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Passed 70-537 Exam: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack

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I am so happy and grateful now that… I passed the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Exam 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack!

This exam opened first as beta on January 29, 2018. I was one between 300 peoples worldwide that I had the opportunity to sit for this beta exam. Thank You Microsoft!

I did the beta exam on early March, and by the end of the exam, I received a message that the result won’t be available until the exam’s live publication date. You should receive your printed score report by email within eight weeks (two months) after the exam’s live publication date. But when the exam live publication date is? I don’t know… sit, relax and wait :)

Finally, the exam was released to public in May 2018, and on May 31st, I received the result with PASSING score.

I figured that I would share my experience in this post to help you prepare and tackle this exam successfully.

Azure Consistency… Hybrid Cloud… Hybrid Applications is a clear message that Microsoft focused in Azure Stack.

With the release of Microsoft Azure Stack, users can now extend Azure services and capabilities on-premises. Azure Stack lets you build, deploy, and operate hybrid cloud applications consistently across Azure and Azure Stack. It’s sold as an integrated system of software and validated hardware.

In this exam, I got something around 69 questions (sixty nine! More than on any exam I ever taken), and the total time for this exam is 190 minutes. Yes, it’s a very long exam! The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

Skills measured on this exam

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam.

Deploying and Integrating an Azure Stack Environment (20-25%)

  • Build test environments by using the Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK).
  • Configure DNS for data center integration.
  • Configure connectivity for data center integration.
  • Connect to and perform API-based administration on Azure Stack.

Configuring PaaS and IaaS for an Azure Stack Environment (25-30%)

  • Configure and administer the App Service resource provider.
  • Configure and administer database resource providers.
  • Configure and administer IaaS services.

Providing Services to and Enabling DevOps for Azure Stack Tenants (25-30%)

  • Create and manage quotas, plans, and offers.
  • Manage tenants.
  • Manage the Azure Marketplace.
  • Enable DevOps for tenants.

Maintaining and Monitoring an Azure Stack Environment (20-25%)

  • Plan and implement a backup-recovery and a disaster-recovery solution.
  • Manage and monitor capacity, performance, updates, and alerts.
  • Manage usage reporting.

Do not take the exam lightly at all!

Overall, I spent couple of months preparing for this exam. I was early adopter of Microsoft Azure Stack since Technical Preview 1 came out back on January 2016, and during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP). In addition to performing my daily work, and going through all of the objectives listed above. Having said that, I passed this exam on the first attempt, I took around two hours and a half to finish, and did my best. Yes, it is a very long exam!!!

Exam Target Audience

As you become more familiar with Microsoft Azure and the administration and the deployment strategies of objects in the cloud, you’ll likely started exploring Azure Stack. An extension to Azure, Azure Stack delivers Azure services from your datacenter, enables common DevOps processes, and uses the same administration tools as Azure does, all while running on Integrated Systems provided by Microsoft partners.

The 70-537 Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack certification exam is targeted towards Solutions Architects, Cloud Operators, Azure Administrators and Developers. This is how to configure and operate Azure Stack, and as such does focus on the deployment, operation and implementation details. As a result this exam does not cover as much on the application development side of things. It also has a greater emphasis at analyzing solution requirements and enterprise scenarios to test your ability to design an appropriate solution using Azure services running on-premises or in Azure.

Lessons learned and preparation

Practice, practice and practice… I cannot stress enough that hands-on experience will help you to pass this exam. In fact, when I prepared for this exam, I bought a mini Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) to practice.

The key success to pass this exam is to work with Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack on daily basis.

One of the best ways to get ready for this exam is to focus your time on the Azure Stack Documentation, which has a wealth of information and is always the most up-to-date source. Download the Azure Stack Development Kit (for free!) and deploy it on a real hardware, the virtual environment will work but it will be slow. If you’ve mastered the Documentation and have some experience deploying and managing an ASDK or a multi-node production environment, you should be ready for the exam.

To learn how to configure and operate an Azure Stack environment, you can take the Microsoft Official instructor-led Course 20537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack from one of Microsoft Learning Partners.

SkillMeUp has both a Course and Hands-on Lab available for the 70-537 Azure Stack exam! Here are links to the Azure Stack content:

Unfortunately at this time there aren’t any Exam Reference study books available for this exam; from Microsoft Press. However, you can order Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Unleashed with Azure Stack and Azure book and get ready.

If you are planning to take this exam… I wish you all the best and Happy Studying!!!

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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