AZ-301 Exam Prep: Introduction

This introduction to the Designing a Microsoft Azure Architecture learning path gives an overview of the requirements for the Microsoft AZ-301 exam and how they will be covered.

The 6 major subject areas are:

  • Determine workload requirements
  • Design for identity and security
  • Design a data platform solution
  • Design a business continuity strategy
  • Design for deployment, migration, and integration
  • Design an infrastructure strategy



Hello and welcome to Designing a Microsoft Azure Architecture. The focus of this learning path is to prepare you for Microsoft’s AZ-301 exam. If you pass both of the AZ-300 and AZ-301 exams, then you’ll earn the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.

My name’s Guy Hummel. I’m the Azure Content Lead at Cloud Academy.

The AZ-301 exam tests your knowledge of six subject areas. Here’s how we’ll cover them in this learning path.

We’ll start with determining workload requirements. This section of the exam expects you to have some general knowledge of a wide variety of topics about designing IT environments. Although we touch on many of these concepts in this learning path, there’s no way we could cover all of them from the ground up. But if you have a reasonable amount of experience in the IT industry, you should be okay. What we do cover in more detail in this section is optimizing Azure costs and designing a monitoring strategy.

The next section is on designing for identity and security. Not surprisingly, the focus is on how to use Azure Active Directory. In a large organization, there are many identities to manage. This includes not only users, but also applications. To manage them effectively and securely, you need to design a proper identity management system. You also need to set up authentication for all of these identities, usually including single sign-on for your users. After a user or application is authenticated, it needs to be granted the right level of authorization to access Azure resources.

The third section is on designing data solutions. Azure includes many different data services, including relational databases, non-relational databases, data warehouses, data lakes, and many other related services. You’ll learn when to choose each of the data services, how to size them, and how to design for data protection, availability, consistency, and durability. You’ll also learn how to design and document how data flows between the various services.

The next section is on designing a business continuity strategy. The two most important concepts are high availability and disaster recovery. You can design for high availability using various levels of redundancy. For disaster recovery, the two most important services to know are Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup.

The fifth section is one of the smallest. The subject is how to design for deployment, migration, and integration. It’s about migrating from an on-premises environment to an Azure environment, designing a repeatable way to deploy Azure resources, and integrating your applications using services such as Azure API Management.

The final section is on designing an infrastructure strategy. You’ll learn how to design strategies for storage, compute, and networking. In each of these areas, we’ll cover how to choose the right solution, design secure access to the solution, and recommend appropriate management tools. We’ll also cover how to design a monitoring strategy.

Bear in mind that the six sections of the exam are not covered in this exact order in the learning path. That’s because some courses cover topics in multiple exam sections. For example, monitoring is a topic in almost all of the exam sections, but we cover it primarily in one course instead of repeating the same concepts in every section.

Are you ready to become an Azure architect? Then 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).