How to Prepare for the AZ-305 Exam : Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions


Greetings, folks! As the title above says, this article will share how to pass Exam AZ-305: Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions and get certified as an Azure Solutions Architect. 

This certification is currently one of the most demanded cloud certifications in the market for the cloud-related role. The solutions architect role in the US market starts with a salary of $125,000 for the entry role and can be up to $180,000 for the experienced architect. 

Even if you’re not looking to be a Solutions Architect, this certification can open doors for those who are planning to move to a cloud technical role.

But, this exam is not as easy as the ABC. Fret not, continue reading as we will explain how to pass this exam shortly.

In order for you to take this exam, you must pass Exam AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator, which is an associate exam level.

As the AZ-305 exam is at the expert level, you must get certified as an Azure Administrator and only then you can sit for the exam. 

Do not worry, if you haven’t passed AZ-104 as we will share the article link below on how to pass AZ-104.

The prerequisite requirement shows the professional must demonstrate advanced knowledge in cloud domains such as monitoring, networking, virtualization, DevOps, backup and disaster recovery and governance to obtain AZ-305 certification.

AZ-305 Exam Overview:

  • Expert level (Prerequisite to pass AZ-104)
  • Valid for one year

  • The cost is $165 for the United States or ₹4800 INR for India or £113 for the United Kingdom (The cost varies depending on where your country is and you can check the exam cost here)

  • The exam duration is 120 minutes (no lab)

  • The number of questions ranges between 45 to 60 questions

  • The format of questions is multiple-choice or multiple response, including drag and drop

  • The passing score is 700. This exam is scaled between 1 to 1000 so 700 marks may not equal 70% of the points.

  • To schedule for the exam, you can go to this link and click on the yellow ‘Schedule Exam’ button and it will redirect you to the Microsoft certification dashboard. You may choose to take the exam in the nearest exam center or by online proctored exam.

  • The exam is available to take in these languages:English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Italian, Indonesian (Indonesia)

The AZ-305 exam is measuring the skills of the test taker in designing identity, governance, and monitoring solutions; design data storage solutions; design business continuity solutions; and design infrastructure solutions. Let’s break it down so that we can see each skill in details.

AZ-305 Exam Content:

A) Design identity, governance, and monitoring solutions (25-30%)

i) Design a solution for logging and monitoring

• Design a log routing solution 

• Recommend an appropriate level of logging 

• Recommend monitoring tools for a solution 

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design Azure monitor data sources, Log Analytics, Azure workbooks and Azure Insights and Azure Data Explorer


ii & iii) Design authentication and authorization solutions & identities and access for applications

• Recommend a solution for securing resources with role-based access control 

• Recommend an identity management solution 

• Recommend a solution for securing identities 

• Recommend solutions to allow applications to access Azure resources 

• Recommend a solution that securely stores passwords and secrets 

• Recommend a solution for integrating applications into Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), part of Microsoft Entra 

• Recommend a user consent solution for applications

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design for Azure Active Directory, Azure Active Directory B2B & B2C, conditional access, identity protection, access reviews, service principals for applications, and Azure key vault.


iv) Design governance

• Recommend an organizational and hierarchical structure for Azure resources 

• Recommend a solution for enforcing and auditing compliance

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design management group, Azure subscriptions, resource groups, resource tagging, Azure policy and Role-Based Access (RBAC) and Azure Blueprints 

B) Design data storage solutions (25-30%)

i) Design a data storage solution for relational data

• Recommend database service tier sizing

• Recommend a solution for database scalability

• Recommend a solution for encrypting data at rest, data in transmission, and data in use

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design data storage, Azure SQL databases, Azure SQL Edge, Azure Cosmos DB and tables, and design security for data at rest, data in transmission; and data in use. 


ii) Design a data storage solution for non-relational data

• Recommend access control solutions to data storage

• Recommend a data storage solution to balance features, performance; and cost

• Design a data solution for protection and durability

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design data storage, Azure storage accounts, data redundancy, Azure Blob storage, Azure files, Azure disk solutions and storage security for non-relational data.


iii) Design data integration

• Recommend a solution for data integration

• Recommend a solution for data analysis

• Recommend a data storage solution

• Recommend a solution for storing relational data

• Recommend a solution for storing semi-structured data

• Recommend a solution for storing non-relational data

In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design a data integration solution with Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Lake, Azure Databricks, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Stream Analytics and how to design a strategy for hot/warm/cold data path

C) Design business continuity solutions (10-15%)

i) Design a solution for backup and disaster recovery

• Recommend a recovery solution for Azure, hybrid, and on-premises workloads that meet recovery objectives (Recovery Time Objective [RTO], Recovery Level Objective [RLO], Recovery Point Objective [RPO])

• Understand the recovery solutions for containers

• Recommend a backup and recovery solution for compute

• Recommend a backup and recovery solution for databases

• Recommend a backup and recovery solution for unstructured data 

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design Azure backup, Azure blob backup and recovery, Azure Files backup and recovery, Azure virtual machine backup and recovery, Azure SQL backup and recovery and Azure Site Recovery


ii) Design for high availability

• Identify the availability requirements of Azure resources

• Recommend a high availability solution for compute

• Recommend a high availability solution for non-relational data storage

• Recommend a high availability solution for relational data storage

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design for high availability of Azure services, including Azure Front Door and Azure Traffic Manager

D) Design infrastructure solutions (25-30%)

i) Design a compute solution

• Recommend a virtual machine–based compute solution

• Recommend an appropriately sized compute solution based on workload requirements

• Recommend a container-based compute solution

• Recommend a serverless-based compute solution

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design with compute service, how to design Azure virtual machines, Azure batch solutions, Azure app services, Azure Container Instances solution, Azure Kubernetes Service solutions, Azure Function solutions and Azure Logic App solutions.


ii) Design an application architecture

• Recommend a caching solution for applications

• Recommend a messaging architecture

• Recommend an event-driven architecture

• Recommend an automated deployment solution for your applications

• Recommend an application configuration management solution

• Recommend a solution for API integration

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design a messaging solution, an event solution (Event Hub and Event Grid), an application optimization solution and application lifecycle.


iii) Design migrations

• Evaluate a migration solution that leverages the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

• Assess and interpret on-premises servers, data, and applications for migration

• Recommend a solution for migrating applications and virtual machines

• Recommend a solution for migrating databases

• Recommend a solution for migrating unstructured data 

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding to identify migration tools including Azure Migrate, Azure File Sync, Data Box Family


iv) Design network solutions

• Recommend a network architecture solution based on workload requirements

• Recommend a connectivity solution that connects Azure resources to the internet

• Recommend a connectivity solution that connects Azure resources to on-premises networks

• Optimize network performance for applications

• Recommend a solution to optimize network security

• Recommend a load balancing and routing solution

•• In summary, this skill requires understanding on how to design for on-premises connectivity to Azure virtual networks using Azure network services including Azure VPN, ExpressRoute and network topology.

It also requires understanding on how to design application protection services by utilizing Azure firewall and other relevant Azure network services

How to Prepare for AZ-305 Exam:

Qwiklabs

It is highly recommended to study using Microsoft Learn as the syllabus is organized and easy to follow.

Although the AZ-305 exam does not have any lab and you will not find any lab when going through Microsoft Learn, it’s best to revise all the things you have gone through for the AZ-104 exam especially for the labs. 

This is because, in my experience, some of the AZ-104 questions are being repeated in the AZ-305 exam. Thus, it’s best to exercise caution and prepare well to tackle the AZ-305 exam.

YouTube Tutorials

Aside from Microsoft Learn, I would like to suggest another free online training, which is YouTube Azure courses by John Savill. He has created an AZ-305 playlist and you can explore more here. I’ve been using his YouTube channel to learn AZ-104 and to keep up with the latest update from Azure. 

Udemy Courses

Other than free YouTube videos, I did use Udemy extensively to study AZ-305 exam. For instructor-led training, this course from Nick Colyer is good as it offers 22.5 hours of lecture videos and his explanations are easy to understand. 

Practice Exams

Another suggestion is for the practice exam, I would like to share a course by KloudSaga. It offers six practice exams and for a discount coupon you can visit the KloudSaga website. They also offer multiple Azure certification practice exams and use the discount coupon (usually at the bottom of the homepage) when you purchase their course in Udemy.

How much time does it take to prepare for AZ-305 Exam:

In my personal experience, I spent almost 80 hours to prepare myself for the AZ-305 exam. The mantra is practice, practice; and practice until you make it.

But if you don’t feel confident about taking the exam, you can always postpone the exam 24 hours before the exam appointment. To reschedule, you can use the exam email reminder sent by Microsoft and there will be an instruction on how to reschedule if you wish to do so. 

How To Renew AZ-305

We have seen a lot of articles discussing how to pass the AZ-305 exam but those did not include how the renewal of AZ-305 works. To remedy that, here are the steps to renew your AZ-305 certificate.

Microsoft will send you a reminder to renew your AZ-305 exam within 180 days before the certificate expires. However, if you did not receive such an email, you can always check at Microsoft Learn Certifications.

When the certification is eligible to renew, you will find a ‘Renew’ button and an extension date of expiration. Always be vigilant and check your certifications from time to time so that you will not miss out on the renewal period.

Otherwise, if the certificate has expired, you need to retake the exam and pay the exam cost and go through the certification process again.

To prepare for AZ-305 renewal, Microsoft Learn is sufficient. You can go through the syllabus to refresh your memory. The best part is that the renewal exam is an open-book assessment and you can retake (free) as much as you need to pass.

The passing mark is only 57% and there are 25 to 30 questions. The assessment is not timed, so you can take your time to answer the questions. 

Conclusion

We have reached the conclusion of the article and the only advice I can give is to practice as much as you can and always keep up with the latest exam syllabus by checking Microsoft Learn.

I hope you found this article helpful in your journey to be an Azure Solutions Architect. I wish you all the best and good luck!

About the author

Youssef

Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of ITCertificate.org

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