This post was written by Sander Rodenhuis and Posted on 24 januari 2018

Two weeks ago, I did the Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-532) exam and I failed! I got 685, but you need 700 to pass. That was a disappointment, to say the least. Time for a more structured approach.

The 70-532 exam objectives are split up into 4 topics: Virtual Machines, Storage, Web and Mobile and Identity and Networks. For each 4 topics I collected a set of specific resources that I think are the most important to understand / learn.

First steps

The 70-532 focusses on developing Azure solutions. If you have never developed solutions in an object-oriented language like java or C#, this exam might not be for you. I never did much developing in C#, but I have some experience with Java. I stared reading a C# basics tutorial, installed Visual Studio Community (free) 2016 and started developing using the Microsoft Docs tutorials. Now there are some great getting started tutorials on Microsoft Docs for developing Azure solutions using the Azure libraries for Dot Net. Start with the tutorial for using Azure Blob storage using .NET. You’ll see that its very easy and that no matter what storage service you use, the pattern is always the same.

Having some experience implementing Azure solutions, I thought I was ready to take the exam. Well not! You really need to understand and be able to use a lot of services. Also note that Azure evolves quickly. First there was the Azure Service Manager (what we now call the classic portal) or ASM and now there is the new Azure Resource Manager (ARM). Now the focus will be on the ARM, but some ‘old’ services are still available (like cloud services). So you will still need to know how to use them and know the differences between them. Although the exam focuses on developing, don’t be surprised to get questions about using Azure PowerShell or using CLI commands.

The 70-532 exam covers a lot of topics. Based on my first try, I have created an overview on the topics that I think are important to understand. Note that this is not a complete list. I started with the Certification Exam Overview by Brian Swiger. (don’t forget to download the additional resources. In the powerpoint Brian uses there are some great links to relevant resources).

Virtual Machines

Understand how Virtual Machine Scale Sets can be implemented using the ARM Portal, PowerShell and the CLI.

For VM availability you need to understand the use of fault domains and scale sets. Know that you can create scaling rules using the Azure portal, PowerShell and the CLI.

Maybe you have seen this link in more posts, but its sure handy to know: Virtual Machine Best Practices.

Storage

Practice with the Getting Started with Blob, Table and storage Queues tutorials.

Understand CORS and the CORS rules evaluation. Remember that CORS is disabled by default!

Securing storage is done by providing SAS tokens. Understand how you can create SAS tokens using the SDK. If you are going to provide access to storage using SAS tokens, know that you can create them based on a policy (instead of using the primary or secondary Key). SAS tokens can be used for Blob, Table and Queue storage. Remember that you can delete Table entities with a SAS, but you cannot delete queue messages!

When working with SAS tokens, know that using stored access policies is preferred. This will prevent SAS tokens to be unusable when you need to regenerate the primary and secondary key. You can use a stored access policy to change the start time, expiry time, or permissions for a signature, or to revoke it after it has been issued.

Not sure if this is part of the Storage topic, but you can use Affinity Groups to direct storage accounts (but also other services) to the same geographical grouping. This will optimize performance.

Understand the differences between page and block blob: Block blobs (max 200 GB) are optimized for streaming, Page blobs (max 1 TB) are optimized for random read/write (VHDs).

Know that SQL pricing tiers are depending on DTU and Storage Size and how DTU are calculated (CPU, writes and reads %).

When using Storage services, you can also enable storage analytics logging. Know what can and cannot be logged.

Web and Mobile

Understand the differences between Azure App Services and Cloud Services. Here is a good comparison between the Azure App Services and Cloud Services.

Now what Swagger is (a machine-readable representation of a RESTful API that enables support for interactive documentation, client SDK generation, and discoverability) and now how build a Swagger specification.

Understand what the Azure Container Service is and what Service Fabric is (see here for a comparison) and know that you can also use it to run container images that have been created to run in Service Fabric. Know that you can create a Service Fabric Cluster on Azure, but you can’t install Service Fabric on a set of virtual machines!

This is something I still find difficult: using Logic Apps and Logic App triggers. You should know which triggers to use in different scenarios.

In my exam I had a few (Yes/No) questions about solutions using Azure Container Service (using a DC/OS, Docker Swarm, or Kubernetes orchestrator) , OpenShift Container Platform and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Know the differences between them.

Know that Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) is available on Azure and that there are two forms of Cloud Foundry available to run on Azure: open-source Cloud Foundry (OSS CF) and Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF). OSS CF is an entirely open-source version of Cloud Foundry managed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation. Pivotal Cloud Foundry is an enterprise distribution of Cloud Foundry from Pivotal Software Inc. If you are required to use the PCF Ops Manager, you’ll need to use PCF (not the OSS).

Identity and Networks

Understand that a Traffic Manager works at the DNS level. So, if you need to support http(s) (Layer 7 protocols), you will also need to use an Application Gateway.

Know the differences between Azure Load Balancer, Application Gateway and Traffic Manager and understand how to use them together for specific use cases (like when load balancing http/s traffic between multiple instances in multiple regions).

My second try

As I said: these are only a few topics I got during my first try. Today I did the exam again and I passed! Maybe this post will help you pass as well. Good Luck.