Spec_Arch_AzureSol_logo_BWIt’s been about 2 years since the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exam was first release. Over that time there’s been a couple updates to keep it relevant with the ever changing landscape of the Microsoft Azure platform. The previous update was released in March 2016, which is a very long time when it comes to the cloud. The good news is that another update is on it’s way, and this time it will be including a full update of adding Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to the exam, in addition to many other new features and services. This update looks to be bringing the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now.

Retired Exam: This exam is being retired December 31, 2017, and is being replaced by Exam 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions. The exam content will be similar but different enough that Microsoft is giving it a new number to differentiate it more clearly.

Exam Update Release Date

This latest update / refresh to the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exam includes many changes to make it more relevant to the current state of the Microsoft Azure platform. This includes adding many more features and services to the list of objectives that are tested on the exam; including greater coverage of Azure Resource Manager (ARM).

This update will be released on November 22, 2016. On this date, the exam will be republished to reflect the changes in exam objectives.

The 70-534 Architecture exam update will be published November 22, 2016.

If you take the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam prior to November 22, 2016, then you should expect the “old” exam objectives to be the ones you will be tested on. If you take the exam on or after November 22, 2016 then you will see questions testing the new list of exam objectives. The new exam objectives are listed in full below.

As is usual with Microsoft exam updates like this, Microsoft doesn’t really make a big announcement of the pending exam updates. Instead, they do call out the pending update with a link to the new objectives along with the targeted release / update date. This posting is the source for the information within this article, and can be found on the official page for the 70-534 exam.

New Exam Objectives

If you’re planning on taking the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam on or after November 22, 2016 then you’ll want to be sure to study these new exam objectives. This will ensure you are studying the right material to pass the new version of the exam that will be given to you.

Here’s the full list of of exam objectives for this November 22, 2016 exam update:

Design Azure Resource Manager (ARM) networking (5 – 10%)

  • Design Azure virtual networks – Leverage Azure networking services: implement load balancing using Azure Load Balancer and Azure Traffic Manager; define DNS, DHCP, and IP addressing configuration; define static IP reservations; apply Network Security Groups (NSGs) and User Defined Routes (UDRs); deploy Azure Application Gateway
  • Describe Azure VPN and ExpressRoute architecture and design – Describe Azure P2S and S2S VPN; leverage Azure VPN and ExpressRoute in network architecture

Secure resources (20 – 25%)

  • Secure resources by using managed identities – Describe the differences between Active Directory on-premises and Azure Active Directory (AAD); programmatically access AAD using Graph API; secure access to resources from AAD applications using OAuth and OpenID Connect
  • Secure resources by using hybrid identities – Use SAML claims to authenticate to on-premises resources; describe AD Connect synchronization; implement federated identities using Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)
  • Secure resources by using identity providers – Provide access to resources using identity providers such as Microsoft account, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo; manage identity and access by using AAD B2C; implement AAD B2B
  • Identify an appropriate data security solution – Identify security requirements for data in transit and data at rest; implement data security requirements using Azure services, including Azure Storage encryption, Azure Disk Encryption, and Azure SQL Database TDE
  • Design a role-based access control (RBAC) strategy – Secure resource scopes such as the ability to create VMs and Azure Web Apps; implement Azure RBAC standard roles; design Azure RBAC custom roles
  • Manage security risks by using an appropriate security solution – Identify, assess, and mitigate security risks by using Azure Security Center, Operations Management Suite, and other services

Design an application storage and data access strategy (5 – 10%)

  • Design data storage – Design storage options for data including Table Storage, SQL Database, DocumentDB, Blob Storage, MongoDB, and MySQL; design security options for SQL Database or Azure Storage
  • Select the appropriate storage option – Select the appropriate storage for performance; identify storage options for cloud services and hybrid scenarios with compute on-premises and storage on Azure

Design advanced applications (20 – 25%)

  • Create compute-intensive applications – Design high-performance computing (HPC) and other compute-intensive applications using Azure Services
  • Create long-running applications – Implement Azure Batch for scalable processing; design stateless components to accommodate scale; use Azure Scheduler
  • Integrate Azure services in a solution – Design Azure architecture using Azure services such as Azure Active Directory (AAD), Azure AppService, API Management, Azure Cache, Azure Search, Service Bus, Event Hubs, Stream Analytics, and IoT Hub; identify the appropriate use of services such as Azure Machine Learning, Big Data, Azure Media Services, and Azure Search services
  • Implement messaging applications – Use a queue-centric pattern for development; select appropriate technology such as Azure Storage Queues, Azure Service Bus queues, topics, subscriptions, and Azure Event Hubs
  • Implement applications for background processing – Implement Azure Batch for compute-intensive tasks; use Azure Web Jobs to implement background tasks; use Azure Functions to implement event-driven actions; leverage Azure Scheduler to run processes at preset/recurring timeslots
  • Design connectivity for hybrid applications – Connect to on-premises data from Azure applications using Service Bus Relay, Hybrid Connections, or Azure Web App’s virtual private network (VPN) capability; identify constraints for connectivity with VPN; identify options for joining VMs to domains or cloud services

Design Azure Web and Mobile Apps (5 – 10%)

  • Design web applications – Design Azure App Service Web Apps; design custom web API; offload long-running applications using WebJobs; secure Web API using AAD; design Web Apps for scalability and performance; deploy Azure Web Apps to multiple regions for high availability; deploy Web Apps; create App service plans; design Web Apps for business continuity; configure data replication patterns; update Azure Web Apps with minimal downtime; back up and restore data; design for disaster recovery
  • Design Mobile Applications – Design Azure Mobile Services; consume Mobile Apps from cross-platform clients; integrate offline sync capabilities into an application; extend Mobile Apps using custom code; implement Mobile Apps using Microsoft .NET or Node.js; secure Mobile Apps using AAD; implement push notification services in Mobile Apps; send push notifications to all subscribers, specific subscribers, or a segment of subscribers

Design a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy (20 – 25%)

  • Design a monitoring strategy – Identify the Microsoft products and services for monitoring Azure solutions; leverage the capabilities of Azure Operations Management Suite and Azure Application Insights for monitoring Azure solutions; leverage built-in Azure capabilities; identify third-party monitoring tools including open source; describe the Azure architecture constructs such as availability sets and update domains and how they impact a patching strategy; analyze logs by using the Azure Operations Management Suite
  • Describe business continuity/disaster recover (BC/DR) by using Azure – Leverage the architectural capabilities of BC/DR; describe Hyper-V Replica and Azure Site Recovery (ASR); describe use cases for Hyper-V Replica and ASR
  • Design a disaster recovery strategy – Design and deploy Azure Backup and other Microsoft backup solutions for Azure; leverage use cases when StorSimple and System Center Data Protection Manager would be appropriate; design and deploy Azure Site recovery
  • Design Azure Automation and PowerShell workflows – Create a PowerShell script specific to Azure; automate tasks by using the Azure Operations Management Suite
  • Describe the use cases for Azure Automation configuration – Evaluate when to use Azure Automation, Chef, Puppet, PowerShell, or Desired State Configuration (DSC)

Architect an Azure comput infrastructure (10 – 15%)

  • Design ARM virtual machines (VMs) – Design VM deployments leveraging availability sets, fault domains, and update domains in Azure; select appropriate VM SKUs
  • Design ARM template deployment – Author ARM templates; deploy ARM templates via the portal, PowerShell, and CL
  • Design for availability – Implement regional availability and high availability for Azure deployments

It’s worth noting that the percentages (%) displayed in the titles of the main exam objectives are the percentages of the exam questions that will be on that topic area.

Study Resources

Some of the study resources I listed out in my original article on the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam are still relevant, but many are now a little outdated. This is due to the shift of the exam to cover Azure Resource Manager (ARM) now, instead of the older Azure Service Manager (ASM) that it covered originally.

The best study resources are going to be the official Microsoft Azure documentation. The documentation is open source and community contributed, but may still be a little difficult to navigate when attempting to study just the exam objectives.

Here are some links to some video resources that have updated, relevant content to cover this new list of exam objectives:

  • Azure Fridays – New videos on Azure topics and services each week from Scott Hanselman and others at Microsoft.
  • Channel 9 – This is an official Microsoft site with MANY videos on a wide range of topics surrounding Microsoft Azure and other Microsoft technologies.
  • Pluralsight – They have video, on-demand training courses on pretty much all technologies; some of their courses cover Microsoft Azure.

For additional resource links that may help you study and prepare, go check out my original article listing out study materials for the 70-534 exam.

To keep up to date on all the latest Microsoft Azure news, and feature updates, as well as many other articles from the community surrounding Microsoft Azure services, I encourage you to subscribe to Build Azure Weekly.

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect