All posts by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and self proclaimed Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

CertificationDevOps

AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Certification Exam

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam tests and validates a candidates expertise as a DevOps Professional around the use of Microsoft Azure technologies for designing and implementing DevOps practices. This exam is a part of the required exams needed to earn the larger Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification.

Certification Target Audience

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam is geared towards DevOps Professionals who combine people, process, and tools to continuously deliver value to meet users needs and business objectives. These candidates streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improve communication and collaboration, and create automation. They design and implement strategies for app code and infrastructure that allows for continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, and continuous monitoring and feedback.

Exam candidates are expected to be proficient with Agile practices, and must be familiar with both Azure Administration and Azure Development, and should be experts in one of these areas. They must be able to design and implement DevOps practices for version control, compliance, infrastructure as code (IaC), configuration management, build, release, and testing by using Microsoft Azure technologies.

Skills Measured

Here’s a very high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam. The percentages for each objective area represents the number of questions on the exam for that particular exam objective.

Design a DevOps Strategy (20-25%)

  • Recommend a migration and consolidation strategy for DevOps tools
    • Analyze existing artifact (e.g. deployment packages, NuGet) and container repositories
    • Analyze existing test management tools
    • Analyze existing work management tools
    • Recommend migration and integration strategies for artifact repositories, source control, test management, and work management
  • Design and implement an Agile work management approach
    • Identify and recommend project metrics, KPIs, and DevOps measurements (e.g. cycle time, lead time, Azure Kubernetes Service, WIP limit)
    • Implement tools and processes to support Agile work management
    • Mentor team members on Agile techniques and practices
    • Recommend an organization structure that supports scaling Agile practices
    • Recommend in-team and cross-team collaboration mechanisms
  • Design a quality strategy
    • Analyze existing quality environment
    • Identify and recommend quality metrics
    • Recommend a strategy for feature flag lifecycle
    • Recommend a strategy for measuring and managing technical debt
    • Recommend changes to team structure to optimize quality
    • Recommend performance testing strategy
  • Design a secure development process
    • Inspect and validate code base for compliance
    • Inspect and validate infrastructure for compliance
    • Recommend a secure development strategy
    • Recommend tools and practices to integrate code security validation (e.g. static code analysis)
    • Recommend tools and practices to integrate infrastructure security validation
  • Design a tool integration strategy
    • Design a license management strategy (e.g. Azure DevOps users, concurrent pipelines, test environments, open source software licensing, DevOps tools and services, package management licensing)
    • Design a strategy for end-to-end traceability from work items to working software
    • Design a strategy for integrating monitoring and feedback to development teams
    • Design an authentication and access strategy
    • Design a strategy for integrating on-premises and cloud resources

Implement DevOps Development Processes (20-25%)

  • Design a version control strategy 
    • Recommend branching models
    • Recommend version control systems
    • Recommend code flow strategy
  • Implement and integrate source control
    • Integrate external source control
    • Integrate source control into third-party continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) systems
  • Implement and manage build infrastructure
    • Implement private and hosted agents
    • Integrate third party build systems
    • Recommend strategy for concurrent pipelines
    • Manage VSTS pipeline configuration (e.g. agent queues, service endpoints, pools, webhooks)
  • Implement code flow
    • Implement pull request strategies
    • Implement branch and fork strategies
    • Configure branch policies
  • Implement a mobile DevOps strategy
    • Manage mobile target device sets and distribution groups
    • Manage target UI test device sets
    • Provision tester devices for deployment
    • Create public and private distribution groups
  • Managing application configuration and secrets
    • Implement a secure and compliant development process
    • Implement general (non-secret) configuration data
    • Manage secrets, tokens, and certificates
    • Implement applications configurations (e.g. Web App, Azure Kubernetes Service, containers)
    • Implement secrets management (e.g. Web App, Azure Kubernetes Service, containers, Azure Key Vault)
    • Implement tools for managing security and compliance in the pipeline

Implement Continuous Integration (10-15%)

  • Manage code quality and security policies 
    • Monitor code quality
    • Configure build to report on code coverage
    • Manage automated test quality
    • Manage test suites and categories
    • Monitor quality of tests
    • Integrate security analysis tools (e.g. SonarQube, WhiteSource Bolt, Open Web Application Security Project)
  • Implement a container build strategy
    • Create deployable images (e.g. Docker, Azure Container Registry)
    • Analyze and integrate Docker multi-stage builds
  • Implement a build strategy
    • Design build triggers, tools, integrations, and workflow
    • Implement a hybrid build process
    • Implement multi-agent builds
    • Recommend build tools and configuration
    • Set up an automated build workflow

Implement Continuous Delivery (10-15%)

  • Design a release strategy 
    • Recommend release tools
    • Identify and recommend release approvals and gates
    • Recommend strategy for measuring quality of release and release process
    • Recommend strategy for release notes and documentation
    • Select appropriate deployment pattern
  • Set up a release management workflow
    • Automate inspection of health signals for release approvals by using release gates
    • Configure automated integration and functional test execution
    • Create a release pipeline (e.g. Azure Kubernetes Service, Service Fabric, WebApp)
    • Create multi-phase release pipelines
    • Integrate secrets with release pipeline
    • Provision and configure environments
    • Manage and modularize tasks and templates (e.g. task and variable groups)
  • Implement an appropriate deployment pattern
    • Implement blue-green deployments
    • Implement canary deployments
    • Implement progressive exposure deployments
    • Scale a release pipeline to deploy to multiple endpoints (e.g. deployment groups, Azure Kubernetes Service, Service Fabric)

Implement Dependency Management (5-10%)

  • Design a dependency management strategy
    • Recommend artifact management tools and practices
    • Abstract common packages to enable sharing and reuse
    • Inspect codebase to identify code dependencies that can be converted to packages
    • Identify and recommend standardized package types and versions across the solution
    • Refactor existing build pipelines to implement version strategy that publishes packages
  • Manage security and compliance
    • Inspect open source software packages for security and license compliance to align with corporate standards (e.g. GPLv3)
    • Configure build pipeline to access package security and license rating (e.g. Black Duck, White Source)
    • Configure secure access to package feeds

Implement Application Infrastructure (15-20%)

  • Design an infrastructure and configuration management strategy 
    • Analyze existing and future hosting infrastructure
    • Analyze existing Infrastructure as Code technologies
    • Design a strategy for managing technical debt on templates
    • Design a strategy for using transient infrastructure for parts of a delivery lifecycle
    • Design a strategy to mitigate infrastructure state drift
  • Implement Infrastructure as Code
    • Create nested resource templates
    • Manage secrets in resource templates
    • Provision Azure resources
    • Recommend an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) strategy
    • Recommend appropriate technologies for configuration management
  • Manage Azure Kubernetes Service infrastructure 
    • Provision Azure Kubernetes Service (e.g. using ARM templates, CLI)
    • Create deployment file for publishing to Azure Kubernetes Service (e.g. kubectl, Helm)
    • Develop a scaling plan
  • Implement infrastructure compliance and security 
    • Implement compliance and security scanning
    • Prevent drift by using configuration management tools
    • Set up an automated pipeline to inspect security and compliance

Implement Continuous Feedback (10-15%)

  • Recommend and design system feedback mechanisms 
    • Design practices to measure end-user satisfaction (e.g. Send a Smile, app analytics)
    • Design processes to capture and analyze user feedback from external sources (e.g. Twitter, Reddit, Help Desk)
    • Design routing for client application crash report data (e.g. HockeyApp)
    • Recommend monitoring tools and technologies
    • Recommend system and feature usage tracking tools
  • Implement process for routing system feedback to development teams 
    • Configure crash report integration for client applications
    • Develop monitoring and status dashboards
    • Implement routing for client application crash report data (e.g. HockeyApp)
    • Implement tools to track system usage, feature usage, and flow
    • Integrate and configure ticketing systems with development team’s work management system (e.g. IT Service Management connector, ServiceNow Cloud Management, App Insights work items)
  • Optimize feedback mechanisms 
    • Analyze alerts to establish a baseline
    • Analyze telemetry to establish a baseline
    • Perform live site reviews and capture feedback for system outages
    • Perform ongoing tuning to reduce meaningless or non-actionable alerts

To view the most up-to-date list of these exam objectives, please reference the official AZ-400 exam page.

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam is among the required exams necessary to earn the larger Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification. Prior to taking this exam, candidates will need to take a couple exams previously and have earned either the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate or Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. As the prerequisites show, candidates can be either Azure Administrator or Azure Developer experts, then take the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam to prove their skills as a Microsoft Azure DevOps Expert!


Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: December 17, 2018

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries. Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: December 10, 2018

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

If you haven’t checked out what Opsgility has to offer yet, please click the link below and go check out the awesome training offered!

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Development

Setup Visual Studio 2019 Development VM in Microsoft Azure Cloud

In the past the only option for writing code and building software using Visual Studio was to install it on your local machine. With technologies like Windows Hyper-V and VMWare things became less invasive by allowing you to develop software inside of a Virtual Machine (VM). With the cloud, things have become even easier. You can now easily, spin up a Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure, use it for what ever you need, then shut it down or delete it when it’s no longer needed. This can be an extremely valuable tool for any software developer, and has been possible with Visual Studio 2017 for some time now. With the first public release of Visual Studio 2019, you can now run a Visual Studio 2019 VM in Microsoft Azure too!! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: October 22, 2018

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

If you haven’t checked out what Opsgility has to offer yet, please click the link below and go check out the awesome training offered!

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: October 15, 2018

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

If you haven’t checked out what Opsgility has to offer yet, please click the link below and go check out the awesome training offered!

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: October 8, 2018

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

If you haven’t checked out what Opsgility has to offer yet, please click the link below and go check out the awesome training offered!

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure Weekly

Azure Weekly: October 1, 2018 – Microsoft Ignite Aftermath

Do you find it difficult to keep up-to-date on the frequent updates and changes in the Microsoft Azure cloud? If so, Build Azure Weekly is the solution you’ve been looking for! Build Azure Weekly is a weekly newsletter that includes all the latest Microsoft Azure Service Updates from the week in addition to links to many other blog articles, podcasts and videos from all over the Internet.

If you want to receive the newsletter in your email every week, then you’ll absolutely want to Subscribe!

The Weeks Top Links

Here are some of the most notable links from the week:

Azure Service Updates

Here’s a list of the Microsoft Azure Service Updates from over the past week:

Monthly Sponsor

If you haven’t checked out what Opsgility has to offer yet, please click the link below and go check out the awesome training offered!

Are you looking for a clear and outlined path to learn Microsoft Azure? No matter if you’re a Developer, IT Pro, or Architect, Opsgility has courses that will help you learn how to build and implement solutions within Microsoft Azure more affectively and efficiently. The on-demand and instructor-led courses from Opsgility offer maximum flexibility to learn how you learn best, and to help your team grow into the cloud experts you need them to be in an efficient manner.

Opsgility is the leading Microsoft cloud technology trainer for developers and IT professionals, built around an esteemed network of industry experts and technical authors that includes Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Insiders in more than 10 countries.

Get started today with Microsoft Dev Essentials and get 3 months Free of Opsgility on-demand streaming service! Read More

Azure StackAzure WeeklyEvents

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Top Announcements: Build Azure Weekly Special – September 25, 2018

microsoftigniteThis week in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft is hosting the 2018 Microsoft Ignite conference. Ignite is the largest Microsoft technology conference held every year. In fact, the attendee numbers are in the range of 20,000+ people in attendance. This year, there seems to have been more Microsoft Azure related announcements made at, or around, the conference than in years past. In addition, there are many other Microsoft announcements that have been made as well.

This special edition of Build Azure Weekly highlights the top Microsoft Azure related announcements made by Microsoft at, or around, the Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference. Be aware, this is a pretty long list, and doesn’t even include all the announcement made this week! Read More

CertificationDevelopment

AZ-201 Microsoft Azure Developer Advanced Solutions Certification Exam

lrn_azure-developer-associateThe AZ-201 Microsoft Azure Developer Advanced Solutions certification exam tests and validates your expertise as an Azure Developer. This exam tests your expertise across all phases of the Azure development process; from solution design, to development and deployment, to testing and maintenance.

The AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure exam was rolled out as a replacement for the AZ-200 + AZ-201 or AZ-203 exams for earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. This was a move to simplify the process to earning this certifications based on feedback from those who have taken the exams while they were in a “Beta” state. Thanks to those early certification achievers, we all have a simplified process to follow now. Read More