Planning to emerge as a Microsoft Azure Certified Professional ? Then, Microsoft Azure AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions exam is just the right certification for you. This certification will validate your knowledge, skills, and expertise to your peers, your manager, and the industry. It gives you a valuable benchmark to use when comparing your qualifications with others’ during a job search or a performance evaluation.
But earning a professional certification from Microsoft is no child’s play. Microsoft AZ-400 exam is much more challenging and harder than the regular exams. Therefore, you need to put in a lot of extra effort, hard work, and dedication for your preparation. But before we set you on the right path for this exam lets have a quick overview of the exam details.
Microsoft Azure AZ-400: Exam Overview
Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions AZ-400 exam is intended for the DevOps professionals who have already received the badge of Azure Developer Associate or Azure Administrator Associate. Microsoft Azure AZ-400 exam measures the ability of the candidate to design a DevOps strategy and implement – DevOps development processes; dependency management; application infrastructure; and continuous integration, delivery, and feedback. The responsibilities of a DevOps professional include:
- Firstly, Streamlining delivery by optimizing practice
- Secondly, Improving communications and collaboration
- Also, Creating automation
- Moreover, Design and implement strategies for application code and infrastructure
Below you can check the basic requirements for the AZ-400 certification exam:
- Firstly, subject matter expertise working with people, processes, and technologies to continuously deliver business values
- Secondly, ability to design and implementing strategies for collaboration, code, infrastructure, source control, security, compliance, continuous integration, testing, delivery, monitoring, and feedback.
- Lastly, familiarity with both Azure administration and development and must be expert in at least one of these areas.
Now we move to the most important section of this article- Exam Format. You might want to know all about the exam details such as weightage, course content, exam duration and much more before your preparation. This helps you devise the right study plan. And in turn makes you ready to face the exam day. So lets understand what the Microsoft AZ-400 exam looks like
The Microsoft Azure AZ-400 exam consists of 40-60 questions. However, the AZ-400 exam questions will be of type multiple-choice/ multiple response questions which are to be finished within a time frame of 150 minutes. Talking about the AZ-400 passing score, you need to score at least 700 or more points in order to pass the exam. The cost for the AZ-400 certification exam is $165 USD including all the additional taxes. Additionally, the exam is available in four languages, namely English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and Korean.
Microsoft Exam AZ-400 Course Outline
Understanding the course outline of the AZ-400 exam is the next important step. It familiarises you with the exam framework. The exam course includes 7 domains. The Percentage against each domain represents its weightage in the exam. Also, these domains are divided into subtopics to provide further insights into the exam course. You should tailor your study plan around these exam topics to achieve this certification. The AZ-400 exam topics include:
AZ-400 Exam updates in the course outline as on July 13, 2022.
1. Configure processes and communications (10—15%)
Configure activity traceability and flow of work
- Plan and implement a structure for the flow of work and feedback cycles (Microsoft Documentation: How Microsoft plans with DevOps)
- Identify appropriate metrics related to flow of work, such as cycle times, time to recovery, and lead time (Microsoft Documentation: Lead Time and Cycle Time widgets)
- Integrate pipelines with work item tracking tools, such as Azure DevOps and GitHub (Microsoft Documentation: Use links to view dependencies and track related work)
- Implement traceability policies decided by development (Microsoft Documentation: End-to-end traceability)
- Integrate a repository with Azure Boards (Microsoft Documentation: Connect Azure Boards to GitHub (Cloud))
Configure collaboration and communication
- Communicate actionable information by using custom dashboards in Azure DevOps (Microsoft Documentation: About dashboards, charts, reports, & widgets)
- Document a project by using tools, such as wikis and process diagrams (Microsoft Documentation: Create a wiki for your project)
- Configure release documentation, including release notes and API documentation (Microsoft Documentation: Releases, Releases – List)
- Automate creation of documentation from Git history (Microsoft Documentation: Understand Git history simplification)
- Configure notifications by using webhooks (Microsoft Documentation: Set up notifications for changes in resource data)
2. Design and implement source control (15—20%)
Design and implement a source control strategy
- Design and implement an authentication strategy (Microsoft Documentation: Design authentication and credential strategies)
- Design a strategy for managing large files, including Git LFS and git-fat
- Design a strategy for scaling and optimizing a Git repository, including Scalar and crossrepository sharing (Microsoft Documentation: Git limits)
- Implement workflow hooks (Microsoft Documentation: Webhooks)
Plan and implement branching strategies for the source code
- Design a branch strategy, including trunk-based, feature branch, and release branch (Microsoft Documentation: Adopt a Git branching strategy)
- Design and implement a pull request workflow by using branch policies and branch protections (Microsoft Documentation: Branch policies and settings)
- Implement branch merging restrictions by using branch policies and branch protections (Microsoft Documentation: About branches and branch policies)
Configure and manage repositories
- Integrate GitHub repositories with Azure Pipelines, one of the services in Azure DevOps (Microsoft Documentation: Azure DevOps and GitHub integration overview)
- Configure permissions in the source control repository (Microsoft Documentation: Set Git repository permissions)
- Configure tags to organize the source control repository (Microsoft Documentation: Set Git repository settings and policies)
- Recover data by using Git commands (Microsoft Documentation: Git command reference)
- Purge data from source control (Microsoft Documentation: Remove access to version control files)
3. Design and implement build and release pipelines (40—45%)
Design and implement pipeline automation
- Integrate pipelines with external tools, including dependency scanning, security scanning, and code coverage (Microsoft Documentation: Securing Azure Pipelines)
- Design and implement quality and release gates, including security and governance (Microsoft Documentation: Deployment gates)
- Designing integration of automated tests into a pipeline (Microsoft Documentation: Design a CI/CD pipeline using Azure DevOps)
- Design and implement a comprehensive testing strategy (Microsoft Documentation: Testing strategy)
- Implement orchestration of tools, such as GitHub Actions and Azure Pipelines (Microsoft Documentation: Compare and contrast GitHub Actions and Azure Pipelines)
Design and implement a package management strategy
- Design a package management implementation that uses Azure Artifacts, GitHub Packages, NuGet, and npm (Microsoft Documentation: Get started with NuGet packages in Azure Artifacts)
- Design and implement package feeds, including upstream sources (Microsoft Documentation: Upstream sources)
- Design and implement a dependency versioning strategy for code assets and packages, including semantic versioning and date-based (Microsoft Documentation: Implement a versioning strategy, Package versioning)
- Design and implement a versioning strategy for pipeline artifacts (Microsoft Documentation: Implement a versioning strategy)
Design and implement pipelines
- Select a deployment automation solution, including GitHub Actions and Azure Pipelines (Microsoft Documentation: Deploy to App Service using GitHub Actions)
- Design and implement an agent infrastructure, including cost, tool selection, licenses, connectivity, and maintainability
- Develop and implement pipeline trigger rules (Microsoft Documentation: Trigger one pipeline after another)
- Develop pipelines, including classic and YAML (Microsoft Documentation: Create your first pipeline)
- Design and implement a strategy for job execution order, including parallelism and multi-stage (Microsoft Documentation: Task Parallel Library (TPL), jobs.job.strategy definition)
- Develop complex pipeline scenarios, such as containerized agents and hybrid (Microsoft Documentation: Define container jobs (YAML))
- Configure and manage self-hosted agents, including virtual machine (VM) templates and containerization (Microsoft Documentation: Run a self-hosted agent in Docker)
- Create reusable pipeline elements, including YAML templates, task groups, variables, and variable groups (Microsoft Documentation: Define variables)
- Design and implement checks and approvals by using YAML environments (Microsoft Documentation: Release deployment control using approvals)
Design and implement deployments
- Design a deployment strategy, including blue/green, canary, ring, progressive exposure, feature flags, and A/B testing (Microsoft Documentation: Progressive experimentation with feature flags)
- Design a pipeline to ensure reliable order of dependency deployments (Microsoft Documentation: Add stages, dependencies, & conditions)
- Plan for minimizing downtime during deployments by using VIP swap, load balancer, and rolling deployments (Microsoft Documentation: Swap or switch deployments in Azure Cloud Services)
- Design a hotfix path plan for responding to high-priority code fixes (Microsoft Documentation: Using a hotfix production environment)
- Implement load balancing for deployment, including Azure Traffic Manager and the Web Apps feature of Azure App Service (Microsoft Documentation: Traffic Manager)
- Implement feature flags by using Azure App Configuration Feature Manager (Microsoft Documentation: Manage feature flags in Azure App Configuration)
- Implement application deployment by using containers, binary, and scripts (Microsoft Documentation: App Service overview)
Design and implement infrastructure as code (IaC)
- Recommend a configuration management technology for application infrastructure (Microsoft Documentation: Configuration Manager)
- Implement a configuration management strategy for application infrastructure, including IaC (Microsoft Documentation: infrastructure as code (IaC))
- Define an IaC strategy, including source control and automation of testing and deployment (Microsoft Documentation: infrastructure as code (IaC))
- Design and implement desired state configuration for environments, including Azure Automation State Configuration, Azure Resource Manager, Bicep, and Azure Policy guest configuration (Microsoft Documentation: Desired State Configuration extension with Azure Resource Manager templates)
- Monitor pipeline health, including failure rate, duration, and flaky tests (Microsoft Documentation: Manage flaky tests)
- Optimize pipelines for cost, time, performance, and reliability (Microsoft Documentation: Tradeoffs for performance efficiency)
- Analyze pipeline load to determine agent configuration and capacity (Microsoft Documentation: Azure Pipelines agents)
- Design and implement a retention strategy for pipeline artifacts and dependencies (Microsoft Documentation: Set retention policies for builds, releases, and tests)
4. Develop a security and compliance plan (10—15%)
Design and implement a strategy for managing sensitive information in automation
- Implement and manage service connections (Microsoft Documentation: Manage service connections)
- Implement and manage personal access tokens (Microsoft Documentation: Use personal access tokens)
- Implement and manage secrets, keys, and certificates by using Azure Key Vault, GitHub secrets, and Azure Pipelines secrets (Microsoft Documentation: Use Azure Key Vault secrets in Azure Pipelines)
- Design and implement a strategy for managing sensitive files during deployment (Microsoft Documentation: Azure data security and encryption best practices)
- Design pipelines to prevent leakage of sensitive information (Microsoft Documentation: Design a data loss prevention policy)
Automate security and compliance scanning
- Automate analysis of source code by using GitHub code scanning, GitHub secrets scanning, pipeline-based scans, and SonarQube
- Automate security scanning, including container scanning and OWASP ZAP (Microsoft Documentation: Develop secure applications on Azure)
- Automate analysis of licensing, vulnerabilities, and versioning of open-source components by using WhiteSource and GitHub Dependency Scanning (Microsoft Documentation: DevSecOps with GitHub Security)
5. Implement an instrumentation strategy (10—15%)
Configure monitoring for a DevOps environment
- Configure and integrate monitoring by using Azure Monitor (Microsoft Documentation: Azure Monitor overview)
- Configure and integrate with monitoring tools, such as Azure Monitor and Application Insights (Microsoft Documentation: Application Insights overview)
- Manage access control to the monitoring platform (Microsoft Documentation: Manage access to Log Analytics workspaces)
- Configure alerts for pipeline events (Microsoft Documentation: Azure Monitor Alerts task)
- Inspect distributed tracing by using Application Insights (Microsoft Documentation: distributed tracing)
- Inspect application performance indicators (Microsoft Documentation: Application Insights overview)
- Inspect infrastructure performance indicators, including CPU, memory, disk, and network (Microsoft Documentation: Supported metrics with Azure Monitor)
- Identify and monitor metrics for business value (Microsoft Documentation: Using business metrics to design resilient Azure applications)
- Analyze usage metrics by using Application Insight (Microsoft Documentation: Application Insights overview)
- Interrogate logs using basic Kusto Query Language (KQL) queries (Microsoft Documentation: Log queries in Azure Monitor)
How difficult is the Microsoft Azure Exam AZ-400?
Earning a Microsoft Certification is every professionals wish. It helps them command higher salaries as well as bridges the gap for their dream job. But the most important questions is how difficult is the Microsoft Azure AZ-400? Well, one thing is certain that this exam is not unattainable. The pass rate is low but if you have the right preparation plan. Moreover, if you have prior knowledge and better understanding in the field of Azure, then the exam is no more difficult to pass. On the other hand, if this is your first time with Azure, you must primarily focus on the exam objectives. Align your learning with the exam course and concepts.
However, as discussed it is not easy to clear the certification exam. It requires a lot of practice and preparation. So to ease your preparations we have just the right thing for you coming in the next section!
Preparatory Resources for Microsoft Azure AZ-400
The preparatory resources you choose define how well you pass the exam. But with the wide variety available in the market it often becomes really difficult to select the right ones. Look no further as we present you the resources that will enrich your learning. Moreover, they will help you take your preparations to a next level.
Learn with Microsoft Documentation
Microsoft offers Microsoft documentation that contains different learning pages. Microsoft documentation helps you understand different scales of different azure services in a much detailed manner. This will make sure that you are working by the clock and learning so much new to azure technologies offered by industry experts directly to you.
Go for Instructor Led Training
Microsoft provides you with both online as well as instructor-led training that are basically on-demand classroom sessions that you can easily arrange anywhere and anytime according to your convenience. Moreover, these training sessions help you gain an upper hand in the AZ-400 exam. The course for the AZ-400 exam includes:
Choose the Relevant Books
Books have been an age-old tradition and essential ingredient when it comes to preparing for any exam. They provide a deep understanding of the exam concepts. Also, books offer real-life scenarios that help you prepare for a practical exam. You can refer to AZ-400 book according to your level of understanding and other requirements.
- Firstly, The DevOps Adoption Playbook: A Guide to Adopting DevOps in a Multi-Speed IT Enterprise by Sanjeev Sharma
- Secondly, DevOps: A Software Architect’s Perspective (SEI Series in Software Engineering) by Lenn Bass, Ingo Weber, and Liming Zhu.
Online Tutorials are the easiest way to digest the exam information. They supplement your preparations and provide you the path for your exam. Learn with Online Tutorials to boost your confidence and enhance your knowledge.
Evaluate yourself with Practice Test
Mistakes are inevitable, but surely, they can be limited. When it comes to exams, practice papers help a lot in limiting mistakes. Moreover, training the brain is very essential. Practice papers give that simulation in which the brain needs to get used to the actual exam. Therefore after completing the entire syllabus you need to deal with AZ-400 Sample Tests to assess your performance. This will help you out find your strengths and iron out your weaknesses. Moreover, attempting multiple practice tests will boost your confidence. Try outperforming yourself with each subsequent test. Get Ready to Self Evaluate your preparations with AZ-400 FREE PRACTICE TEST!