Passed Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert (AZ-400)

Today I have finished my Azure certification path by successfully passing the AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam. This exam measures your ability to accomplish the following technical tasks: design a DevOps strategy, implement DevOps development processes, implement continuous integration, continuous delivery, dependency management, application infrastructure, and continuous feedback.

The exam consists of 2 case studies, 12 lab tasks, 42 test questions that must be answered in 180 minutes. I had two lab tasks that couldn’t be finished because of Azure environment issues (exam’s account didn’t have required permissions on Azure resources to complete certain sub-tasks). Fortunately, I was pretty sure for overall result and, after speaking with proctor, decided to jump into the next exam’s sections.

How to prepare

  1. You must either earn the Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certification
  2. You must have an active Azure DevOps account. The Azure Pipelines and Azure Repos are needed at least.
  3. Check out the free Azure/DevOps training courses (AZ-400 OpenEDX that’s based on MCT training guides and AzureDevOps Labs). In addition, there are a lot of videos at Pluralsight for getting started with Azure DevOps and understand DevOps principles.
  4. The labs are all about Azure Services (IaaS/PaaS/IaC), so you must know how to prepare environments for CD, environment types and differences between them, make IaC, understand security options for each Azure resource, CI/CD. Also, I was pretty surprised to see the lab tasks to be completed on localhost file system before pushing the code to Azure.
  5. The certification will be valid only for 2 years, so keep learning and practice every day! I wish you good luck on the exam and may the force be with you.

Public preview of Azure Cloud Shell

At the recent Build conference, Microsoft officially announced public preview of Azure Cloud Shell browser-accessible, pre-configured shell experience for managing Azure resources without the overhead of installing, versioning, and maintaining a machine yourself.

Cloud Shell runs entirely on containers orchestrated by Kubernetes and shows us just another example of how container technology can revolutionize solutions built on Azure.

Machine for Cloud Shell is not persistent and temporary provided on a per-request basis (1 machine per 1 user, permissions are set as a regular Linux user). That machine’s hosting is free. You just need to pay for storage that it consumes (file share –> described later in this post).

Cloud Shell comes with the support of well known tools and languages:

Category Name
Azure Tools Azure CLI 2.0 and 1.0
Linux shell interpreter Bash,sh
Text editors vim,nano,emacs
Containers Docker,Kubectl, DC/OS CLI
Language Version
.NET 1.01
Go 1.7
Node.js 6.9.4
Python 2.7 and 3.5
More: use this link

It supports Bash experience so far. Everyone’s favorite PowerShell is coming soon. You can try the new shell today by pressing the special icon at the top navigation bar of the Azure portal.

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The new storage account (LRS), resources group and file share will be created during one-time setup.

  • Resource group is named: cloud-shell-storage-
  • Storage Account: cs-uniqueGuid
  • File Share: cs—com-uniqueGuid

As Cloud Shell’s machine is temporary, file share makes possible to persist your bash $Home directory. This file share will mount as clouddrive under your $Home directory and it’s also used to store a 5 GB image created for you that automatically updates and persists your $Home directory as well (see the pic below, acc_<username>.img).

Note: you pay only for this file share. There are no any  additional compute costs.

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To download/upload files you can use portal as usual. For example, I created txt-file in my clouddrive and would like to download it to my local machine. So, I need to open the file share associated with cloud shell, locate the file “text.txt” and just hit “Download”.

To add some files from local machine to clouddrive, use the “Upload” button and then check result by running cd clouddrive and  ls in the cloud shell session

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As you may noticed, Cloud Shell automatically authenticates on each session for instant access to your resources through the Azure CLI 2.0. You can even use the interactive mode for Azure CLI 2.0 to ease scripting and save a lot of time

azure shell

Each cloud shell session times out after 10 minutes without any activities

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That’s great, but that is not the whole news

Cloud Shell is also embedded directly in docs.microsoft.com and it makes Azure CLI samples in documentation fully interactive. To evaluate this new functionality, go to Azure CLI 2.0 documentation, log in to Cloud Shell by clicking “Try it” and start learning in just a new way.

azure cloud shell and docs

Some more examples

Creating VM in the cloud shell

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List of VMs in the resource group with customized output

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