Introduction: AWS Certified Database - Specialty
Introduction: AWS Certified Database - Specialty

This brief course introduces the AWS Certified Database - Specialty (DBS-C01) learning path, and outlines the five domains covered in the exam:

  • Domain 1: Workload-Specific Database Design 26%
  • Domain 2: Deployment and Migration 20%
  • Domain 3: Management and Operations 18%
  • Domain 4: Monitoring and Troubleshooting 18%
  • Domain 5: Database Security 18%

Hello and welcome to this learning path, which has been designed to help you prepare and pass the AWS Certified Database - Specialty exam which was released by AWS in April 2020.

Throughout this learning path, you will be guided via our courses, hands-on labs including some lab challenges, blog posts, and a preparation exam at the end, all of which are focused on areas that will be assessed within the exam.

As defined in the exam blueprint, which can be found here, the exam has been designed for individuals who perform in a database-focused role. The exam validates an examinee’s comprehensive understanding of databases, including the concepts of design, migration, deployment, access, maintenance, automation, monitoring, security, and troubleshooting.

The questions within the exam are multiple-choice requiring you to select either a single or multiple answers for each question. The scoring is based out of 1000, with a minimum passing score of 750 (75%).

The exam is split into 5 different domains that you will be assessed against, each carrying a different percentage weighting, these are identified as:

  • Domain 1: Workload-Specific Database Design 26%

  • Domain 2: Deployment and Migration 20%

  • Domain 3: Management and Operations 18%

  • Domain 4: Monitoring and Troubleshooting 18%

  • Domain 5: Database Security 18%

So let me now run through how we approach each of these domains with the content within this learning path!

As we tackle Domain 1, we will be looking at each of the AWS database services, ensuring that you gain a full understanding of what each database has been designed for with regards to its use case and workload capabilities.  You will learn the differences between relational and non-relational databases and how they operate.  You will also be introduced to a number of different disaster recovery and business continuity strategies and how certain database services manage high availability in the event of an incident.  We will also breakdown how different features within a database affect the pricing of your solution, allowing you to make controlled changes to optimize your database deployments while maintaining performance to ensure your workloads are managed efficiently.

To cover the points highlighted in domain 2 we dive into how CloudFormation can be used to help you automate the deployment of your database solutions and how to combine this process with other AWS services such as AWS Secrets Manager to create a secure and repeatable deployment strategy.  You will also learn how to migrate your database from one place to another as we explore the AWS Database Migration Service and how this can be used to perform migrations not only from AWS, but also from your on-premise databases to AWS as well.  You’ll understand the steps in planning, how to configure DMS, and also how to perform the migration itself.

To ensure you have a solid understanding of the requirements for Domain 3 we will look at the many different operational tasks that you can configure and implement across different Database services, for example how and when to implement maintenance windows, how to manage your Aurora DB clusters, the configuration, and implementation of parameter and option groups to name but a few.  You will also be introduced to the many different techniques and options you have when it comes to implementing an effective backup and restore strategy and how your database backups are managed from both an automatic and manual perspective.  Being able to restore your data from an incident is essential, and you must know what options you have to bring your databases back to a fully operational status again within your organization.

Domain 4 focuses on monitoring and troubleshooting, so to ensure you have the knowledge to succeed in the questions dedicated to this domain, we will explain how you can use different techniques to quickly identify the root cause of a problem using different AWS services.  Looking at some of the most common problems, we will show you what to look out for and why.  You’ll be exposed to different logging techniques, covering Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail.  When it comes to monitoring, you might need to optimize your performance of your database, and so we will also cover the Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator, known as Amazon DAX which will help you understand how you can reduce DynamoDB response times from milliseconds to microseconds. 

To prepare you for answering questions within Domain 5 we have compiled content purely focused on security.  We have a deep dive into the Key Management Service, KMS which will help you understand how to encrypt your data. We will also look at other encryption options that you have available within the different database services.  Maintaining and effective access control policy is crucial when it comes to security, so you’ll gain an awareness of how to use AWS Identity & Access Control, or IAM as it’s known to implement stringent security policies to maintain the principle of least privilege.  Finally, we will also explain some key security best practices surrounding the common database services 

Ok, so now you have an understanding of what’s involved, let’s get your prepped and ready to tackle this certification!! And If you have any questions throughout this learning path, please feel free to reach out to us here, by sending an email to OK, let's get started!


About the Author
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.