AZ-900

The Azure Fundamentals exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, security and privacy in Azure, as well as Azure pricing and support.

Use this exam cram guide to familiarise yourself with the general technology concepts, including networking, storage, compute, application support, and application development prior to sitting your certification.

Each testing domain is listed along with the key review points that you will need to be familiar with in order to be successful.

Section 1: Identify the benefits and considerations of using cloud services.

1.1 – Identify the benefits of cloud computing, such as High Availability, Scalability, Elasticity, Agility, and Disaster Recovery

Review

There are several advantages that a cloud environment has over a physical environment.

High availability: Depending on the service-level agreement (SLA) that you choose, your cloud-based apps can provide a continuous user experience with no apparent downtime, even when things go wrong.

Scalability: Apps in the cloud can scale vertically and horizontally:

  • Scale vertically to increase compute capacity by adding RAM or CPUs to a virtual machine.
  • Scaling horizontally increases compute capacity by adding instances of resources, such as adding VMs to the configuration.

Elasticity: You can configure cloud-based apps to take advantage of autoscaling, so your apps always have the resources they need.

Agility: Deploy and configure cloud-based resources quickly as your app requirements change.

Geo-distribution: You can deploy apps and data to regional datacenters around the globe, thereby ensuring that your customers always have the best performance in their region.

Disaster recovery: By taking advantage of cloud-based backup services, data replication, and geo-distribution, you can deploy your apps with the confidence that comes from knowing that your data is safe in the event of disaster.

1.2 -Identify the differences between Capital Expenditure and Operational Expenditure

Review

Capital Expenditure (CapEx) is the up-front spending of money on physical infrastructure, and then deducting that up-front expense over time. The up-front cost from CapEx has a value that reduces over time.

Operational Expenditure (OpEx) is spending money on services or products now and being billed for them now. You can deduct this expense in the same year you spend it. There is no up-front cost, as you pay for a service or product as you use it.

1.3 – Describe the consumption-based model

Review

Cloud service providers operate on a consumption-based model, which means that end users only pay for the resources that they use. Whatever they use is what they pay for.

A consumption-based model has many benefits, including:

  • No upfront costs.
  • No need to purchase and manage costly infrastructure that users might not use to its fullest.
  • The ability to pay for additional resources when they are needed.
  • The ability to stop paying for resources that are no longer needed.

Section 2: Describe the differences between categories of cloud services

2.1 – Describe the shared responsibility model

Review

In an on-premises datacenter, you own the whole stack. As you move to the cloud some responsibilities transfer to Microsoft. The following diagram illustrates the areas of responsibility between you and Microsoft, according to the type of deployment of your stack.

For all cloud deployment types, you own your data and identities. You are responsible for protecting the security of your data and identities, on-premises resources, and the cloud components you control (which varies by service type).

Regardless of the type of deployment, the following responsibilities are always retained by you:

  • Data
  • Endpoints
  • Account
  • Access management

2.2 – Describe Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Review

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
This cloud service model is the closest to managing physical servers; a cloud provider will keep the hardware up-to-date, but operating system maintenance and network configuration is up to you as the cloud tenant.

For example, Azure virtual machines are fully operational virtual compute devices running in Microsoft datacenters. An advantage of this cloud service model is rapid deployment of new compute devices. Setting up a new virtual machine is considerably faster than procuring, installing, and configuring a physical server.

Platform-as-a-Service
This cloud service model is a managed hosting environment. The cloud provider manages the virtual machines and networking resources, and the cloud tenant deploys their applications into the managed hosting environment.

For example, Azure App Services provides a managed hosting environment where developers can upload their web applications, without having to worry about the physical hardware and software requirements.

Software-as-a-Service
In this cloud service model, the cloud provider manages all aspects of the application environment, such as virtual machines, networking resources, data storage, and applications. The cloud tenant only needs to provide their data to the application managed by the cloud provider.

For example, Microsoft Office 365 provides a fully working version of Microsoft Office that runs in the cloud. All you need to do is create your content, and Office 365 takes care of everything else.

2.3 – Describe serverless computing

Review

Like PaaS, serverless computing enables developers to build applications faster by eliminating the need for them to manage infrastructure. With serverless applications, the cloud service provider automatically provisions, scales, and manages the infrastructure required to run the code. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.

It’s important to note that servers are still running the code. The “serverless” name comes from the fact that the tasks associated with infrastructure provisioning and management are invisible to the developer. This approach enables developers to increase their focus on the business logic and deliver more value to the core of the business. Serverless computing helps teams increase their productivity and bring products to market faster, and it allows organizations to better optimize resources and stay focused on innovation.

Section 3: Describe the differences between types of cloud computing

3.1 – Describe Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Review

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet by using a pay-as-you-go pricing model. You typically pay only for the cloud services you use, which helps you:

  • Lower your operating costs.
  • Run your infrastructure more efficiently.
  • Scale as your business needs change.

To put it another way, cloud computing is a way to rent compute power and storage from someone else’s datacenter. You can treat cloud resources like you would resources in your own datacenter. When you’re done using them, you give them back. You’re billed only for what you use.

Instead of maintaining CPUs and storage in your datacenter, you rent them for the time that you need them. The cloud provider takes care of maintaining the underlying infrastructure for you. The cloud enables you to quickly solve your toughest business challenges and bring cutting-edge solutions to your users.

3.2 – Describe Public, Private, and Hybrid clouds

Review

Public Cloud
Services are offered over the public internet and available to anyone who wants to purchase them. Cloud resources, such as servers and storage, are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and delivered over the internet.

Private Cloud
A private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by users from one business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located at your organization’s on-site (on-premises) datacenter, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider.

Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines a public cloud and a private cloud by allowing data and applications to be shared between them.

3.3 – Compare and contrast the three types of cloud computing.

Review
  • Public cloud
    No capital expenditures to scale up.
    Applications can be quickly provisioned and deprovisioned.
    Organizations pay only for what they use.
  • Private cloud
    Hardware must be purchased for start-up and maintenance.
    Organizations have complete control over resources and security.
    Organizations are responsible for hardware maintenance and updates.
  • Hybrid cloud
    Provides the most flexibility.
    Organizations determine where to run their applications.
    Organizations control security, compliance, or legal requirements.

Section 4: Describe the core Azure architectural components

4.1 – Describe the benefits and usage of Regions, Availability Zones, and Region Pairs

Review

A region is a geographical area on the planet that contains at least one but potentially multiple datacenters that are nearby and networked together with a low-latency network. Azure intelligently assigns and controls the resources within each region to ensure workloads are appropriately balanced.

When you deploy a resource in Azure, you’ll often need to choose the region where you want your resource deployed.

Availability zones are physically separate datacenters within an Azure region. Each availability zone is made up of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking.

An availability zone is set up to be an isolation boundary. If one zone goes down, the other continues working. Availability zones are connected through high-speed, private fiber-optic networks.

Each Azure region is always paired with another region within the same geography (such as US, Europe, or Asia) at least 300 miles away. This approach allows for the replication of resources (such as VM storage) across a geography that helps reduce the likelihood of interruptions because of events such as natural disasters, civil unrest, power outages, or physical network outages that affect both regions at once.

If a region in a pair was affected by a natural disaster, for instance, services would automatically failover to the other region in its region pair.

4.2 – Describe the benefits and usage of Subscriptions, Management Groups, Resource Groups, and resources

Review

Resources: Resources are instances of services that you create, like virtual machines, storage, or SQL databases.

Resource groups: Resources are combined into resource groups, which act as a logical container into which Azure resources like web apps, databases, and storage accounts are deployed and managed.

Subscriptions: A subscription groups together user accounts and the resources that have been created by those user accounts. For each subscription, there are limits or quotas on the number of resources that you can create and use. Organizations can use subscriptions to manage costs and the resources that are created by users, teams, or projects.

Management groups: These groups help you manage access, policy, and compliance for multiple subscriptions. All subscriptions in a management group automatically inherit the conditions applied to the management group.

4.3 – Describe the benefits and usage of Azure Resource Manager

Review

Azure Resource Manager is the deployment and management service for Azure. It provides a management layer that enables you to create, update, and delete resources in your Azure account. You use management features like access control, locks, and tags to secure and organize your resources after deployment.

When a user sends a request from any of the Azure tools, APIs, or SDKs, Resource Manager receives the request. It authenticates and authorizes the request. Resource Manager sends the request to the Azure service, which takes the requested action. Because all requests are handled through the same API, you see consistent results and capabilities in all the different tools.

Section 5: Describe the core resources available in Azure

5.1 – Describe the benefits and usage of Virtual Machines, Azure App Services, Azure Container Instances (ACI), Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Windows Virtual Desktop

Review

Azure compute is an on-demand computing service for running cloud-based applications. It provides computing resources such as disks, processors, memory, networking, and operating systems. The resources are available on-demand and can typically be made available in minutes or even seconds. You pay only for the resources you use, and only for as long as you’re using them.

Virtual machines are software emulations of physical computers. They include a virtual processor, memory, storage, and networking resources. VMs host an operating system, and you can install and run software just like a physical computer. When using a remote desktop client, you can use and control the VM as if you were sitting in front of it.

With Azure Virtual Machines, you can create and use VMs in the cloud. Virtual Machines provides infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and can be used in different ways. When you need total control over an operating system and environment, VMs are an ideal choice. Just like a physical computer, you can customize all the software running on the VM. This ability is helpful when you’re running custom software or custom hosting configurations.

Container Instances and the Azure Kubernetes Service are Azure compute resources that you can use to deploy and manage containers. Containers are lightweight, virtualized application environments. They’re designed to be quickly created, scaled out, and stopped dynamically. You can run multiple instances of a containerized application on a single host machine.

With Azure App Service, you can quickly build, deploy, and scale enterprise-grade web, mobile, and API apps running on any platform. You can meet rigorous performance, scalability, security, and compliance requirements while using a fully managed platform to perform infrastructure maintenance. App Service is a platform as a service (PaaS) offering.

Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure is a desktop and application virtualization service that runs on the cloud. It enables your users to use a cloud-hosted version of Windows from any location. Windows Virtual Desktop works across devices like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. It works with apps that you can use to access remote desktops and apps. You can also use most modern browsers to access Windows Virtual Desktop-hosted experiences.

5.2 – Describe the benefits and usage of Virtual Networks, VPN Gateway, Virtual Network peering, and ExpressRoute.

Review

Azure virtual networks enable Azure resources, such as VMs, web apps, and databases, to communicate with each other, with users on the internet, and with your on-premises client computers. You can think of an Azure network as a set of resources that links other Azure resources.

Azure virtual networks provide the following key networking capabilities:

  • Isolation and segmentation
  • Internet communications
  • Communicate between Azure resources
  • Communicate with on-premises resources
  • Route network traffic
  • Filter network traffic
  • Connect virtual networks

You can link virtual networks together by using virtual network peering. Peering enables resources in each virtual network to communicate with each other. These virtual networks can be in separate regions, which allows you to create a global interconnected network through Azure.

Azure virtual networks enable you to link resources together in your on-premises environment and within your Azure subscription. In effect, you can create a network that spans both your local and cloud environments.

There are three mechanisms for you to achieve this connectivity:

Point-to-site virtual private networks The typical approach to a virtual private network (VPN) connection is from a computer outside your organization, back into your corporate network. In this case, the client computer initiates an encrypted VPN connection to connect that computer to the Azure virtual network.

Site-to-site virtual private networks A site-to-site VPN links your on-premises VPN device or gateway to the Azure VPN gateway in a virtual network. In effect, the devices in Azure can appear as being on the local network. The connection is encrypted and works over the internet.

Azure ExpressRoute For environments where you need greater bandwidth and even higher levels of security, Azure ExpressRoute is the best approach. ExpressRoute provides dedicated private connectivity to Azure that doesn’t travel over the internet.

5.3 – Describe the benefits and usage of Container (Blob) Storage, Disk Storage, File Storage, and storage tiers

Review

Disk Storage provides disks for Azure virtual machines. Applications and other services can access and use these disks as needed, similar to how they would in on-premises scenarios.

Disk Storage allows data to be persistently stored and accessed from an attached virtual hard disk.

Azure Blob Storage is an object storage solution for the cloud. It can store massive amounts of data, such as text or binary data. Azure Blob Storage is unstructured, meaning that there are no restrictions on the kinds of data it can hold. Blob Storage can manage thousands of simultaneous uploads, massive amounts of video data, constantly growing log files, and can be reached from anywhere with an internet connection.

Azure Files offers fully managed file shares in the cloud that are accessible via the industry standard Server Message Block and Network File System protocols. Azure file shares can be mounted concurrently by cloud or on-premises deployments of Windows, Linux, and macOS.

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

Azure Storage offers different access tiers for your blob storage, helping you store object data in the most cost-effective manner. The available access tiers include:

Hot access tier: Optimized for storing data that is accessed frequently (for example, images for your website).

Cool access tier: Optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and stored for at least 30 days (for example, invoices for your customers).

Archive access tier: Appropriate for data that is rarely accessed and stored for at least 180 days, with flexible latency requirements (for example, long-term backups).

Section 6: Describe the core solutions available in Azure

6.1 – Describe the benefits and usage of Internet of Things (IoT) Hub, IoT Central, and Azure Sphere

Review

Azure IoT Hub is a managed service that’s hosted in the cloud and that acts as a central message hub for bi-directional communication between your IoT application and the devices it manages. You can use Azure IoT Hub to build IoT solutions with reliable and secure communications between millions of IoT devices and a cloud-hosted solution back end. You can connect virtually any device to your IoT hub.

Azure IoT Central builds on top of IoT Hub by adding a dashboard that allows you to connect, monitor, and manage your IoT devices. The visual user interface (UI) makes it easy to quickly connect new devices and watch as they begin sending telemetry or error messages. You can watch the overall performance across all devices in aggregate, and you can set up alerts that send notifications when a specific device needs maintenance. Finally, you can push firmware updates to the device.

Azure Sphere creates an end-to-end, highly secure IoT solution for customers that encompasses everything from the hardware and operating system on the device to the secure method of sending messages from the device to the message hub. Azure Sphere has built-in communication and security features for internet-connected devices.

Azure Sphere comes in three parts:

The first part is the Azure Sphere micro-controller unit (MCU), which is responsible for processing the operating system and signals from attached sensors.

The second part is a customized Linux operating system (OS) that handles communication with the security service and can run the vendor’s software.

The third part is Azure Sphere Security Service, also known as AS3. Its job is to make sure that the device has not been maliciously compromised.

6.2 – Describe the benefits and usage of Azure Synapse Analytics, HDInsight, and Azure Databricks.

Review

Azure Synapse Analytics (formerly Azure SQL Data Warehouse) is a limitless analytics service that brings together enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics. You can query data on your terms by using either serverless or provisioned resources at scale. You have a unified experience to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for immediate BI and machine learning needs.

Azure HDInsight is a fully managed, open-source analytics service for enterprises. It’s a cloud service that makes it easier, faster, and more cost-effective to process massive amounts of data. You can run popular open-source frameworks and create cluster types such as Apache Spark, Apache Hadoop, Apache Kafka, Apache HBase, Apache Storm, and Machine Learning Services. HDInsight also supports a broad range of scenarios such as extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL), data warehousing, machine learning, and IoT

Azure Databricks helps you unlock insights from all your data and build artificial intelligence solutions. You can set up your Apache Spark environment in minutes, and then autoscale and collaborate on shared projects in an interactive workspace. Azure Databricks supports Python, Scala, R, Java, and SQL, as well as data science frameworks and libraries including TensorFlow, PyTorch, and scikit-learn.

6.3 – Describe the benefits and usage of Azure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and Azure Bot Service

Review

Azure Machine Learning is a platform for making predictions. It consists of tools and services that allow you to connect to data to train and test models to find one that will most accurately predict a future result. After you’ve run experiments to test the model, you can deploy and use it in real time via a web API endpoint.

Azure Cognitive Services provides prebuilt machine learning models that enable applications to see, hear, speak, understand, and even begin to reason. Use Azure Cognitive Services to solve general problems, such as analyzing text for emotional sentiment or analyzing images to recognize objects or faces. You don’t need special machine learning or data science knowledge to use these services. Developers access Azure Cognitive Services via APIs and can easily include these features in just a few lines of code.

Azure Bot Service and Bot Framework are platforms for creating virtual agents that understand and reply to questions just like a human. Azure Bot Service is a bit different from Azure Machine Learning and Azure Cognitive Services in that it has a specific use case. Namely, it creates a virtual agent that can intelligently communicate with humans. Behind the scenes, the bot you build uses other Azure services, such as Azure Cognitive Services, to understand what their human counterparts are asking for.

Bots can be used to shift simple, repetitive tasks, such as taking a dinner reservation or gathering profile information, on to automated systems that might no longer require direct human intervention. Users converse with a bot by using text, interactive cards, and speech. A bot interaction can be a quick question and answer, or it can be a sophisticated conversation that intelligently provides access to services.

6.4 – Describe the benefits and usage of serverless computing solutions that include Azure Functions and Logic Apps

Review

With the Azure Functions service, you can host a single method or function by using a popular programming language in the cloud that runs in response to an event. An example of an event might be an HTTP request, a new message on a queue, or a message on a timer.

Azure Functions scales automatically, and charges accrue only when a function is triggered. These qualities make Azure Functions a solid choice when demand is variable. For example, you might be receiving messages from an IoT solution that monitors a fleet of delivery vehicles. You’ll likely have more data arriving during business hours. Azure Functions can scale out to accommodate these busier times.

An Azure function is a stateless environment. A function behaves as if it’s restarted every time it responds to an event. This feature is ideal for processing incoming data. And if state is required, the function can be connected to an Azure storage account.

Azure Functions can perform orchestration tasks by using an extension called Durable Functions, which allow developers to chain functions together while maintaining state.

Logic Apps is a low-code/no-code development platform hosted as a cloud service. The service helps you automate and orchestrate tasks, business processes, and workflows when you need to integrate apps, data, systems, and services across enterprises or organizations. Logic Apps simplifies how you design and build scalable solutions, whether in the cloud, on-premises, or both. This solution covers app integration, data integration, system integration, enterprise application integration (EAI), and business-to-business (B2B) integration.

Azure Logic Apps is designed in a web-based designer and can execute logic that’s triggered by Azure services without writing any code. You build an app by linking triggers to actions with connectors. A trigger is an event (such as a timer) that causes an app to execute, then a new message to be sent to a queue, or an HTTP request. An action is a task or step that can execute. There are logic actions such as those you would find in most programming languages. Examples of actions include working with variables, decision statements and loops, and tasks that parse and modify data.

To build enterprise integration solutions with Azure Logic Apps, you can choose from a growing gallery of over 200 connectors. The gallery includes services such as Salesforce, SAP, Oracle DB, and file shares.

6.5 – Describe the benefits and usage of Azure DevOps, GitHub, GitHub Actions, and Azure DevTest Labs

Review

Azure DevOps Services is a suite of services that address every stage of the software development lifecycle.

  • Azure Repos is a centralized source-code repository where software development, DevOps engineering, and documentation professionals can publish their code for review and collaboration.
  • Azure Boards is an agile project management suite that includes Kanban boards, reporting, and tracking ideas and work from high-level epics to work items and issues.
  • Azure Pipelines is a CI/CD pipeline automation tool.
  • Azure Artifacts is a repository for hosting artifacts, such as compiled source code, which can be fed into testing or deployment pipeline steps.
  • Azure Test Plans is an automated test tool that can be used in a CI/CD pipeline to ensure quality before a software release.

GitHub is arguably the world’s most popular code repository for open-source software. Git is a decentralized source-code management tool, and GitHub is a hosted version of Git that serves as the primary remote. GitHub builds on top of Git to provide related services for coordinating work, reporting and discussing issues, providing documentation, and more. It offers the following functionality:

  • It’s a shared source-code repository, including tools that enable developers to perform code reviews by adding comments and questions in a web view of the source code before it can be merged into the main code base.
  • It facilitates project management, including Kanban boards.
  • It supports issue reporting, discussion, and tracking.
  • It features CI/CD pipeline automation tooling.
  • It includes a wiki for collaborative documentation.
  • It can be run from the cloud or on-premises

GitHub Actions enables workflow automation with triggers for many lifecycle events. One such example would be automating a CI/CD toolchain.

A toolchain is a combination of software tools that aid in the delivery, development, and management of software applications throughout a system’s development lifecycle. The output of one tool in the toolchain is the input of the next tool in the toolchain. Typical tool functions range from performing automated dependency updates to building and configuring the software, delivering the build artifacts to various locations, testing, and so on.

Azure DevTest Labs provides an automated means of managing the process of building, setting up, and tearing down virtual machines (VMs) that contain builds of your software projects. This way, developers and testers can perform tests across a variety of environments and builds. And this capability isn’t limited to VMs. Anything you can deploy in Azure via an ARM template can be provisioned through DevTest Labs. Provisioning pre-created lab environments with their required configurations and tools already installed is a huge time saver for quality assurance professionals and developers.

Section 7: Describe Azure management tools

7.1 – Describe the functionality and usage of the Azure Portal, Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, Cloud Shell, and Azure Mobile App

Review

The Azure portal provides a friendly, graphical UI to view, create, and configure services.

The Azure mobile app provides iOS and Android access to your Azure resources when you’re away from your computer. With it, you can:

  • Monitor the health and status of your Azure resources.
  • Check for alerts, quickly diagnose and fix issues, and restart a web app or virtual machine (VM).
  • Run the Azure CLI or Azure PowerShell commands to manage your Azure resources.

Azure PowerShell is a shell with which developers and DevOps and IT professionals can execute commands called cmdlets (pronounced command-lets). These commands call the Azure Rest API to perform every possible management task in Azure.

The Azure CLI command-line interface is an executable program with which a developer, DevOps professional, or IT professional can execute commands in Bash. The commands call the Azure Rest API to perform every possible management task in Azure. You can run the commands independently or combined into a script and executed together for the routine setup, teardown, and maintenance of a single resource or an entire environment.

In many respects, the Azure CLI is almost identical to Azure PowerShell in what you can do with it. Both run on Windows, Linux, and Mac, and can be accessed in a web browser via Cloud Shell. The primary difference is the syntax you use. If you’re already proficient in PowerShell or Bash, you can use the tool you prefer.

7.2 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Advisor

Review

Azure Advisor evaluates your Azure resources and makes recommendations to help improve reliability, security, and performance, achieve operational excellence, and reduce costs.

The recommendations are available via the Azure portal and the API, and you can set up notifications to alert you to new recommendations.

When you’re in the Azure portal, the Advisor dashboard displays personalized recommendations for all your subscriptions, and you can use filters to select recommendations for specific subscriptions, resource groups, or services.

The recommendations are divided into five categories:

  • Reliability: Used to ensure and improve the continuity of your business-critical applications.
  • Security: Used to detect threats and vulnerabilities that might lead to security breaches.
  • Performance: Used to improve the speed of your applications.
  • Cost: Used to optimize and reduce your overall Azure spending.
  • Operational Excellence: Used to help you achieve process and workflow efficiency, resource manageability, and deployment best practices.

7.3 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates

Review

Although it’s possible to write imperative code in Azure PowerShell or the Azure CLI to set up and tear down one Azure resource or orchestrate an infrastructure comprising hundreds of resources, there’s a better way to implement this functionality.

By using Azure Resource Manager templates (ARM templates), you can describe the resources you want to use in a declarative JSON format. The benefit is that the entire ARM template is verified before any code is executed to ensure that the resources will be created and connected correctly. The template then orchestrates the creation of those resources in parallel.

7.4 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Monitor

Review

Azure Monitor is a platform for collecting, analyzing, visualizing, and potentially taking action based on the metric and logging data from your entire Azure and on-premises environment.

The following diagram illustrates just how comprehensive Azure Monitor is.

On the left is a list of the sources of logging and metric data that can be collected at every layer in your application architecture, from application to operating system and network.

In the center, you can see how the logging and metric data is stored in central repositories.

On the right, the data is used in a number of ways. You can view real-time and historical performance across each layer of your architecture, or aggregated and detailed information. The data is displayed at different levels for different audiences. You can view high-level reports on the Azure Monitor Dashboard or create custom views by using Power BI and Kusto queries.

Additionally, you can use the data to help you react to critical events in real time, through alerts delivered to teams via SMS, email, and so on. Or you can use thresholds to trigger autoscaling functionality to scale up or down to meet the demand.

Some popular products such as Azure Application Insights, a service for sending telemetry information from application source code to Azure, uses Azure Monitor under the hood. With Application Insights, your application developers can take advantage of the powerful data-analysis platform in Azure Monitor to gain deep insights into an application’s operations and diagnose errors without having to wait for users to report them.

7.5 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Service Health

Review

Azure Service Health provides a personalized view of the health of the Azure services, regions, and resources you rely on. The status.azure.com website, which displays only major issues that broadly affect Azure customers, doesn’t provide the full picture. But Azure Service Health displays both major and smaller, localized issues that affect you. Service issues are rare, but it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. You can set up alerts that help you triage outages and planned maintenance. After an outage, Service Health provides official incident reports, called root cause analyses (RCAs), which you can share with stakeholders.

Service Health helps you keep an eye on several event types:

Service issues are problems in Azure, such as outages, that affect you right now. You can drill down to the affected services, regions, updates from your engineering teams, and find ways to share and track the latest information.

Planned maintenance events can affect your availability. You can drill down to the affected services, regions, and details to show how an event will affect you and what you need to do. Most of these events occur without any impact to you and aren’t shown here. In the rare case that a reboot is required, Service Health allows you to choose when to perform the maintenance to minimize the downtime.

Health advisories are issues that require you to act to avoid service interruption, including service retirements and breaking changes. Health advisories are announced far in advance to allow you to plan.

Section 8: Describe Azure security features

8.1 – Describe basic features of Azure Security Center, including policy compliance, security alerts, secure score, and resource hygiene

Review

Azure Security Center is a monitoring service that provides visibility of your security posture across all of your services, both on Azure and on-premises. The term security posture refers to cybersecurity policies and controls, as well as how well you can predict, prevent, and respond to security threats.

Security Center can:

  • Monitor security settings across on-premises and cloud workloads.
  • Automatically apply required security settings to new resources as they come online.
  • Provide security recommendations that are based on your current configurations, resources, and networks.
  • Continuously monitor your resources and perform automatic security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities before those vulnerabilities can be exploited.
  • Use machine learning to detect and block malware from being installed on your virtual machines (VMs) and other resources. You can also use adaptive application controls to define rules that list allowed applications to ensure that only applications you allow can run.
  • Detect and analyze potential inbound attacks and investigate threats and any post-breach activity that might have occurred.
  • Provide just-in-time access control for network ports. Doing so reduces your attack surface by ensuring that the network only allows traffic that you require at the time that you need it to.

Secure score is a measurement of an organization’s security posture.

Secure score is based on security controls, or groups of related security recommendations. Your score is based on the percentage of security controls that you satisfy. The more security controls you satisfy, the higher the score you receive. Your score improves when you remediate all of the recommendations for a single resource within a control.

Following the secure score recommendations can help protect your organization from threats. From a centralized dashboard in Azure Security Center, organizations can monitor and work on the security of their Azure resources like identities, data, apps, devices, and infrastructure.

Secure score helps you:

  • Report on the current state of your organization’s security posture.
  • Improve your security posture by providing discoverability, visibility, guidance, and control.
  • Compare with benchmarks and establish key performance indicators (KPIs).

8.2 – Describe the functionality and usage of Key Vault

Review

Azure Key Vault is a centralized cloud service for storing an application’s secrets in a single, central location. It provides secure access to sensitive information by providing access control and logging capabilities.

Azure Key Vault can help you:

  • Manage secrets:You can use Key Vault to securely store and tightly control access to tokens, passwords, certificates, API keys, and other secrets.
  • Manage encryption keys:You can use Key Vault as a key management solution. Key Vault makes it easier to create and control the encryption keys that are used to encrypt your data.
  • Manage SSL/TLS certificates:Key Vault enables you to provision, manage, and deploy your public and private Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificates for both your Azure resources and your internal resources.
  • Store secrets backed by hardware security modules (HSMs):
    These secrets and keys can be protected either by software or by FIPS 140-2 Level 2 validated HSMs.

8.3 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Sentinel

Review

Security management on a large scale can benefit from a dedicated security information and event management (SIEM) system. A SIEM system aggregates security data from many different sources (as long as those sources support an open-standard logging format). It also provides capabilities for threat detection and response.

Azure Sentinel is Microsoft’s cloud-based SIEM system. It uses intelligent security analytics and threat analysis.

Azure Sentinel enables you to:

  • Collect cloud data at scale: Collect data across all users, devices, applications, and infrastructure, both on-premises and from multiple clouds.
  • Detect previously undetected threats:Minimize false positives by using Microsoft’s comprehensive analytics and threat intelligence.
  • Investigate threats with artificial intelligence:Examine suspicious activities at scale, tapping into years of cybersecurity experience from Microsoft.
  • Respond to incidents rapidly:Use built-in orchestration and automation of common tasks.

8.4 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Dedicated Hosts

Review

On Azure, virtual machines (VMs) run on shared hardware that Microsoft manages. Although the underlying hardware is shared, your VM workloads are isolated from workloads that other Azure customers run.

Some organizations must follow regulatory compliance that requires them to be the only customer using the physical machine that hosts their virtual machines. Azure Dedicated Host provides dedicated physical servers to host your Azure VMs for Windows and Linux.

Here’s a diagram that shows how VMs relate to dedicated hosts and host groups. A dedicated host is mapped to a physical server in an Azure datacenter. A host group is a collection of dedicated hosts.

Azure Dedicated Host:

  • Gives you visibility into, and control over, the server infrastructure that’s running your Azure VMs.
  • Helps address compliance requirements by deploying your workloads on an isolated server.
  • Lets you choose the number of processors, server capabilities, VM series, and VM sizes within the same host.

Section 9: Describe Azure network security

9.1 – Describe the concept of defense in depth

Review

The objective of defense in depth is to protect information and prevent it from being stolen by those who aren’t authorized to access it.

A defense-in-depth strategy uses a series of mechanisms to slow the advance of an attack that aims at acquiring unauthorized access to data.

You can visualize defense in depth as a set of layers, with the data to be secured at the center.

Each layer provides protection so that if one layer is breached, a subsequent layer is already in place to prevent further exposure. This approach removes reliance on any single layer of protection. It slows down an attack and provides alert telemetry that security teams can act upon, either automatically or manually.

Here’s a brief overview of the role of each layer:

  • The physical security layer is the first line of defense to protect computing hardware in the datacenter.
  • The identity and access layer controls access to infrastructure and change control.
  • The perimeter layer uses distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection to filter large-scale attacks before they can cause a denial of service for users.
  • The network layer limits communication between resources through segmentation and access controls.
  • The compute layer secures access to virtual machines.
  • The application layer helps ensure that applications are secure and free of security vulnerabilities.
  • The data layer controls access to business and customer data that you need to protect.

These layers provide a guideline for you to help make security configuration decisions in all of the layers of your applications.

9.2 – Describe the functionality and usage of Network Security Groups (NSG)

Review

A network security group enables you to filter network traffic to and from Azure resources within an Azure virtual network. You can think of NSGs like an internal firewall. An NSG can contain multiple inbound and outbound security rules that enable you to filter traffic to and from resources by source and destination IP address, port, and protocol.

When you create a network security group, Azure creates a series of default rules to provide a baseline level of security. You can’t remove the default rules, but you can override them by creating new rules with higher priorities.

9.3 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Firewall

Review

Azure Firewall is a managed, cloud-based network security service that helps protect resources in your Azure virtual networks. A virtual network is similar to a traditional network that you’d operate in your own datacenter. It’s a fundamental building block for your private network that enables virtual machines and other compute resources to securely communicate with each other, the internet, and on-premises networks.

Azure Firewall is a stateful firewall. A stateful firewall analyzes the complete context of a network connection, not just an individual packet of network traffic. Azure Firewall features high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability.

Azure Firewall provides a central location to create, enforce, and log application and network connectivity policies across subscriptions and virtual networks. Azure Firewall uses a static (unchanging) public IP address for your virtual network resources, which enables outside firewalls to identify traffic coming from your virtual network. The service is integrated with Azure Monitor to enable logging and analytics.

Azure Firewall provides many features, including:

  • Built-in high availability.
  • Unrestricted cloud scalability.
  • Inbound and outbound filtering rules.
  • Inbound Destination Network Address Translation (DNAT) support.
  • Azure Monitor logging.

You typically deploy Azure Firewall on a central virtual network to control general network access.

9.4 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure DDoS protection

Review

Azure DDoS Protection helps protect your Azure resources from DDoS attacks.

When you combine DDoS Protection with recommended application design practices, you help provide a defense against DDoS attacks. DDoS Protection uses the scale and elasticity of Microsoft’s global network to bring DDoS mitigation capacity to every Azure region. The DDoS Protection service helps protect your Azure applications by analysing and discarding DDoS traffic at the Azure network edge, before it can affect your service’s availability.

DDoS Protection identifies the attacker’s attempt to overwhelm the network and blocks further traffic from them, ensuring that traffic never reaches Azure resources. Legitimate traffic from customers still flows into Azure without any interruption of service.

DDoS Protection can also help you manage your cloud consumption. When you run on-premises, you have a fixed number of compute resources. But in the cloud, elastic computing means that you can automatically scale out your deployment to meet demand. A cleverly designed DDoS attack can cause you to increase your resource allocation, which incurs unneeded expense. DDoS Protection Standard helps ensure that the network load you process reflects customer usage. You can also receive credit for any costs accrued for scaled-out resources during a DDoS attack.

Section 10: Describe Azure identity services

10.1 – Explain the difference between authentication and authorization

Review

Two fundamental concepts that you need to understand when talking about identity and access are authentication (AuthN) and authorization (AuthZ).

Authentication and authorization both support everything else that happens. They occur sequentially in the identity and access process.

Let’s take a brief look at each.

Authentication is the process of establishing the identity of a person or service that wants to access a resource. It involves the act of challenging a party for legitimate credentials and provides the basis for creating a security principal for identity and access control. It establishes whether the user is who they say they are.

Authentication establishes the user’s identity, but authorization is the process of establishing what level of access an authenticated person or service has. It specifies what data they’re allowed to access and what they can do with it.

10.2 – Define Azure Active Directory

Review

Microsoft introduced Active Directory in Windows 2000 to give organizations the ability to manage multiple on-premises infrastructure components and systems by using a single identity per user.

For on-premises environments, Active Directory running on Windows Server provides an identity and access management service that’s managed by your own organization. Azure AD is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management service. With Azure AD, you control the identity accounts, but Microsoft ensures that the service is available globally. If you’ve worked with Active Directory, Azure AD will be familiar to you.

When you secure identities on-premises with Active Directory, Microsoft doesn’t monitor sign-in attempts. When you connect Active Directory with Azure AD, Microsoft can help protect you by detecting suspicious sign-in attempts at no extra cost. For example, Azure AD can detect sign-in attempts from unexpected locations or unknown devices.

Azure AD provides services such as:

  • Authentication: This includes verifying identity to access applications and resources. It also includes providing functionality such as self-service password reset, multifactor authentication, a custom list of banned passwords, and smart lockout services.
  • Single sign-on: enables you to remember only one username and one password to access multiple applications. A single identity is tied to a user, which simplifies the security model. As users change roles or leave an organization, access modifications are tied to that identity, which greatly reduces the effort needed to change or disable accounts.
  • Application management: You can manage your cloud and on-premises apps by using Azure AD. Features like Application Proxy, SaaS apps, the My Apps portal (also called the access panel), and single-sign on provide a better user experience.
  • Device management: Along with accounts for individual people, Azure AD supports the registration of devices. Registration enables devices to be managed through tools like Microsoft Intune. It also allows for device-based conditional access policies to restrict access attempts to only those coming from known devices, regardless of the requesting user account.

10.3 – Describe the functionality of Conditional Access, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and Single Sign-On (SSO)

Review

Single sign-on enables a user to sign in one time and use that credential to access multiple resources and applications from different providers.

More identities mean more passwords to remember and change. Password policies can vary among applications. As complexity requirements increase, it becomes increasingly difficult for users to remember them. The more passwords a user has to manage, the greater the risk of a credential-related security incident.

With SSO, you need to remember only one ID and one password. Access across applications is granted to a single identity that’s tied to the user, which simplifies the security model. As users change roles or leave an organization, access is tied to a single identity. This change greatly reduces the effort needed to change or disable accounts. Using SSO for accounts makes it easier for users to manage their identities and increases your security capabilities.

Multifactor authentication is a process where a user is prompted during the sign-in process for an additional form of identification. Examples include a code on their mobile phone or a fingerprint scan.

Multifactor authentication provides additional security for your identities by requiring two or more elements to fully authenticate.

These elements fall into three categories:

  • Something the user knows:This might be an email address and password.
  • Something the user has:This might be a code that’s sent to the user’s mobile phone.
  • Something the user is:This is typically some sort of biometric property, such as a fingerprint or face scan that’s used on many mobile devices.

Multifactor authentication increases identity security by limiting the impact of credential exposure (for example, stolen usernames and passwords). With multifactor authentication enabled, an attacker who has a user’s password would also need to have possession of their phone or their fingerprint to fully authenticate.

Compare multifactor authentication with single-factor authentication. Under single-factor authentication, an attacker would need only a username and password to authenticate. Multifactor authentication should be enabled wherever possible because it adds enormous benefits to security.

Conditional Access is a tool that Azure Active Directory uses to allow (or deny) access to resources based on identity signals. These signals include who the user is, where the user is, and what device the user is requesting access from.

Conditional Access also provides a more granular multifactor authentication experience for users. For example, a user might not be challenged for second authentication factor if they’re at a known location. However, they might be challenged for a second authentication factor if their sign-in signals are unusual or they’re at an unexpected location.

Section 11: Describe Azure governance features

11.1 – Describe the functionality and usage of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Review

Access management for cloud resources is a critical function for any organization that is using the cloud. Azure role-based access control (Azure RBAC) helps you manage who has access to Azure resources, what they can do with those resources, and what areas they have access to.

Azure RBAC is an authorization system built on Azure Resource Manager that provides fine-grained access management of Azure resources.

Here are some examples of what you can do with Azure RBAC:

  • Allow one user to manage virtual machines in a subscription and another user to manage virtual networks
  • Allow a DBA group to manage SQL databases in a subscription
  • Allow a user to manage all resources in a resource group, such as virtual machines, websites, and subnets
  • Allow an application to access all resources in a resource group

Role-based access control is applied to a scope, which is a resource or set of resources that this access applies to.

Here’s a diagram that shows the relationship between roles and scopes.

Azure RBAC is enforced on any action that’s initiated against an Azure resource that passes through Azure Resource Manager.

RBAC uses an allow model. When you’re assigned a role, RBAC allows you to perform certain actions, such as read, write, or delete. If one role assignment grants you read permissions to a resource group and a different role assignment grants you write permissions to the same resource group, you have both read and write permissions on that resource group.

11.2 – Describe the functionality and usage of tags

Review

As your cloud usage grows, it’s increasingly important to stay organized. A good organization strategy helps you understand your cloud usage and can help you manage costs.

One way to organize related resources is to place them in their own subscriptions. You can also use resource groups to manage related resources. Resource tags are another way to organize resources. Tags provide extra information, or metadata, about your resources. This metadata is useful for:

  • Resource management: Tags enable you to locate and act on resources that are associated with specific workloads, environments, business units, and owners.
  • Cost management and optimization: Tags enable you to group resources so that you can report on costs, allocate internal cost centers, track budgets, and forecast estimated cost.
  • Operations management: Tags enable you to group resources according to how critical their availability is to your business. This grouping helps you formulate service-level agreements (SLAs). An SLA is an uptime or performance guarantee between you and your users.
  • Security: Tags enable you to classify data by its security level, such as public or confidential.
  • Governance and regulatory compliance:Tags enable you to identify resources that align with governance or regulatory compliance requirements, such as ISO 27001.
    Tags can also be part of your standards enforcement efforts. For example, you might require that all resources be tagged with an owner or department name.
  • Workload optimization and automation: Tags can help you visualize all of the resources that participate in complex deployments. For example, you might tag a resource with its associated workload or application name and use software such as Azure DevOps to perform automated tasks on those resources.

11.3 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Policy

Review

Azure Policy is a service in Azure that enables you to create, assign, and manage policies that control or audit your resources. These policies enforce different rules and effects over your resource configurations so that those configurations stay compliant with corporate standards.

Azure Policy enables you to define both individual policies and groups of related policies, known as initiatives. Azure Policy evaluates your resources and highlights resources that aren’t compliant with the policies you’ve created. Azure Policy can also prevent noncompliant resources from being created.

Azure Policy comes with a number of built-in policy and initiative definitions that you can use, under categories such as Storage, Networking, Compute, Security Center, and Monitoring.

For example, say you define a policy that allows only a certain stock-keeping unit (SKU) size of virtual machines (VMs) to be used in your environment. After you enable this policy, that policy is applied when you create new VMs or resize existing VMs. Azure Policy also evaluates any current VMs in your environment.

11.4 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Blueprints

Review

When your cloud environment starts to grow beyond a single subscription, instead of having to configure features like Azure Policy for each, Azure Blueprints allows you to define a repeatable set of governance tools and standard Azure resources that your organization requires.

In this way, development teams can rapidly build and deploy new environments with the knowledge that they’re building within organizational compliance with a set of built-in components that speed the development and deployment phases.

Azure Blueprints orchestrates the deployment of various resource templates and other artifacts, such as:

  • Role assignments
  • Policy assignments
  • Azure Resource Manager templates
  • Resource groups

11.5 – Describe the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

Review

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is proven guidance that’s designed to help you create and implement the business and technology strategies necessary for your organization to succeed in the cloud. It provides best practices, documentation, and tools that cloud architects, IT professionals, and business decision makers need to successfully achieve short-term and long-term objectives.

By using the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure best practices, organizations can better align their business and technical strategies to ensure success.

Section 12: Describe privacy and compliance resources

12.1 – Describe the Microsoft core tenets of Security, Privacy, and Compliance

Review

Microsoft’s online services build upon a common set of regulatory and compliance controls. Think of a control as a known good standard that you can compare your solution against to ensure security. These controls address today’s regulations and adapt as regulations evolve.

Although there are many more, the following image shows some of the more popular compliance offerings that are available on Azure. These offerings are grouped under four categories: Global, US Government, Industry, and Regional.

While not all of these compliance offerings will be relevant to you or your team, they show that Microsoft’s commitment to compliance is comprehensive, ongoing, and independently tested and verified.

12.2 – Describe the purpose of the Microsoft Privacy Statement, Product Terms site, and Data Protection Addendum (DPA)

Review

The Microsoft Privacy Statement explains what personal data Microsoft collects, how Microsoft uses it, and for what purposes.

The privacy statement covers all of Microsoft’s services, websites, apps, software, servers, and devices. This list ranges from enterprise and server products to devices that you use in your home to software that students use at school.

The Online Services Terms (OST) is a legal agreement between Microsoft and the customer. The OST details the obligations by both parties with respect to the processing and security of customer data and personal data. The OST applies specifically to Microsoft’s online services that you license through a subscription, including Azure, Dynamics 365, Office 365, and Bing Maps.

The Data Protection Addendum (DPA) further defines the data processing and security terms for online services. These terms include:

  • Compliance with laws.
  • Disclosure of processed data.
  • Data Security, which includes security practices and policies, data encryption, data access, customer responsibilities, and compliance with auditing.
  • Data transfer, retention, and deletion.

12.3 – Describe the purpose of the Trust Center

Review

The Trust Center showcases Microsoft’s principles for maintaining data integrity in the cloud and how Microsoft implements and supports security, privacy, compliance, and transparency in all Microsoft cloud products and services. The Trust Center is an important part of the Microsoft Trusted Cloud Initiative and provides support and resources for the legal and compliance community.

The Trust Center provides:

  • In-depth information about security, privacy, compliance offerings, policies, features, and practices across Microsoft cloud products.
  • Additional resources for each topic.
  • Links to the security, privacy, and compliance blogs and upcoming events.

The Trust Center is a great resource for other people in your organization who might play a role in security, privacy, and compliance. These people include business managers, risk assessment and privacy officers, and legal compliance teams.

12.4 – Describe the purpose of the Azure compliance documentation

Review

The Azure compliance documentation provides you with detailed documentation about legal and regulatory standards and compliance on Azure.

Here you find compliance offerings across these categories:

  • Global
  • US government
  • Financial services
  • Health
  • Media and manufacturing
  • Regional

There are also additional compliance resources, such as audit reports, privacy information, compliance implementations and mappings, and white papers and analyst reports. Country and region privacy and compliance guidelines are also included. Some resources might require you to be signed in to your cloud service to access them.

12.5 – Describe the purpose of Azure Sovereign Regions (Azure Government cloud services and Azure China cloud services)

Review

Azure Government is a separate instance of the Microsoft Azure service. It addresses the security and compliance needs of US federal agencies, state and local governments, and their solution providers. Azure Government offers physical isolation from non-US government deployments and provides screened US personnel.

Azure China 21Vianet is operated by 21Vianet. It’s a physically separated instance of cloud services located in China. Azure China 21Vianet is independently operated and transacted by Shanghai Blue Cloud Technology Co., Ltd. (“21Vianet”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing 21Vianet Broadband Data Center Co., Ltd.

Section 13: Describe methods for planning and managing costs

13.1 – Identify factors that can affect costs (resource types, services, locations, ingress and egress traffic)

Review

The way you use resources, your subscription type, and pricing from third-party vendors are common factors. Let’s take a quick look at each.

  • Resource type: A number of factors influence the cost of Azure resources. They depend on the type of resource or how you customize it.

    For example, with a storage account you specify a type (such as block blob storage or table storage), a performance tier (standard or premium), and an access tier (hot, cool, or archive). These selections present different costs.

  • Usage meters:When you provision a resource, Azure creates meters to track usage of that resource. Azure uses these meters to generate a usage record that’s later used to help calculate your bill.

    Think of usage meters similar to how you use electricity or water in your home. You might pay a base price each month for electricity or water service, but your final bill is based on the total amount that you consumed.

    Each meter tracks a specific type of usage. For example, a meter might track bandwidth usage (ingress or egress network traffic in bits per second), number of operations, or its size (storage capacity in bytes).

    The usage that a meter tracks correlates to a quantity of billable units. Those units are charged to your account for each billing period. The rate per billable unit depends on the resource type you’re using.

  • Resource usage: In Azure, you’re always charged based on what you use. As an example, let’s look at how this billing applies to deallocating a VM.

    In Azure, you can delete or deallocate a VM. Deleting a VM means that you no longer need it. The VM is removed from your subscription, and then it’s prepared for another customer.

    Deallocating a VM means that the VM is no longer running. But the associated hard disks and data are still kept in Azure. Because the disks and data are still stored, and the resource is present in your Azure subscription, you’re still billed for disk storage.

  • Azure subscription types: Some Azure subscription types also include usage allowances, which affect costs.

    For example, an Azure free trial subscription provides access to a number of Azure products that are free for 12 months. It also includes credit to spend within your first 30 days of sign-up. And you get access to more than 25 products that are always free

13.2 – Identify factors that can reduce costs (reserved instances, reserved capacity, hybrid use benefit, spot pricing)

Review

Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instance is an advance purchase of a Virtual Machine for one or three years in a specified region. The commitment is made up front, and in return, you get up to 72 per cent price savings compared to pay-as-you-go pricing. Reserved Virtual Machine Instances are flexible and can easily be exchanged or returned.

Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you to significantly reduce the costs of running your workloads in the cloud by letting you use your on-premises Software Assurance-enabled Windows Server, SQL Server, RedHat and SUSE licences on Azure.

Spot pricing allows you to purchase unused compute capacity at deep discounts – up to 90 per cent compared to pay-as-you-go prices.

If your workload can tolerate interruptions, and its execution time is flexible, then using spot VMs can significantly reduce the cost of running your workload in Azure. Run your workloads on Virtual Machines or Virtual Machine Scale Sets.

13.3 – Describe the functionality and usage of the Pricing calculator and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator

Review

The TCO Calculator helps you estimate the cost savings of operating your solution on Azure over time, instead of in your on-premises datacenter.

The term total cost of ownership is commonly used in finance. It can be hard to see all the hidden costs related to operating a technology capability on-premises. Software licenses and hardware are additional costs.

With the TCO Calculator, you enter the details of your on-premises workloads. Then you review the suggested industry average cost (which you can adjust) for related operational costs. These costs include electricity, network maintenance, and IT labor. You’re then presented with a side-by-side report. Using the report, you can compare those costs with the same workloads running on Azure.

The following image shows one example.

The Pricing calculator displays Azure products in categories. You add these categories to your estimate and configure according to your specific requirements. You then receive a consolidated estimated price, with a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with each resource you added to your solution. You can export or share that estimate or save it for later. You can load a saved estimate and modify it to match updated requirements.

13.4 – Describe the functionality and usage of Azure Cost Management

Review

Azure Cost Management + Billing is a suite of tools provided by Microsoft that help you analyse, manage, and optimise the costs of your workloads. Using the suite helps ensure that your organisation is taking advantage of the benefits provided by the cloud.

The ways that Cost Management help you plan for and control your costs include: Cost analysis, budgets, recommendations, and exporting cost management data.

  • You use cost analysis to explore and analyse your organizational costs. You can view aggregated costs by organization to understand where costs are accrued and to identify spending trends. And you can see accumulated costs over time to estimate monthly, quarterly, or even yearly cost trends against a budget.
  • Budgets help you plan for and meet financial accountability in your organization. They help prevent cost thresholds or limits from being surpassed. Budgets can also help you inform others about their spending to proactively manage costs. And with them, you can see how spending progresses over time.
  • Recommendations show how you can optimize and improve efficiency by identifying idle and underutilized resources. Or, they can show less expensive resource options. When you act on the recommendations, you change the way you use your resources to save money.

Section 14: Describe Azure Service Level Agreements (SLA) and service lifecycles

14.1 – Describe the purpose of an Azure Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Review

a service-level agreement (SLA) is a formal agreement between a service company and the customer. For Azure, this agreement defines the performance standards that Microsoft commits to for you, the customer.

When you build applications on Azure, the availability of the services that you use affect your application’s performance. Understanding the SLAs involved can help you establish the SLA you set with your customers.

A typical SLA breaks down into these sections:

  • Introduction:This section explains what to expect in the SLA, including its scope and how subscription renewals can affect the terms.
  • General terms:This section contains terms that are used throughout the SLA so that both parties (you and Microsoft) have a consistent vocabulary. For example, this section might define what’s meant by downtime, incidents, and error codes.

    This section also defines the general terms of the agreement, including how to submit a claim, receive credit for any performance or availability issues, and limitations of the agreement.

  • SLA details:This section defines the specific guarantees for the service. Performance commitments are commonly measured as a percentage. That percentage typically ranges from 99.9 percent (“three nines”) to 99.99 percent (“four nines”).

    The primary performance commitment typically focuses on uptime, or the percentage of time that a product or service is successfully operational. Some SLAs focus on other factors as well, including latency, or how fast the service must respond to a request.

14.2 – Describe the service lifecycle in Azure (Public Preview and General Availability)

Review

Microsoft rolls out previews in phases to give Microsoft and customers the opportunity to evaluate and understand the new feature before it becomes part of the standard service.

The phases are as follows:

  • Private previewDuring this phase we invite a few customers to take part in early access to new concepts and features. This phase does not include formal support.
  • Public previewDuring this phase we allow any customer with the proper license to evaluate the new feature. Microsoft Customer Support Services will supply support services during this phase, but normal service level agreements do not apply.
  • Generally available (GA)After the public preview is completed, the feature is open for any licensed customer to use and is supported via all Microsoft support channels.