dedicated to your subscription. You can use VNets to provision and manage virtual private networks (VPNs) in Azure and, optionally, link the VNets with other VNets in Azure, or with your on-premises IT infrastructure to create hybrid or cross-premises solutions. Each VNet you create has its own CIDR block and can be linked to other VNets and on-premises networks if the CIDR blocks do not overlap. You also have control of DNS server settings for VNets, and segmentation of the VNet into subnets.

IP Addressing

You can assign IP addresses to Azure resources to communicate with other Azure resources, your on-premises network, and the Internet. There are two types of IP addresses you can use in Azure. Virtual networks can contain both public and private IP address spaces.

Network Security Groups

You can limit network traffic to resources in a virtual network using a network security group (NSG). A network security group contains a list of security rules that allow or deny inbound or outbound network traffic. An NSG can be associated to a subnet or a network interface.

Azure Firewall

Azure Firewall is a managed, cloud-based network security service that protects your Azure Virtual Network resources. It’s a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability. You can centrally create, enforce, and log application and network connectivity policies across subscriptions and virtual networks. Azure Firewall uses a static public IP address for your virtual network resources allowing outside firewalls to identify traffic originating from your virtual network. The service is fully integrated with Azure Monitor for logging and analytics.

Azure DNS

By default, when you create an Azure subscription an Azure AD domain is created for you. This instance of the domain has initial domain name in the form domainname.onmicrosoft.com. The initial domain name, while fully functional, is intended primarily to be used as a bootstrapping mechanism until a custom domain name is verified.

Azure DNS provides a reliable, secure DNS service to manage and resolve domain names in a virtual network without your needing to add a custom DNS solution.

Exam AZ-104 Module 04: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about basic virtual networking concepts like virtual networks and subnetting, IP addressing, Azure DNS, network security groups, and Azure Firewall.

Module 05 – Intersite Connectivity

In this module, you will learn about intersite connectivity features including VNet Peering, Virtual Network Gateways, and VPN Gateway Connections.

VNet Peering

Perhaps the simplest and quickest way to connect your VNets is to use VNet peering. Virtual network peering enables you to seamlessly connect two Azure virtual networks. Once peered, the virtual networks appear as one, for connectivity purposes. There are two types of VNet peering.

VPN Gateway Connections

A VPN gateway is a specific type of virtual network gateway that is used to send encrypted traffic between an Azure virtual network and an on-premises location over the public Internet. You can also use a VPN gateway to send encrypted traffic between Azure virtual networks over the Microsoft network. Each virtual network can have only one VPN gateway. However, you can create multiple connections to the same VPN gateway. When you create multiple connections to the same VPN gateway, all VPN tunnels share the available gateway bandwidth.

ExpressRoute & Virtual WANs

Azure ExpressRoute lets you extend your on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a dedicated private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider. With ExpressRoute, you can establish connections to Microsoft cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and CRM Online.

Azure Virtual WAN is a networking service that provides optimized and automated branch connectivity to, and through, Azure. Azure regions serve as hubs that you can choose to connect your branches to. You can leverage the Azure backbone to also connect branches and enjoy branch-to-VNet connectivity. There is a list of partners that support connectivity automation with Azure Virtual WAN VPN.

Exam AZ-104 Module 05: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about intersite connectivity features including VNet Peering, Virtual Network Gateways, and VPN Gateway Connections.

Module 06 – Network Traffic Management

In this module, you will learn about network traffic strategies including network routing and service endpoints, Azure Load Balancer, and Azure Application Gateway.

Network Routing and Endpoints

Azure uses system routes to direct network traffic between virtual machines, on-premises networks, and the Internet.

A virtual network service endpoint provides the identity of your virtual network to the Azure service. Once service endpoints are enabled in your virtual network, you can secure Azure service resources to your virtual network by adding a virtual network rule to the resources.

Azure Load Balancer

The Azure Load Balancer delivers high availability and network performance to your applications. The load balancer distributes inbound traffic to backend resources using load balancing rules and health
probes.

Azure Application Gateway

Application Gateway manages the requests that client applications can send to a web app. Application Gateway routes traffic to a pool of web servers based on the URL of a request. This is known as application layer routing. The pool of web servers can be Azure virtual machines, Azure virtual machine scale sets, Azure App Service, and even on-premises servers.

Azure Traffic Manager

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control the distribution of user traffic to your service endpoints running in different datacenters around the world.

Exam AZ-104 Module 06: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about network traffic strategies including network routing and service endpoints, Azure Load Balancer, and Azure Application Gateway.

Module 07 – Azure Storage

In this module, you will learn about basic storage features including storage accounts, blob storage, Azure files and File Sync, storage security, and storage tools.

Azure Storage Services

Azure Storage is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution for modern data storage scenarios. Azure Storage offers a massively scalable object store for data objects, a file system service for the cloud, a messaging store for reliable messaging, and a NoSQL store.

Azure Storage is a service that you can use to store files, messages, tables, and other types of information. You can use Azure storage on its own—for example as a file share—but it is often used by developers as a store for working data. Such stores can be used by websites, mobile apps, desktop applications, and many other types of custom solutions. Azure storage is also used by IaaS virtual machines, and PaaS cloud services.

Blob Storage

Azure Blob storage is a service that stores unstructured data in the cloud as objects/blobs. Blob storage can store any type of text or binary data, such as a document, media file, or application installer. Blob storage is also referred to as object storage.

Storage Security

Azure Storage provides a comprehensive set of security capabilities that together enable developers to build secure applications. In this video, we focus on Shared Access Signatures, but also cover storage encryption and some best practices.

A shared access signature (SAS) is a URI that grants restricted access rights to Azure Storage resources (a specific blob in this case). You can provide a shared access signature to clients who should not be trusted with your storage account key but whom you wish to delegate access to certain storage account resources. By distributing a shared access signature URI to these clients, you grant them access to a resource for a specified period of time. SAS is a secure way to share your storage resources without compromising your account keys.

Azure Files and File Sync

File storage offers shared storage for applications using the industry standard SMB protocol. Microsoft Azure virtual machines and cloud services can share file data across application components via mounted shares, and on-premises applications can also access file data in the share. Applications running in Azure virtual machines or cloud services can mount a file storage share to access file data, just as a desktop application would mount a typical SMB share. Any number of Azure virtual machines or roles can mount and access the File storage share simultaneously.

Use Azure File Sync to centralize your organization’s file shares in Azure Files, while keeping the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of an on-premises file server. Azure File Sync transforms Windows Server into a quick cache of your Azure file share. You can use any protocol that’s available on Windows Server to access your data locally, including SMB, NFS, and FTPS. You can have as many caches as you need across the world.

Managing Azure Storage

Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone app that makes it easy to work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux. With Storage Explorer you can access multiple accounts and subscriptions and manage all your storage content.

Exam AZ-104 Module 07: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about basic storage features including storage accounts, blob storage, Azure files and File Sync, storage security, and storage tools.

Module 8 Azure Virtual Machines

In this module, you will learn about Azure virtual machines including planning, creating, availability and extensions.

Virtual Machine Planning

Azure Virtual Machines is one of several types of on-demand, scalable computing resources that Azure offers. Typically, you’ll choose a virtual machine if you need more control over the computing environment than the choices such as App Service or Cloud Services offer. Azure Virtual Machines provide you with an operating system, storage, and networking capabilities and can run a wide range of applications. Provisioning VMs to Azure requires planning.

Creating Virtual Machines

When you are creating virtual machines in the portal, one of your first decisions is the image to use. Azure supports Windows and Linux operating systems.

Virtual Machine Availability

As an Azure administrator you must be prepared for planned and unplanned failures. There are three scenarios that can lead to your virtual machine in Azure being impacted: unplanned hardware maintenance, unexpected downtime, and planned maintenance.

Virtual Machine Extensions

Azure virtual machine extensions are small applications that provide post-deployment configuration and automation tasks on Azure VMs. For example, if a virtual machine requires software installation, anti-virus protection, or a configuration script inside, a VM extension can be used. Extensions are all about managing your virtual machines.

Exam AZ-104 Module 08: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about Azure virtual machines including planning, creating, availability and extensions.

Module 09 – Serverless Computing

In this module, you will learn administer serverless computing features like Azure App Service, Azure Container Instances, and Kubernetes.

Azure App Service Plans

In App Service, an app runs in an App Service plan. An App Service plan defines a set of compute resources for a web app to run. These compute resources are analogous to the server farm in conventional web hosting. One or more apps can be configured to run on the same computing resources (or in the same App Service plan).

Azure App Services

Azure App Service brings together everything you need to create websites, mobile backends, and web APIs for any platform or device. Applications run and scale with ease on both Windows and Linux based environments.

Container Services

Hardware virtualization has made it possible to run multiple isolated instances of operating systems concurrently on the same physical hardware. Containers represent the next stage in the virtualization of computing resources. Container-based virtualization allows you to virtualize the operating system. This way, you can run multiple applications within the same instance of an operating system, while maintaining isolation between the applications. This means that containers within a VM provide functionality similar to that of VMs within a physical server.

Azure Kubernetes Service

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) provides a managed Kubernetes service that reduces the complexity for deployment and core management tasks, including coordinating upgrades. The AKS cluster masters are managed by the Azure platform, and you only pay for the AKS nodes that run your applications. AKS is built on top of the open-source Azure Container Service Engine (acs-engine).

Exam AZ-104 Module 09: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about how to administer serverless computing features like Azure App Service, Azure Container Instances, and Kubernetes.

Module 10 – Data Protection

In this module, you will learn about backing up files and folders, and virtual machine backups.

File and Folder Backups

Azure Backup is the Azure-based service you can use to back up (or protect) and restore your data in the Microsoft cloud. Azure Backup replaces your existing on-premises or off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive.

Azure Backup offers multiple components that you download and deploy on the appropriate computer, server, or in the cloud. The component, or agent, that you deploy depends on what you want to protect. All Azure Backup components (no matter whether you’re protecting data on-premises or in the cloud) can be used to back up data to a Recovery Services vault in Azure.

Virtual Machine Backups

You can protect your data by taking backups at regular intervals. There are several backup options available for VMs, depending on your use-case. For backing up Azure VMs running production workloads, use Azure Backup. Azure Backup supports application-consistent backups for both Windows and Linux VMs. Azure Backup creates recovery points that are stored in geo-redundant recovery vaults. When you restore from a recovery point, you can restore the whole VM or just specific files. The topics in this lesson will focus on Azure Backup.

Exam AZ-104 Module 10: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about backing up files and folders, and virtual machine backups.

Module 11 – Monitoring

In this module, you will learn about monitoring your Azure infrastructure including Azure Monitor, alerting, and log analytics.

Azure Monitor

Azure includes multiple services that individually perform a specific role or task in the monitoring space. Together, these services deliver a comprehensive solution for collecting, analyzing, and acting on telemetry from your application and the Azure resources that support them. They can also work to monitor critical on-premises resources to provide a hybrid monitoring environment. Understanding the tools and data that are available is the first step in developing a complete monitoring strategy for your application.

Azure Alerts

Alerts proactively notify you when issues are found with your infrastructure or application using your monitoring data in Azure Monitor. They allow you to identify and address issues before the users of your system notice them.

Log Analytics

Log Analytics is a service in that helps you collect and analyze data generated by resources in your cloud and on-premises environments.

Network Watcher

Network Watcher provides tools to monitor, diagnose, view metrics, and enable or disable logs for resources in an Azure virtual network. Network Watcher is a regional service that enables you to monitor and diagnose conditions at a network scenario level.

Exam AZ-104 Module 11: Review Q&A

In this module, we learnt about monitoring your Azure infrastructure including Azure Monitor, alerting, and log analytics.

I wish you all the very best for your exam and continued career success! 👍

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Cheers!

Susanth Sutheesh

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