Azure Certification guide: AZ-103 / AZ-104

Now the time has come for a guide on how to succeed in the Azure Administrator Associate exam

I managed to succeed this one on Ignite 2019 where the possibility to do exams the whole week free! There was though based on the amount of attendees a limit of one (1) per person.

Skills measured:

  • Manage Azure subscriptions and resources (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (15-20%)
  • Deploy and manage virtual machines (VMs) (15-20%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networks (30-35%)
  • Manage identities (15-20%)

As you might see on the cert page there is a transition now happening and as the content have changed quite a bit there is a good idea to do the AZ-104 instead to be future proof!

Learning resources:

I used some different resources for preparing me, I have already the 70-533 in the bagage so I did have some understanding of the administrator exams..

First of all the Microsoft learn have a learning path that covers a great deal of the required skills.

Secondly I used a book from Packt written by Sjoukje Zaal that was very good and got me even more prepared.

The book goes through the different skills required in a structured way and helps in the learning process.

What you learn from the book:

  • Configure Azure subscription policies and manage resource groups
  • Monitor activity log by using Log Analytics
  • Modify and deploy Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates
  • Protect your data with Azure Site Recovery
  • Learn how to manage identities in Azure
  • Monitor and troubleshoot virtual network connectivity
  • Manage Azure Active Directory Connect, password sync, and password writeback

Good luck in your preparations and hope you will be as successful as me!

Azure Certification guide: AZ-900

Last year I took the exams AZ-900, AZ-103 and AZ-301 and wanted to give you an insight into how I studied and what you need to do to have a successful shot at the exams.

AZ – 900

In this first post I will go through the resources for AZ-900. The exam page on Microsoft Learn takes you to the exam registration and also a detailed list on what you need to know!

Skills measured

  • Understand cloud concepts (15-20%)
  • Understand core Azure services (30-35%)
  • Understand security, privacy, compliance, and trust (25-30%)
  • Understand Azure pricing and support (20-25%)

Resources:

I used two different resources for preparing for the exam. That being said I have been working with Azure for some years so maybe if you are new to the Microsoft cloud you might need to do some more studying!

First I used Openedx but their AZ-900 course have been closed down. Microsoft Partner site have an alternative that you can utilize, it is a virtual course that is recorded. Secondly I used Microsoft Learn that has a learning path that is really good!

Good luck on your Azure adventure!

Azure Hybrid Virtual Event

Update: The event has been rescheduled to 24th of June

Me and Julia on last years Microsoft Ignite

On Tuesday the 31 of March Corporate VP of Azure, Julia White will talk about hybrid cloud on a webinar. The time of the event is 8-9 PST or 17-18 CET

Learn on-premises, multicloud, and the edge. And, be among the first to hear about the latest innovations in Azure Arc and Azure Stack—two game-changing hybrid cloud offerings from Microsoft.  

There will be some nice announcements on Azure Stack and Azure Arc so do tune in and watch!

sign up here

Azure Portal App

There is a new preview of a Azure Portal App that lets you use the Azure Portal without any other browser available, this is a great thing if you have a Windows Server as your main go-to jumpbox that you do things in and as we know it is by default not possible to run Edge browser in Windows Server and you are stuck with Internet Explorer and that alone makes you go bananas and also that browser is some serious legacy thingy.

First you go to https://preview.portal.azure.com/app/Download

once downloaded and installed you can then sign into your azure account to start utilizing the app and manage your cloud resources

As you can see it is like any other browser experience of the Azure portal and you can of course also start an cloud shell.

Of course the option to install chrome or firefox also works as an alternative, although some companies have restrictions on third party software being installed within their server environments…

Windows Admin Center 1903

With the preview of Windows Admin Center 1903 that now is available in the insiders you now have some new extensions that make life even easier than before administering AD, DHCP and DNS.

Once upgraded I go into the portal and there I find the new extensions.

And after installing them I can go to an domain controller and instantly administer user and computer objects

So please replace your old domain controllers and let go of the GUI option when you do it!

happy playing!

Bin file left on Hyper-V VM

We have an upgraded Hyper-V cluster from 2012 R2 to 2016 and I wanted to make some more space on the volume that it resides on so I started looking on the settings of the VMs. As I concluded in another blog post there can be a discussion about if we really need the setting of “Save VM state” for the VM´s in a Hyper-V cluster. It is viable to have this setting on VM´s that reside on a standalone host and if doing maintenance it saves the state of the VM during host reboot.

So what is the thing here, well some of the VM´s in this cluster have got their VM version upgraded to 8.0 but some was still on 5.0. If i just check on the SC VMM I could find the VM´s configured with “Save VM” and amount of storage that they consume.

But when checking the storage where the VM reside I noticed that the value above did not match the size. With the following PowerShell I check for the files that have the ending of .bin (2012 r2 and older format) and also .vmrs (that is the 2016+ format)

Apparently some of the VM´s that have been upgraded from 5.0 have their bin file still in the subfolder.

To fix this I did a report of the files and then a delete, as the file is not in use in a 8.0 VM I could do it when it was online

Running the following on your VM´s disable the “SaveVM” and if you then upgrade to VM version 8.0 after that you will not get a duplicate issue 🙂

Happy HyperVing out there

How to Test-AzureStack

Running and operating an Azure Stack either on a DevKit or a integrated system can be a hurdle and sometimes you need to know the state of the stamp and the portal does not always show everything.

Connecting an session to a emergency recovery console and kicking of a Test-AzureStack can give you some more insights to what is the state of the system.

Test-AzureStack:

If you want to know more and see the state you better look at the parameters of Test-AzureStack because there are some hidden gems there! If you run with a -ServiceAdminCredential some@azsaad.onmicrosoft.com you will get some information and see what actually works on the stamp in regards of deployment and usage of the base RP´s.

If you do not want to run all Test-AzureStack tests you can specify running just -Include AzsScenarios and thus only running Operator and User Scenarios and not all other tests with fabric and storage etc. There is another parameter -timeout that can be used if you need more time for the test to run

a successful Test-Azurestack -Include AzsScenarios

One thing to consider is that it is cumbersome to utilize a serviceadmin credential that is MFA-enabled for the Test-AzureStack and that you have to set up a separate account for this test.

Windows Server 2019 on Hyper-V 2016

Now finally Microsoft have updated the misleading documentation on supported guest os within Hyper-V. This is quite important as some people tend to get stuck on small details and as my good friend Didier wrote on his blog, Hyper-V supports guest OS n+1, although that now gets a bit altered with the semi-anual releases.

old doc page

Now the docs page is updated and shows the following:

updated docs page

Automatic VM activation heads-up!

There is though a small or big thing that needs to be considered if you have an environment with Hyper-V servers and utilize the AVMA. If you plan to deploy Server 2019 guest VM´s there is no way to get them auto activated on a 2016 Hyper-V host.

If you are a bit more old fashioned and utilize a KMS you will just need a KMS server that is newer than 2012 as the key for 2019 needs the KMS to be hosted on at least a 2012R2 Windows Server!

Upgrading my homelab to Server 2019

My homelab environment consists of two Intel NUC and I have been playing around with the insiders previews of Server 2019 on one of them and the other one was running Server 2016.

As you might know there is a bit of a hustle of the nic drivers with the server versions of Windows and the Intel NUC´s so there are some steps to get it working. I had some issues where the nic failed during in-place upgrade between preview versions of 2019 and as I do not have a KVM I had to move the NUC to a monitor and fix it. To get the drivers in I had to set the server into test mode:

After I did this and rebooted the server I could update the nic drivers that I already had modified as per this blog post.

I wanted to test and update my 2016 server with an in-place upgrade without moving it from the closet and as a precaution I changed to test mode first and then started the update…

After the upgrade went through successfully I changed back to non-test-mode:

I had a small issue with the Windows Update after the upgrade and it would not finish installing the CU of 2018-12… As a mitigation if this I went for the command line tool of System File Checker, SFC and the parameter /Scannow I also did a Dism repair and after these two successfully ran I could continue with the Windows Update!


Happy NUC-playing with 2019 🙂