Passing Exam 70-534 - Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

It is three years since I deployed my first web application in Azure. Back then the cloud looked differently, offered much less functionality, though I got hooked up right away. I used Azure for different commercial and non-commercial projects, ranging from web sites to scalable storage and analytics solutions. Therefore I thought it might be a good decision to fill the knowledge gaps and verify my skills by taking an exam 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solution.

About the exam

Preparation for this is exam requires a lot of time. No matter if you have been using Azure for years or just a few months. It’s all about differences in the services, suggesting the best pricing plan keeping in mind limitations in offerings. Might sound boring, but I realized I had huge knowledge gaps. The logic behind SLAs, and what has to be fulfilled to have an SLA. Various options for hybrid connectivity and security. Backups.

I have a bad habit of going through documentation in detail only when something fails. For security and backups it might be too late. I needed a motivation. Signing up for the exam worked like a charm.

Do you need 70-534?

According to comments, 70-534 is the craziest from all Azure exams. Remember, if you want to get an MCSE certification, this exam is not mandatory! Instead, you can go straight to 70-532 Developing Azure Solutions and 70-533 Implementing Azure Infrastructure to get MCSA Cloud Platform, and then something easier from the list ex. 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Solutions.

I passed 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Solutions a year ago, and now 70-534 was enough to get MCSA Cloud Platform. To get MCSE, I need one more so I plan to take 70-532 Developing Azure Solutions in the upcoming weeks.

Learning Resources

Tudor Toma wrote an extensive blog post about it, listed the learning resources materials and shared his tips. I couldn’t agree more.

Other observations

  • I got three vouchers, retake and two MeasureUp coupons for the price of two exams, during a sale released by Pearson VUE or Microsoft. I don’t remember now, but the point is, if you plan to take a few exams, there might be some discounts for the whole pack.
  • MeasureUp for 70-534 is a waste of time. If you plan to buy it, my recommendations would be DON’T. Questions and use cases remind the questions in the exam. HOWEVER. You need to read tons of official documentation, that is not always consistent (it’s difficult to keep it up to date when everything is changing so fast). You need to remember disk sizes, limitations, different keywords. That’s already messy. You don’t want MeasureUp to flood your brain with additional explanations, which are obsolete or far from the truth.
  • Some questions don’t allow you to come back. You know the use case, business, and technical requirements. And then there is a question listing a few Azure services, where you need to tell either this is a good fit or not. It’s like a poker game, especially if you mark TRUE and then the next question lists different Azure services that are a better fit.
  • Microsoft Certifications explained -
  • Learning materials and tips -
  • Azure subscription and service limits, quotas, and constraints -
  • Nice overview of Azure services -