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Welcome to the AZ-304 AZ-305 course
1. Overview of the AZ-304 + AZ-305 Exam Requirements
So let's look at the requirements for the AZ304 and AZ305 exams in more detail. You can go ahead and enter AZ Hyphen304 into your favourite search engine, and you will find this official Microsoft landing page for this exam on the Microsoft Learn website. You can see it right here, off the top. Again, the 304 is retiring as of March 31. Like I said in the lastvideo, this does not affect you. If you take and pass the exam before, then once you've passed it, you do have credit for passing it.
And if you qualify for the Architect Expert Certification, that certification is good for one year from the time that you passed it, and renewing happens online and is in some ways an easier process. It's free. So if you take this and pass this exam, you'll never have to do it again. And retiring this exam from time to time doesn't affect you. Microsoft does update this exam, although now that it's retiring, maybe it's not going to happen. But some of these updates are trivial, and some of these updates are substantial. And so you always want to come back and check this date to see that the exam you're about to take is not going to be updated at some point in the future. Now, Microsoft does list who the best candidates for this exam are.
And you should have some subject matter expertise in architecting Azure solutions in order to take this test. This is not a beginner test, and like I said in the last video as well, if you don't have any experience with Azure, this might not be the best test for you to take first. Now there's nothing stopping you from taking this test. There is no prerequisite for this one. We'll talk about the 305 in a second, but you should have some background on it. And so, that's just a fact of life there. So this is an architecture design exam. This happens to be about designing solutions or recommending solutions. We're going to see this on the requirements page, all of the verbs that are used, and they all have to do with designing and recommending. Okay, this is the page that you go to to book the test. You can see the big yellow schedule exam button. The exam is available in multiple languages, and even though it says Retirement Database, that's not exactly true. It's $165. Depending on the country that you live in, it's going to have a different price.
And so in Spain, it's €165. I was recently talking to a friend of mine in Poland, and you'll see the prices are even lower, but it's based on the country. Okay, down here is where we get into the details. This is the skill measured, and we can see that there are five major exam skill categories, and they're broken out into design monitoring at 10 to 15%. Design identity and security from 25 to 30; data storage from 15 to 20; business continuity from 10 to 15; and infrastructure from 25 to 30. The real details are hidden behind this link. Download the Exam Skills Outline inside of this page, where we find out about this exam. Now, in a case like this, when the exam is going to be updated, this document is split into two sections.
The first half of the documents are the current requirements, and the second half of the documents are the changes after the change date. We can see in this example that the change that is being pushed on November 24 changes the capitalised M to a lowercase M. It's more of a typographical change, and there are no other additional requirements. So sometimes this happens, and it's annoying to me, but if you're taking the exam before or after November 23, there's really no change for you. That's just the reality. Now, here's where we find the actual details we can see under the monitoring skill: It's broken between cost optimization and logging and monitoring. That is one 10th of the exam score. Then we get into security and identity—authentication, authorization, governance, and security for applications—and we see all of the skills that are required, including policy, blueprints, Key Vault, managed identities, which is now lower case, and applications in Azure AD. And so the rest of these requirements are just like this. The major requirements here are that we're going to see there are databases on this exam, data integration and data migration, choosing the storage account based on tiers, recommending management tools, et cetera.
Continuity involves backup, recovery, and high availability. These are the two skills to keep either high-up time or to recover from disaster fairly quickly. Finally, we have infrastructure skills, which have to do with compute, networking, applications, and migrations, which are sort of some of the top skills within Azure. Some of these topics do appear on the 303 test, but if they also appear on the three or three tests here, they will appear in the design section under "Recommend Determine Appropriate Technologies." A lot of these words are Recommend or Determine or Assess. So this is sort of the selection skill as opposed to the implementation skill. Now, just really briefly, talking about the 305 exam, I got a video coming up talking about the difference between three or four and three or five. So we won't get into that much detail in this video, but it is in beta. I don't necessarily recommend that people run out and take Beta exams.
You get a delay in getting your scores back. You don't pass the certification right away. It's the same price as a regular exam without the coupon. And the questions are lengthier. Some of the questions aren't great. There are some downsides to taking the beta test. If you want to be first, or if you want to take the 104 and take the 305, then you can probably do this. The requirements are fairly similar. They've merged monitoring and logging with identity and security. So it's just one merged requirement, and they've messed with the percentages a little bit more on data storage and less on logging, monitoring, identity, and security.
So we'll talk about that in that coming video. We can see that the same requirements are here. So those are the details of this. Again, in this course, as I structure my courses, I will start from the first section. The first section talks about cost optimization. The next sections will talk about those, along with logging and monitoring, and finally authentication and so on. So you should see in this course that I'll follow this fairly straight line, section by section. Luckily for us, the 305 exam does have pretty much the same order. There are a couple of things that have been switched around. Like, non-relational data was merged with relational data, and so I might have to record some stuff around that. But generally, it's going to be the same order nine out of ten times. Alternatively, as this networking solution was previously after compute So we'll generally follow the same order. Sometimes there will be some deviation for three or five. Hopefully, that's easy to follow for you. Anyway, let's continue.
2. Comparison of AZ-304 + AZ-305 Exam Requirements
So hi there! Let's talk about the brand new requirements for the Azure Architecture certification that are taking effect mostly in 2022. If you haven't seen the news, Microsoft is sort of retiring some of the existing exams and introducing a new exam to replace them. I'm calling this a simplification of the requirements. And so we should, as certification test takers, embrace this certification. But it does mean that it's a bit of a change. The current requirements, as you know, are to take him past two exams, the AZ-3 or AZ-4, in order to get this Architecture Expert certification.
So that's the way that it's been for the last couple of years. Obviously, there are downsides to taking two exams. That means you have to pay for two, and you have to study for two. And, in many cases, deciding to become an Architect Expert Certified takes several months. Now, the 303 exam is an architecture technologies exam, and there was a lot of overlap between that and the other technology exam, Azure administrator. So if you had taken AZ 104, which gives you a lot of advanced study for the AZ 303, you would have had to study for a few more weeks on top of that. But the overlap was there in the beginning. It was more overlap. In fact, as I sat and took these exams in beta, I did see the same question—the same exact question—appear on both tests. My luck of the draw, if you will. So I think that's come down a lot.
The requirements of 4104 and 303 have changed over the last year or so, and some of this content is no longer overlapped. But let's say there's still a 50% overlap. Okay, so it does make sense that perhaps we don't need the 303 exam if you've taken and passed the 104 exam, and that's what the new requirements are. New requirements say the 104 is now a prerequisite to getting the Expert Architect certification. So, if you were planning on taking the Azure Administrator exam anyway, this makes your life easier. It's one less thing to pay for and one less thing to study for, and all you have to do is take the 305 exam, and the 104 and three or five combined will qualify you as an architect expert.
And as we're going to look through the requirements in just a second, we can see the overlap between the two. If you've already passed the architect, I should have said this at the beginning. Actually, if you've already passed it, this doesn't affect you. Once you're certified, the changes in the exams don't affect you because the renewal process is completely different. If you've already passed 303, this doesn't affect you either, pretty much. If you've already passed three or three and want to go for three or four, you might as well because three or four doesn't retire until the end of March. As I record this, you still have four months to take him past three or four, and then you get the Azure Architect Expert certification, and the change to the exam doesn't affect you.
If you're going to need more time than you had in March, then you will have to go for the 305. It went into beta today. As I record this on November 16, somebody somewhere can take this exam right now. So that's why I'm recording this video—to talk about the three out of five exam. So the paths are three and three, or four; the fourth is retiring at the end of March. Or if you've already passed through three, you can take three of five, and that's in beta today. Or it will go live. Let's say it goes live in January. That would be my estimation. Or you've already passed 104. You don't have to take 303, and you can take 305. So that is the future path. These are the transitionary paths. I'm not going to suggest that you go and take the beta exam, which is available as of today, because there are some downsides to it. You can take it if you want to, but you don't get the results right away.
The beta exam actually costs the same as the real exam, so you're not even taking advantage of cost savings unless you can grab that limited-use coupon that's available as of today. That's not often. Time passes within 24 or 48 hours. You don't get the results right away. And the questions are sometimes more difficult, sometimes poorly written, because they are not being polished and have not yet received feedback. There's less study material available for this. But for a new beta exam, you just don't have the courses, the books, and the study guides. So there are some downsides to something, and I wouldn't necessarily suggest it. I'm going to update this course more with this new content. But for now, I'm going to record this video, which we're watching right now, talking about the 305 exam. And there is just going to be this overlap between 305 and 304. Because the exams don't expire until March 31, you're going to have to have both content around, so please forgive that. So let's talk about the differences between 304 and 305. So 304 is on the left, and we can see the five sets of skills measured in 304, and 305 is on the right. You can see the four sets of skills measured in three or five. Now, what they've done is they've smooshed or merged the first two skills into a single skill. So instead of having Design Monitoring for 10% to 15% and Design Identity and Security for 25 to 30, they put Identity, Governance, and Monitoring into a single 25 to 30 bucket. So the overall percentage of the exam has gone down for those two skills. But now they're merged together, and we'll look at that in detail in a second. Data storage has gone up from 15% to 20%, up to 25% to 30%. So the 10% that we lost here has been made up for in data storage.
Business continuity still remains the same at 10% to 15%, and infrastructure remains the same at 25% to 30%. Now if we dig into the PDFs here, if you click on the PDF download, you can see that three of four are on the left and three of five are on the right. We can see that one thing that is not appearing on the three or five has to do with cost. So this cost optimization is a three- or four-person requirement at the current time. But we do have logging and monitoring. Being here, you can see that it seems like this has been cut down a little bit. There are only three topics on logging and monitoring as opposed to five. As we go into authentication, authentication is here. Again, a lot of topics have been cut down. Authentication and authorization only have three topics, whereas over here you've got a lot more. So authorization is down here.
Notice it doesn't mention anything about just-in-time access or privileged identity management. So governance is here, and it is also as well.And then, finally, we've got this security for applications. This looks like it's been removed. It's talking about key vaults. It's talking about managing identities. Here you have identities and access for applications, which is similar to security for applications. But as you can see, user consent, AAD passwords, and secrets—I guess that's the key vault. and applications access Azure resources. So there's a lot more specific here, and a lot more vague here. That's unfortunate. So yeah, this has basically morphed into that. Go up to the data storage. You can see that 15 to 20 years have now become 25 to 30. What they've done is break out a generic database category and treat relational data and non-relational data separately. So I think this has gotten some extended coverage. Data integration is still being covered here, and storage accounts are being covered for relational, semi-structured, and non-relational databases.
Business continuity is pretty much the same. We have 10% to 15% backup and recovery, backup and recovery, backup and recovery, and high availability. And it looks like they just copied a lot of the topics, so there's nothing wrong with that design infrastructure (25 to 30) as well. Here, as well, we have compute, compute, and network solutions. Network solutions. Application architecture. Application architecture. Migrations. Migrations. So as you can see, there is very little that's been added or removed. We've identified a couple of small elements that have been taken away, specifically costs, but pretty much it's going to be a lot of the same coverage.
Like I said, at least 85% or 90% of the same coverage What I'm going to do then is go through these objectives in more detail, as maybe the videos need to be refreshed or maybe some additional topics are being talked about here that were not on the original videos, and in that case I'll record new content for those. But basically, if you're studying for three or four years, three to five have a lot of overlap, and so that's actually pretty good news. Anyway, I just wanted to talk more about the 305 exam we saw here in detail, side by side, and the similarities between them. And as we go through this course, I'm going to try to highlight for your sections and videos that are specific to 305. So don't worry, this course will be updated in relation to 350. If you're studying for it, this course is still a really good resource for the AZ 35 exam as well.
Design for cost optimization
1. Design Monitoring (10-15%)
Alright, we're getting into the course. The first major section of the exam says "Design Monitoring." And that is where 10 to 15% of the exam score goes. Now, that design monitoring is broken up into two subsections. One has to do with monitoring costs, and the other has to do with general logging and monitoring of your resources. When it comes to monitoring your costs, we have to know how to find the cost optimization section within the Azure Portal, how to extract cost reports, schedule them, setup alerts and budgets, and also, what can you do to reduce costs in your account? The second topic in that is logging and monitoring. And so, in this course, we're going to talk about logging, setting up diagnostic tools, Azure Monitor and Sentinel, and all of the various monitoring tools and logging solutions. Now, of course, all of these have to do with Microsoft-recommended solutions, not third-party-recommended solutions. So keep that in mind when it comes to this exam. Let's get going.
2. *NEW* Cost Optimization Overview
Alright, so we're going to start off by talking about cost optimization in this section. And cost optimization when it comes to this exam has to do with cost management, cost reporting, and minimising costs. So let's get into that. Now what you're going to find is that when you move from a traditionally hosted environment, whether it's on-premises or a vendor-hosted environment, to the cloud, then you're actually taking on additional management tasks when it comes to managing costs.
And now the cloud environments, and particularly Microsoft Azure, give you various tools in order for you to view your costs, report on your costs, investigate where your costs are growing, and be able to take actions on that. Now, one of the challenges of the cloud environment is one of its strengths. The fact that there are no more physical limitations on servers in your environment or disc space is going to basically be an opportunity for you to spend more than you are planning to. When you are in a self-hosted or vendor-hosted environment, you do have certain limitations. You have only so many terabytes of disc space and so many servers that are available to you. And getting more dispatch and getting more servers might have been a bit more of an ordeal. You need to put a business case together. You need to get the accounting team to sign off.
You need to go to the vendor and order the hardware, get it shipped in, and install it. There was a whole deal around making your data center bigger. Well, when you get into the cloud, then that ordeal becomes a lot simpler. Now again, we can list this as a big strength of the cloud, but it is also, of course, a temptation. So when you are in the no limits on physical space, you're going to find when you're discussing applications that need to store files, that you're not going to betook concerned about how much dispatch things take. If you have a backup environment and you can, like, well, we don't have to delete these files because there's no physical constraint forcing us to do so. So the fact that you are unlimited is both a strength and a challenge. The other challenge in the cloud environment is that resources become really easy to create. And of course, your developers and your QA team, as well as other people within your environment, if you give them authorization, can create resources as well. And so there's a possibility for a rapid expansion in the control of your environment, even if you fence them off and say, "This is the development resource group, and any developer can create a server inside this resource group, then they can."
And so what you're going to probably want to do is place certain limitations on that. You want to limit who can create resources, what kinds of resources they can create, and what kind of authorization is required. If the resources are to be long-term. So if they create a server that they know is going to last for months or years, that's a different situation than if they just need to spin up a machine for a couple of days to do some QA testing and then they'll delete it. And so now it becomes a company policy situation where you want to have some more control over this in order to take advantage of the power without having it be a burden to you.
So I am going to suggest that you have a cost optimization strategy. Now perhaps in the past, when you had a self-hosted environment or your vendor hosted it, the costs were known, you signed a contract up front, you knew how much you were paying, and adding to that cost became a deal that required many people to authorize. Accounting teams have to sign off, and the budget has to be changed. But that's no longer true. And so you're going to basically want to ad to your routine a cost monitoring task.
And so various stakeholders are going to have to be informed of the costs. And if there's anything that is unexpected, how is that going to get identified, highlighted, and obviously eventually rectified? Speaking of rectifying these, I personally believe that cost savings is a skill. Being able to look at an Azure subscription, see the costs, and realize that something can be done cheaper is a skill in your IT team. So you should probably have one or more people who can work on that skill, take the various training courses, stay up to date on all of the latest Microsoft cost management tools, and then they'll know that they can convert this into a reservation, or something else. This is unnecessary. Backups can be trimmed down to a smaller number of backups, et cetera.
So that is a skill, and somebody should be able to work on that skill and be the go-to person effectively for keeping costs low. So that's the active part of reducing costs as opposed to monitoring costs. Now, I do have several videos in this section talking about these strategies. So I just mentioned reservations. I'm going to get into that. We are going to talk about predicting cost with a pricing calculator. We'll be talking about choosing between different types of hosting. If you do infrastructure as a service in a virtual machine, a web application, or a service fabric, all of those different options and the implications of performance and cost mean that there is always a trade-off between availability, performance, cost, and other factors. And so we'll talk about those strategies for detecting costs, monitoring costs, and reducing costs. as we go through this section of the course.
3. *NEW* Pricing Calculator
So we're going to start off talking about cost optimization. Cost optimization is just another way to either reduce costs or get more value out of what you're paying for. Now, I've noticed in some of the projects I've worked on that costs can quickly escalate and spiral out of control if you're not careful. I worked on a project a couple of years ago where the storage costs were starting to approach a million dollars a month for the company. And then it reaches a certain point when somebody has to start looking into what's using up all this storage, and can we archive it or could we delete it? We ended up finding that there are images that are being stored in duplicate places, and so a large chunk of our storage is just unnecessarily duplicated.
You could almost say that when you do the deployment of an application, it is extremely well organized, obviously the first time that you do it. And then over time a code gets added, functionality gets added, storage starts to grow, log files. Over time, things start to get bigger. And if you're not careful, then you basically find yourself in that situation that my old client did—where they just woke up one day to something that they were not necessarily expecting. It's also possible in a development sense where you're just duplicating environments, backing up things, restoring it over here, playing around, but you don't do a full clean up every time. You end up with directories and code and examples and samples and tests, and they just start to accumulate if somebody isn't pruning them or properly managing them.
That's just life in the development world, right? So we're going to talk about a number of items in this video and the following videos in terms of how you're going to get a handle on costs. So I think the first place we can start is the Azure pricing calculator. So you can go to the pricing calculator online. It has a very simple shopping cart model where you add services to your basket, set the configurations, and it will give you an estimate based on your best guess of what it's going to come to. Now you can see, when you go from standard storage to premium storage, what the difference in pricing is, or if you end up with four of this server instead of two of that server, what the side-by-side comparison is. So basically, being able to compare actual estimated costs is very helpful.
Now, estimating is an imperfect science, and it's very hard to know in advance how much CPU you're going to use, how many executions, or how much bandwidth. You can only make rough guesses. But as long as those guesses are consistent, then you should be able to go into the pricing calculator and make an educated guess and compare apples to apples. So why don't we fire up the pricing calculator and have a look at an example? So if you go to the Azure website at Azure.Microsoft.com, you'll find pricing as a top-level menu item along the top. It's also accessible when you're on the doc's website. And if you open up this menu, you will see four areas of interest.
The first area is just a list of the pricing and how each of the Azure services is charged, understanding that a service is not just charged based on one metric and that there might be two or three other metrics that are charged. and each of them is charged independently. For example, CPU utilization, the number of executions, the amount of storage, the amount of bandwidth, the IP addresses you've reserved—those are all things that have independent pricing. Your cost optimization is exactly what we're talking about. So this is how you learn how to manage and optimize your cloud spending. A pricing calculator is what we're interested in.
This is the page that we're on right now. And we're also going to talk about the total cost of ownership calculator. Because running Compute Services into the cloud, you're not only saving the difference between the price of the hosting it yourself, but you're also saving the time, the effort, having people on staff, the electricity, the Internet, et cetera. So there are a lot of things that go into the cost of running your own services besides the per-hour charge you might get charged. So we're on the pricing calculator. Now, there are some example scenarios if we just want to see them. But what I wanted to show you was this shopping cart metaphor.
Let's say we want to compare the price of two different virtual machines. You might want two of one type of server and three of another type of server. I can click on "virtual machine" and you can see "virtual machines added." So if I scroll down, we'll see that it's added one virtual machine to my estimate. Now in this particular case, let's say I wanted to compare this D-8 server, and I'm going to need two of them. Okay? It's a Windows machine in the Western US region. I'm not having additional services added on top. So far, this is fairly standard pay as you go licensing. I'm going to pay for it. So, for two virtual machines, we can see that it comes to $1,191 per month. Okay? Now I can compare, so there's a way of duplicating the service. And so if you click this clone button, we've now added another virtual machine to the bottom.
But in case I want to do three virtual machines that are less powerful, So let's say D-4 S, so half the CPUs, but three of them instead of two of them; I leave everything else the same. And I can see the difference right away that I'm saving a couple of $100. So, in a side-by-side comparison, using three-dimensional four servers instead of servers saves $300. This is the type of thing you can do to save money by comparing one thing to another.
And this doesn't take, of course, everything into account, but you can sort of see where your savings are at right within the support calculator and right within the pricing calculator. Of course, with any application, you must be aware that you will be using storage alongside this. You're going to be using brands with things like that. So maybe there are some additional costs that come in here, but comparing the two servers shouldn't change the amount of storage or the amount of bandwidth, right. So that's still an apples-to-apples comparison. So this is the Azure pricing calculator later. Definitely worth checking out and you can start to play with maybe compare virtual machine to a webapp, etc. to and see what the virtual differences are between prices and even the style of development.
4. Refactor / Rearchitect
Something that is sometimes overlooked when we're talking about reducing costs is that sometimes it's your design decisions and your coding that lead to excessive costs. You've perhaps chosen to create a monolithic application that runs on a massive server that needs to be running twenty-four hours a day. And if you have chosen a different design—let's say you have chosen a micro services framework—then perhaps you would require less powerful servers and less of them, as an example.
And so sometimes you just have to say, "You know what? This application is too big and cumbersome, scaling is too tough, and we do have to break it apart and do some redesign." Sometimes it is just cheaper to scrap something and recode it than to try to patch it for the 20th time. All applications have a value, right? So this application brings this much value and has this much cost. Well, if your cost is starting to reach your value, then the organization can genuinely start to debate whether it's worth supporting when the costs and the value are pretty much the same.
If we look at the types of applications that run in a cloud environment, when we talk about micro services, we're talking about server less apps and platform as a service, and those can be cheaper—I say can—than traditional monolithic applications. And it's all basically how you design the application, right? So let's look at what's called the Cloud Application Framework and the Well Architected Design Framework from Microsoft to get some ideas. So let's have a look at a couple of the resources that Microsoft provides for you to actually design applications that are designed to work well in the cloud, which can deliver enormous value and save you money.
The first one I want to point out is the one called Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework. And so the Cloud Adoption Framework is really a collection of best practices and tools that will allow you to achieve your objectives. Now one of these objectives could be the money-saving saving aspects. And so again, there's the design plan, the coding, migration, and managing. And managing is where you're going to find things like cost savings and platform efficiency—things like that. You can see that it comes down to how your organization thinks about how it uses cloud resources. The second resource I'll point out is called the Microsoft Azure Architected Framework. And so the Well-Architected Framework has five pillars of architecture excellence, and one of those pillars is cost optimization. And so if you're looking at tools and checklists for saving money in the cloud, you might want to check out the Well Architected Framework. In fact, if we drill down into cost optimization, we can see that there's a whole section talking about it, and here are some of the principles. Okay, so aim for your costs to be scalable, right?
The more people and services you deliver, the more it costs. But the fewer services provided, the lower the costs pay. For consumption, right? Sizing, we're going to talk about some of these things in this section. And there's even this checklist that you can go through if you're looking to optimize costs. You can basically just go through, read the checklist, click on the documentation, and run the check against your own environment. And you can sort of see all of these things with the clickable links, the instructions, et cetera. And in fact, a checklist is more than a tool.
This tool is known as the Azure well-architected review. Now, you can create this review at a point in time, give it a name, sign in with your Azure credentials, and it will actually pull in any of the Azure Advisor recommendations into the review if you choose. Cost optimization is one of your priorities, which I did at this moment. It'll give you a list of items to go through to see how well you're doing on optimizing costs. And so there are a number of tools within the Microsoft world, including the Well Architect Framework and the Cost Adoption Cloud Adoption Framework in particular, that will help guide you through this review of costs. And you should take advantage of these tools if you're finding yourself in that situation.
5. *NEW* Azure Advisor
So the next thing that you should be looking at in terms of cost optimization is Azure Advisor. Now, Azure Advisor is a tool that will analyse your actual usage in your account and make recommendations to you for ways to save money. So instead of it being just a general checklist that you yourself have to go down, it's actually looking at the way that you're using Azure and looking for patterns. Now, there are dozens of different types of recommendations that Azure Advisor can make. So Azure Advisor makes recommendations across five different categories: reliability, which was formally the High Availability category, security, performance, cost, and a relatively new one called operational excellence.
Now, if we look at some of these—let's look at cost optimization—we can see that there are effectively about a dozen cost optimization suggestions that I can make. So it'll look at your virtual machines that are underutilized, meaning they have a CPU utilization of less than 3% 95% of the time and a network utilization of less than 2%. If you have a VM that is effectively doing nothing, your advisor is going to recognize that and make a recommendation for you to resize that or shut it down.
It's also going to be looking at database servers, express route circuits that aren't being used, virtual network gateways that are idle, et cetera. If you've used virtual machines over the past 30 days and you could save money with a reservation, it would also make those recommendations. So we can see that the cost optimization of Azure Advisor is actually going to try its best to recommend things you can do to save money. Now, the Azure Advisor on my own account is going to be really boring. I tend to shut off resources that I'm not using, and I'm only using this for teaching. But if we go into the search and we find Advisor, we're going to be able to see those five categories: cost, security, reliability, operational excellence, and performance. For instance, in the security category, you can see I have 35 recommendations that I should follow up on, and at least half of those are high impact.
But unfortunately, under cost recommendations, since I don't keep resources running for too long, I am a green check mark there. So it's kind of boring. But if I did have recommendations, they would be here, and then I could choose to ignore them or to follow up on them. It would be like a checklist style.So following Azure Advisor, or at least going into the cost section and seeing what the recommendations are and trying to make a decision in terms of whether you should follow that or ignore it, is definitely one way to save money within Microsoft Azure. You.
6. *NEW* Cost Management and Billing
Of course, we've overlooked one of the greatest resources for finding out where you can save money, and that is your bills and invoices. So the Azure Cost Management section of the portal will show you how much money you've spent in Azure. It's quite a dynamic tool that allows you to filter based on days or based on service tags. If you use them, you can identify trends and actually forecast your future spending based on them. You can set budgets.
Although budgets are more of an alerting mechanism, they won't actually shut down your services. And you can see how effectively you are tracking a budget. And it warns you when you're approaching that point. And you can have reports and things like that. So let's go into the portal and have a look at the Azure Cost Management section. Now hopefully my cost management section is a bit more interesting than the Azure Advisor. You can see that I have the cost management pinned to my menu. If you go under all services and start typing cost, it will come up as cost management and billing. Now in cost management and billing, you can have multiple subscriptions, and you can see that I do in fact have a couple of subscriptions that are coming up with different amounts of cost.
I'm going to minimize this menu. Now I can go back and see historical invoices under the invoice section, or I can click into the subscription and start to see some more of a dynamic view. So let's take a look at the invoices section and see if it can show me my most recent set of invoices and if I can change to a different subscription over the last twelve months. You can see that I'm paying somewhere between $20 and $195 a month for Azure services. Now let's go into individual subscriptions here. So if I click on it, this is where we get into the description view. And if I want to start playing with the cost, I go under cost analysis. Now the cost analysis tool is going to look at the cost that you've accumulated in your account. It does take a second to load it's. Doing a forecast here.
You can see that I'm coming up on I've got about three days left until the end of the month. So my forecast is not too far off of my actual cost. You can see as the month progressed, when I accumulated costs and when I was able to slow down the costs, I could probably tie when I'm doing a particular video, lecture, or teaching to these periods. I turn something on, maybe I forget about it, turn it off, and go through a period where I'm not doing those things. There are these types of pie charts that will break down something by service name, by location, or by the name of my resource group, if that's what's important. If you name your resource groups well and use that to keep projects together, You can probably see which projects in your account are incurring the most costs or which service. Now, I often find that I need to add some filters to this chart in order to get any value out of it. So let's say I want to say, well, this is an entire month, and a lot of those costs are transitory. I turn them on; I do something; I turn them off. I can filter down to a one-week billing period. And now I can see where the money was being spent. I didn't spend too much in the one week I had; I only spent $4 only.
And as I can see, I basically have a Cosmos DB database here that is my main source of cost right now. Then you can also check cost by resource or daily cost by service for different views on the same data. So the tool does have some flexibility for you to do filtering based on date or on other things such as the location or the region of the world. This meter shows basically what the charge is. So it could be bandwidth or CPU or storage. Those are the meter types. Now, if none of this is good enough, you can always download the data and pull that into an Excel spreadsheet, et cetera.
This tool also has an API. So, if you are sophisticated and can write code, you can actually pull down your costs by integrating the Azure API into your own systems or tools to perform more in-depth analysis. So the Cost Management Tool is going to be the main way you're going to find out what resources in your account are costing you, and then you can start to investigate. Let's say you see that the app service plan has the highest cost. Then you can try to figure out: what can I do to reduce the cost? Is there opportunity? You can start to look at the reports for this particular service and see if there is over-provisioning of these services. So the cost management tool is really the tool you use to monitor and manage your costs in ten different ways.
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