July 22, 2022

Microsoft Learn – DP-300 Path

I recently was tasked with reviewing the educational materials available to determine where my teams time would best be spent. I reviewed a three part course from LinkedIn Learning and the learning path for Microsoft’s DP-300 exam offered through Microsoft Learn.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of both options, but I was absolutely blown away by the content and depth of the learn path.
There are 7 learning paths for the entire thing, comprising 21 modules, 170 units with an estimated 18:15 hours (or 1095 minutes)! Not every unit was amazing, of course, but there is enough good quality material for a junior or intermediate DBA to soak up, and plenty of great content for a more senior DBA who’s looking to brush up or hone their Azure knowledge.

Introduction to Azure database administration

With just the one module, this is exactly what it claims: and introduction to environment and options available. There’s some good detail on the features available for the three levels.

Plan and implement data platform resources

5 modules of detail about the IaaS and PaaS offerings in Azure (Azure DB and Azure Managed Instance). You’ll find good descriptions of the options available for both and some good examples of use cases.
You’ll also find some great information regarding the various tools and options you can use to evaluate migrations and compatibility checks. Some of these tools can also be used to perform the migrations. 

Implement a secure environment for a database service

This path is all about the security features, both baked into Azure and various methodologies to keep your data encrypted through it’s various states. You’ll also find details about Azure Purview and Database Ledger in here.

Monitor and optimize operational resources in Azure SQL

In this path you’ll learn about Azure Monitor and how it can interact with perfmon counters and extended events before moving on to cover the various storage options within Azure, some Microsoft recommendations for that.
You’ll learn about Intelligent Query Processing and possibly be bored reading about index and statistics maintenance, yes, Microsoft still advocates it, despite what various notable community personalities have said (wink).

Optimize query performance in Azure SQL

This was a great lesson on the optimizer and why it does some of the things it does, how a plan is generated. You’ll also read about Light Weight Query Profiling and the 2019 feature Last Query Plan Stats. Then it’s off for a refresher in Waits and Query Store before a brief stop with potential bottlenecks (and some suggested remediations!)
Next up is a ICYMI session on Normalization and the normal forms, Denormalization (and when you might want to use it) and Star/Snowflake schemas.
Then you’ll revisit waits, index issues and an overview of the 2019 feature Resumable Indices and finish up with query hints and why you probably shouldn’t use them and a preview of the Query Store Hints feature currently in preview.

Automate database tasks for Azure SQL

A whirlwind tour of some of the tips and tricks for automating Azure tasks. You’ll work through ARM, Templates and Bicep and how to start using some of that with PowerShell and the Azure CLI.
Maintenance plans in azure (which are still really SSIS) where you can still use SQL Agent, and how you can make use of operations, notifications and alerts.
Finally there’s some good information on Elastic Jobs, Azure Automation, Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps and how you can tie some of that together to help keep tabs on your environments (and some ways you can have it take action for you).

Plan and implement a high availability and disaster recovery environment

A reasonable amount of this was a rehash of some of the basics, and some of it even reiterated other parts of the paths before it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll find descriptions of RTO and RPO as well as differences between FCI, AGs and Log Shipping and how they might impact them.
There’s a great module that get’s pretty deep into all the machinations required to make High Availability work, and how it works in Azure. You might want to share this one with your SRE pals, as there’s some nuggets to be gleaned from their side of the world too.
Finally (I was a zombie by this point) time is spent on backups. The different types of backups (it’s not just your Dads Database/Log backups anymore!), your storage options (did you read my article on rotating SAS tokens?) and the options you have for each tier.

Phew. That was a lot of effort. BUT you will be richly rewarded with a shiny “Trophy” for each one you complete, and they claim you should learn all you need to take the actual DP-300 Exam.

Microsoft Learn Badges

(This post has been migrated from a previous blog. It was originally posted July 26th, 2022)

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