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About Microsoft AZ-304 Exam

The Microsoft AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design exam is created to evaluate the candidates’ expertise in the design and implementation of solutions that run on the Microsoft Azure platform. These include different areas, such as compute, security, storage, and network. Passing this test and other related exams leads to the award of the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.

Who is the target audience for the Microsoft AZ-304 exam?

The applicants for this certification exam are the Azure Solution Architects with intermediate-level skills in the domain of Azure administration. These professionals have a good understanding of DevOps processes and Azure development. They are also responsible for translating the business needs into scalable, reliable, and secure Cloud solutions. Additionally, they can advise the stakeholders and collaborate with the Cloud DBAs and Cloud administrators to implement solutions.

What are the prerequisites for the Microsoft AZ-304 exam?

The potential candidates for the AZ-304 exam are required to have advanced and practical knowledge of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, business continuity, security, governance, data platform, budgeting, and disaster recovery. They should also understand how the decisions in each skill area affect the general solution to be implemented. Moreover, these individuals are recommended to possess expert-level competence in Azure administration as well as experience in the DevOps process and Azure development.

What are the main details of the Microsoft AZ-304 exam?

Microsoft AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design is a 150-minute test. The number of questions varies from one exam to another, but the students can expect between 40 and 60 items in their test. To take this certification exam, you must first register with Pearson VUE and pay the fee of $165. This amount is for a single delivery of the test, which means that if a candidate does not pass the exam at the first attempt, he or she will have to pay another fee to retake it. Microsoft AZ-304 is available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese.

What topics are covered in the Microsoft AZ-304 exam?

The Microsoft AZ-304 exam is developed to measure one’s ability to design monitoring, data storage, identity & security, business continuity, and infrastructure. Each topic has a specific percentage related to it, which indicates the weight of questions that may be expected from each of them. Below are the details of these objectives:

Design Monitoring: 10-15%

  • Design for cost optimization: this requires that the examinees know how to recommend solutions for cost reporting and cost management as well as solutions to reduce costs.
  • Design solutions for monitoring and logging: this covers one’s skills in determining storage locations and levels for logs; planning for integration with the monitoring tools, which include Azure Sentinel and Azure Monitor. It also comes with the relevant skills in selecting mechanisms for event escalation and routing, as well as recommending the logging solution for compliance prerequisites.

Design Identity & Security: 25-30%

  • Design authentication: the test takers must develop competence in recommending solutions for single sign-on, authentication, and network access authentication. This domain also requires their skills in recommending solutions for Conditional Access, which includes multi-factor authentication; recommending solutions for hybrid identity, which comes with Azure AD Connect Health and Azure AD Connect; recommending solutions for user self-service; recommending and implementing solutions for B2B integration.
  • Design authorization: the candidates should be able to select an authorization technique; recommend a hierarchical structure, including subscriptions, resource groups, and management groups; recommend access management solutions, including access review, RBAC policies, Azure AD Identity Protection, physical access, JIT (Just in Time) access, and Privileged Identity Management.
  • Design security for applications: this covers the individuals’ competence in recommending solutions that involve KeyVaults; recommending solutions that involve Azure Active Directory Managed Identities; recommending solutions for integrating applications into Azure Active Directory.

Design Data Storage: 15-20%

  • Design solutions for databases: this requires your skills in choosing relevant data platforms based on the prerequisites; recommending database service-tier sizing, solutions for database scalability, and encryption of data at rest, data in use, and data in transmission.
  • Design data integration: the students should be able to recommend the data flow that fulfills the business requirements; recommend solutions for data integration, such as Azure Data Bricks, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Factory, and Azure Data Lake.
  • Choose the relevant storage account: the applicants should know how to choose between available storage tiers; recommend storage access solutions and storage management tools.

Design Business Continuity: 10-15%

  • Design solutions for backup and recovery: this requires that the learners know how to recommend recovery solutions for on-premise and Azure hybrid workloads that fulfill recovery objects; design Azure Site Recovery solutions; recommend solutions for recovery in various regions; recommend solutions for the management of Azure Backup; design solutions for data retention and archiving.
  • Design for high availability: the candidates should be able to recommend solutions for workload and application redundancy, including storage, database, and compute; recommend solutions for auto-scaling; recommend solutions for geo-redundancy in workloads; identity types of storage for high availability and resources that need high availability.

Design Infrastructure: 25-30%

  • Design compute solutions: the test takers need the relevant skills in recommending solutions for compute provisioning; determining the relevant compute technologies, such as VMs, App Services, Azure Functions, Service Fabric, containers, and Virtual Desktop; recommending solutions for containing and automating compute management.
  • Design network solutions: the individuals should be able to recommend solutions for name resolution and network addressing, network provisioning, network security, and network connectivity to on-premises networks, internet, and other Azure VNs.
  • Design application architectures: this covers the examinees’ skills in recommending micro-services architectures, including Service Bus, Event Grid, Storage Queues, Event Hubs, Logic Apps, webhooks, and Azure Functions. It also covers their competency in recommending orchestration solutions for deploying applications, such as Logic Apps, Azure Functions, or ARM templates. The students also need competence in recommending an appropriate solution for API integration.
  • Design migration: this requires one’s expertise in assessing and interpreting on-premises applications, data, and servers for migration; recommending solutions for migrating VMs and applications; recommending solutions for database migration.

What career paths can a person choose after passing the Microsoft AZ-304 exam?

The professionals who want to boost their career in the field of Microsoft Azure should consider obtaining the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification. There are many job roles that they can explore and there is also room for rapid career growth with this certificate. Some positions that these specialists can apply for include a Microsoft Solution Architect, a Cloud Architect, a Product Manager, a Senior Azure Architect, an O365 Solution Architect, a .Net Solution Architect, etc. The potential salary averages $110,000 while some can earn as high as $170,000 per year.

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