I was super happy to pass the recently released AZ-140 exam – Configuring and Operating Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, which is just out of Beta.
In this blog, I want to share with you my experiences with the exam and what I believe should be your focus points with some good resources.
First of all, for whom is this exam?
I would recommend this certification for all administrators, architects, or EUC enthusiasts that want to prove their knowledge of the technology. If you’re already familiar with general cloud concepts, Microsoft Azure administration, creation of virtual machines, virtual networks, and storage accounts, that’s a good foundation.
Generally, Microsoft is challenging you on the following knowledge areas:
- Plan an Azure Virtual Desktop Architecture (10-15%)
- Implement an Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (25-30%)
- Manage Access and Security (10-15%)
- Manage User Environments and Apps (20-25%)
- Monitor and Maintain an Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (20-25%)
If I go a bit more in detail what kind of topics have been asked in each knowledge area.
Plan an Azure Virtual Desktop Architecture
In my case, I had questions to evaluate how many users/session hosts are required if I want to cover a specific scenario. For example, if you plan to have 5 virtual machines acting as session hosts and you allow 8 users pers session – what are the maximum numbers of users that can operate in a host pool?
Additionally, you should make yourself familiar with Site-2-Site VPNs and Express Routes. There might be questions around calculating the needed bandwidth for users connecting to WVD through a VPN from different sites.
Another thing that I highly encourage you to review is Azure NetApp Files. While storage is key for a good user performance, make sure that you understand what it needs to create a Capacity Pool and a Volume, as well as backing them up via Snapshots.
Implement an Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
This chapter is really about putting Azure Virtual Desktop in place. You must know what the core terminology of Azure Virtual Desktop is, when talking about Workspaces, Application Groups, Host Pools, Session Hosts and where the differences and limitations are. If you want to give access to specific applications for example, you don’t configure something on your Session Hosts, you should most likely start granting access through Application Groups.
Another huge part that you should be very familar with is, how to configure Microsoft Teams correctly to be used in AVD. You must know what the WebSocket Redirection service is and how to install Microsoft Teams. (Tip! It’s the ALLUSER=1 parameter when installing the MSI)
What you should know as well is how to benefit from Azure files, while joining the storage account to your on-premises AD! The Azure Academy provides you with a genius video about this!
Manage Access and Security
Security and Identity Management are key to harden your Azure Virtual Desktop environment. Make sure that you understand the concept of Conditional Access (Tip! review Sign-In Risk policies). Here we also have several valuable community resources, that I don’t want to hide from you! I recommend you to review the session of Simon Binder – Secure WVD Inside Out, as he covers all the topics you must know to pass this area.
Manage User Environments and Apps
Make sure that you understand how to add new applications to the Application Group via Powershell (important to review!). And don’t get nervous if you get asked to update an application automatically. Additionally, make sure that you understand what you need to get a user privileged to use Azure Virtual Desktop. Do you need to assign licenses to use a specific product? What kind of Group Policies do you need to put in place to automatically log the user off?
My tip is, have a look at autoscaling of Session Hosts for Azure Virtual Dekstop!
For best preparation, have a look at Dean’s video from the Azure Academy.
Monitor and Maintain an Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
In the last chapter, I got a few questions around Azure Monitor and Log Analytics workspace. Make sure that you make yourself familiar on how to set this up. You should also understand what you need to take care of in case that you need to extend your host pool or set session hosts into drain mode.
Again, I can just recommend you to have a look at our weekly newsletter, being released from this week always on Thursday afternoon. Additionally, a must watch is the Azure Academy video series on the AZ-140. Dean is covering nearly everything that you need to know.
My personal tip for you, have a look at Azure NetApp Files, Microsoft Teams installation and READ CAREFULLY!
Otherwise I wish you best of luck for exam take and let me know how everything went or if you need help in your preparation phase!