AZ-103 Exam Preparation: Introduction

This introduction to the Microsoft Azure Administrator learning path gives an overview of the requirements for the Microsoft AZ-103 exam and how they will be covered.

The 5 major subject areas are:

  • Managing Azure subscriptions and resources
  • Implementing and managing storage
  • Deploying and managing virtual machines
  • Configuring and managing virtual networks
  • Managing identities

Welcome to our Microsoft Azure Administrator training. The focus of this learning path is to prepare you for Microsoft’s AZ-103 exam, but even if you’re not going to take the exam, this learning path will help you get started on your way to becoming an Azure administrator.

My name’s Guy Hummel and I’m a Microsoft Certified Azure Expert.

The AZ-103 exam tests your knowledge of five subject areas, and that’s how we’ve structured this learning path as well.

We’ll start with managing Azure subscriptions and resources. Although this might seem like a pretty simple topic, it’s actually very important because if you don’t get this right, you could end up with security holes and cost overruns. You’ll learn how to maintain governance by applying policies to subscriptions and resources. Azure enforces these policies to prevent actions your organization doesn’t want to allow. You’ll also learn how to monitor resource consumption so you don’t end up with unexpectedly large bills to pay. The final topic on managing resources is role-based access control. This is how you can give users the right level of access to resources so they don’t have more privileges than they need.

Next, we’ll get into implementing and managing storage. This section includes more than just Azure Storage. It also covers how to set up file shares using Azure File Sync and how to implement backups using a Recovery Services Vault.

Then you’ll learn how to deploy and manage virtual machines running either Windows or Linux. Creating a new VM on Azure is pretty easy, but this section shows you how to deploy VMs at an enterprise level. You’ll learn how to automate the deployment of VMs using Azure Resource Manager, automate configuration changes using Desired State Configuration, and back up your VMs using policies. You’ll also see how to set up high availability and autoscaling.

After that, we’ll go into configuring and managing virtual networks, which is the biggest section of the exam. Again, this is about setting up enterprise-grade networks. You’ll learn how to connect virtual networks together using VNet peering and network gateways, how to configure both private and public DNS zones for name resolution, and how to secure your VNets using Network Security Groups.

It also covers advanced virtual networking. An important part of this section is showing different ways to distribute an application’s load across multiple VMs. One method is to use Azure Load Balancer and another is to use Azure Application Gateway. Azure Load Balancer works at layer 4 of the network stack, so it routes TCP and UDP packets. Azure Application Gateway works at layer 7, which is the application layer, so it routes at the HTTP layer. This gives it the ability to do more than Azure Load Balancer. For example, it includes a web application firewall that protects your applications from common exploits, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks.

This section also shows you how to do network monitoring using Network Watcher and how to integrate your on-premises network with your Azure network using VPN Gateway and ExpressRoute.

Finally, we’ll cover how to manage identities. This section is all about Azure Active Directory, which is a managed version of Microsoft’s tried and true directory software. Of course, you’ll need to know how to add users and groups to it, but Azure AD has lots of other goodies to help you keep your organization secure. For example, one practice that has become very popular is multi-factor authentication. This is where users have to use more than one authentication method to log in, such as having to enter both a password and a verification code that was texted to their phone. You’ll also learn how to sync up your on-premises Active Directory with Azure AD and enable single sign-on.

That’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!


About the Author
Learning Paths

Guy launched his first training website in 1995 and he's been helping people learn IT technologies ever since. He has been a sysadmin, instructor, sales engineer, IT manager, and entrepreneur. In his most recent venture, he founded and led a cloud-based training infrastructure company that provided virtual labs for some of the largest software vendors in the world. Guy’s passion is making complex technology easy to understand. His activities outside of work have included riding an elephant and skydiving (although not at the same time).