Updated – 29/12/2020 – The exam guide below shows the changes that will be implemented starting on January 27, 2021. This article has been updated to reflect the new exam objectives added by Microsoft.
In this article, I would share my experience and impressions to help you prepare and pass the AZ-104 – Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate exam successfully.
Contents of this Article
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Microsoft is keeping evolving their learning programs to help you and your career keep pace with today’s demanding IT environments. The new updated role-based certifications will help you to keep pace with today’s business requirements. Microsoft Learning is constantly evolving its learning program to better offer what you need to skill up, prove your expertise to employers and peers, and get the recognition—and opportunities—you’ve earned.
In January 2020, Microsoft announced new updates to several Azure and Data certifications which were released in March 2020. The certifications that you earned are not changing, but the exams required to earn the certifications are changed.
|Certification||Old Exam||New Exam||Expected Release|
|Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate||AZ-103||AZ-104||March, 2020|
|Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate||AZ-203||AZ-204||February 20, 2020|
|Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect||AZ-300 & AZ-301||AZ-303 & AZ-304||June, 2020|
Last year, I passed the AZ-102 transition exam to earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate. I decided to update my skills and take the new AZ-104 since Microsoft introduced a lot of new topics. I did the beta exam on May 28, 2020, and by the end of the exam, I received a message that the result won’t be available until two weeks after the exam’s live publication date. Additionally, you should receive the printed score report by email within eight weeks after the exam’s live publication date.
To get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification, you are required to pass only ONE exam, the AZ-104: Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate.
I am so happy and grateful now that I passed the AZ-104 exam – Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator. I figured that I would share my experience and impressions in this article to help you prepare and tackle this exam successfully.
In June 2020, Microsoft released the AZ-104 for the public, and today I received the result with Passing Score including the performance by exam section as follows:
This will give you a detailed report to know in which area you need to develop your skills further, mine its Virtual Networking, this will also reflect your strength which is obvious to me Azure Backup and Monitoring where my area of expertise ;)
In this exam, I got around 62 questions including 3 case studies, and the total time for this exam is 180 minutes (3 hours) so you have enough time to finish it. However, the exam is very long and not easy. Azure exams are getting tougher!!!
The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.
Exam Profile Audience
The exam profile audience for this exam is to be a subject matter expert in implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment.
Responsibilities for an 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.
An Azure Administrator often serves as part of a larger team dedicated to implementing your organization’s cloud infrastructure.
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.
Prerequisites study guide
If you are new to the Azure Administrator role these references can help you understand administrator fundamentals.
Skills measured on this exam
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical topics listed below based on the latest update from Microsoft.
Links to relevant reading from the official Microsoft documentation for each skill tested are listed below to help you prepare:
Manage Azure identities and governance (15-20%)
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
- Resource groups
- Resources (VM, disk, etc.)
- Interpret access assignments
- Manage multiple directories
Manage subscriptions and governance
- Configure Azure policies
- Configure resource locks
- Apply tags
- Create and manage resource groups
- Move resources
- Remove resource groups
- 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 storage 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
- Configure blob lifecycle management
- Configure blob object replication
Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)
Configure VMs for high availability and scalability
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 disks
- 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
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
Configure name resolution
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
- Analyze metrics across subscriptions
- Configure Log Analytics
- Implement a Log Analytics workspace
- Configure diagnostic settings
- Query and analyze logs
- Create a query
- Save a query to the dashboard
- Interpret graphs
- Set up alerts and actions
- Create and test alerts
- Create action groups
- View alerts in Azure Monitor
- Analyze alerts across subscriptions
- 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
- Use soft delete to recover Azure VMs
- Create and configure a backup policy
- Perform site-to-site recovery by using Azure Site Recovery
As announced by Microsoft Worldwide learning due to the pandemic situation, it appears they have suspended performance-based lab questions given their need to reserve Azure capacity for paying customers. So you better get your exams registered as soon as possible to take advantage of this situation. The biggest subject areas that I saw on AZ-104 are networking and storage. You can expect a lot of reading and a lot of tabular analysis, so you need to prepare and be an expert on those two subjects.
The configuration-related items test whether you’ve got hands-on experience in the Azure portal. It’s one of those things where if you’ve done the work, you’ll recognize the correct answer right away. However, I would expect its content to change a bit. I sure hope Worldwide Learning cuts down some of the verbosity. Some of the case studies are way too big in my humble opinion.
I was also disappointed that I saw no JSON on the AZ-104 beta exam. Lots of Azure portal screenshots, a fair amount of Azure PowerShell, and no Azure CLI, I saw only one Kusto Query Language (KQL) question.
Overall, I think Microsoft Worldwide Learning is doing a good job of gradually shaping these exams to reflect real-world Azure practice scenarios. The AZ-104 objective domain is more logically organized now.
Practice, practice and read… I cannot stress enough that hands-on experience and understanding all the concepts will help you to pass this exam. The key success to pass this exam is to work with Microsoft Azure on daily basis. You can create your free Azure account today and start practicing the new features.
To prepare for this exam, I use the official Microsoft Azure documentation which is a great resource to learn.
I also use Microsoft Learn the new learning approach to explore more advanced Azure Administrator topics in a structured way, I highly recommend to check the following modules:
- Administer infrastructure resources in Azure (12 modules)
- Architect storage infrastructure in Azure (9 modules)
- Architect network infrastructure in Azure (12 modules)
- Architect infrastructure operations in Azure (5 modules)
- Architect compute infrastructure in Azure (9 modules)
- Architect migration, business continuity, and disaster recovery in Azure (9 modules)
- Manage resources in Azure (6 modules)
- Manage identity and access in Azure Active Directory (9 modules)
- Manage security operations in Azure (8 modules)
- Implement resource management security in Azure (6 modules)
- Administer containers in Azure (7 modules)
If you wish to validate your skills before taking the real exam, I highly encourage you to purchase the following practice tests:
- AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator Microsoft Official Practice Test. The MeasureUp AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator practice test from mindhub is designed to help you prepare for and pass the Microsoft AZ-104 exam. This exam is aimed at Microsoft Azure Administrators who want to test their knowledge implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment, plus provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources, when needed.
The practice is the key to success and pass this exam. I highly recommended to go through the following labs developed by Microsoft:
Instructor-led virtual training
Last but certainly not least, if you prefer an instructor-led training course, Microsoft released the AZ-104T00-A 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.
Bypassing the AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator, you will earn the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate certificate. The certification is valid only for 2 years.
I hope you enjoyed my AZ-104 certification experience and exam preparation. Did I miss any link, or do you have any recommended AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study resources? Please let me know in the comment section below.
If you are planning to take this exam… I wish you all the best and Happy Studying!!!
Thank you for reading my blog.