I recently obtained the Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions (70-473) Microsoft certificate and this makes it the 2nd "Azure related" certification I have achieved, the previous one being the Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-534) Microsoft certificate.
Based on Microsoft's certification path, this makes me a MCSA: Cloud Platform Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate and puts me right on track to obtain the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.
The latest Microsoft certification path can be found here.
I am not exactly an advocate for IT certifications, however its no denying it takes a certain discipline and real-life experience to pull through. To be honest, if it weren't for it being a "Compliance" requirement (aka. stay employed) by my employer, I may not have taken the trouble to go thru with it.
These exams isn't exactly a walk in the park. Despite Microsoft claiming "it's not a test designated to trick you"...It's seems tricky enough with a lot of potentially close answers to the questions! Also, at times it has questions that may seem totally out of the agenda, like knowing how to tune a particular query using SSMS graphical execution.. hint! hint! ;-) It also doesn't help that Azure services can change often and a particular service tier may change in features that may not be reflected during the exam, though it seems Microsoft is pretty good at updating or keeping their questions generic enough.
Having said that, here's my general guide and tips on how to prepare for Exam 70-473.
First, go thru the Certification Overview at Microsoft Virtual Academy. This gives you a good overview of the features and functions in Azure Data Platform and what to look out for in the exam. Take a special note of any T-SQL and PowerShell scripts highlighted in the slides as these will be important !
Next, register a Free Azure account if you haven't had one. It's best to hands-on some of the implementation steps to get really familiar with a feature.
Where's the best source to obtain study and hands-on material? It's definitely Microsoft's own Azure Documentation!
Provision an Azure SQL Database, practice and understand the following:
know your Service Tier
create an Azure SQL Database
load data to an Azure SQL Database
copy a Database
manage Elastic Pools
create Logins and Users
create an Audit
implement Transparent Data Encryption
implement Always Encrypted
understand Dynamic Data Masking
perform a Database Recovery
understand Elastic queries and steps to Implement it
know your DMVs for monitoring
understand Alerts available thru Azure Portal
understand Query Insight
create a Runbook
schedule a Runbook in Azure Automation
As you can see, a lot of the exam materials will be on Azure SQL Database, hence knowing as much details as possible in this area is important. Next, provision a SQL Server in Azure IaaS, practice and understand the following:
know your general purpose VM sizes
provision a VM in Azure
understand methods to Migrate to a SQL Server IaaS
deploy Always On Availability Group
perform a Backup to Azure storage
know the Performance best practices for SQL Server IaaS
understand Audit policy in SQL Server, this is good blog I found that explains the fundamentals well.
create Extended Events
overview on Point-to-Site, Site-to-Site and Express Route. Create a Point-to-Site connectivity.
know your Endpoints
Practicing and knowing the above materials at heart should allow you to pass the exam. This is roughly the same path I took to prepare myself. What are the key points to memorize?
- All the T-SQL and PowerShell commands to implement the features stated above. This exam is quite T-SQL and PowerShell heavy, hence know the commands well is imperative!
- The Order of the implementation steps. For example on implementing elastic query,
- CREATE MASTER KEY mymasterkey
- CREATE DATABASE SCOPED CREDENTIAL mycredential
- CREATE/DROP EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE mydatasource of type RDBMS
- CREATE/DROP EXTERNAL TABLE mytable
Sleep well, drink a Brand's Essence of Chicken in the morning, (disclaimer: i am not related to Brands in any way) and Good Luck !