Microsoft announces new hybrid certification

Microsoft announces new hybrid certification

Microsoft has announced two new Windows Server certification exams for Hybrid Administrators. Obtaining this certification will enable IT professionals to advance the digital transformation of the organizations they work for.

It’s well known that there is a worldwide cloud computing skills shortage, which has been an enormous barrier to deploying emerging technologies and adopting cloud services. Since a large proportion of organizations are using hybrid and have not moved their entire infrastructure to the cloud, hybrid server skills are also at a premium.

Recently, Patrick Kersten, co-founder and chairman of The Leading Learning Partners Association (LLPA), hosted a Skills Talk with Orin Thomas, Principal Hybrid Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. The LLPA is a global organization that specializes in cloud services, providing up-to-date training and learning resources to customers worldwide.

Orin told Patrick that Microsoft decided to develop certification for hybrid because most companies have adopted this approach as it gives them the choice of using as much or as little of cloud solutions as suits the organization. Recent Microsoft certifications have focused on cloud solutions and not on on-premises solutions. This new certification frames Microsoft Server in a hybrid and cloud context. This has only been possible because certain technologies have only recently become available.

There’s a perception that companies want to replace what they have on-premises with what they have in the cloud – some vendors who focus on cloud solutions are pushing this notion, saying you can get rid of everything on-premises and only work on the cloud. However, the reality is that most organizations want to keep a reasonable degree of their work on on-premises infrastructure. They want to adopt cloud technologies where it makes sense for them.

New hybrid certification – exams in beta

The new windows hybrid certification is titled: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate. The certification entails two exams:

  • AZ-800: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure
  • AZ-801: Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

Microsoft decided to offer the certification in two exams because there is too much material to cover in one exam. Orin points out that two exams for a certification is not a lot – some certifications require five or six exams.

If you book with these exam codes, you get 80% off; a Microsoft Certification Trainer gets 75% off on their exam. These exams can be taken now and until January 10. You will do it in beta, which means you won’t get your results, but you will be one of the first to get this certification.

Orin has published two study guides for these exams. You can find the study guide for AZ-800 here, and the study guide for AX-801 is here.

Microsoft suggests taking the AZ-800 exam first. It entails the following modules to be covered, with some of the information already familiar to database administrators. For each topic and sub-category, there are links to related Microsoft documents that explain everything in detail, including the information that must be studied and the approximate time allocated for each.

AZ-800: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure

The main elements of the AZ-800 exam are:

  1. Deploy and Manage AD DS in On-premises and Cloud Environments (30-35%)
  2. Manage Windows Servers and Workloads in a Hybrid Environment (10-15%)
  3. Manage Virtual Machines and Containers (15-20%)
  4. Implement and Manage an On-premises and Hybrid Networking Infrastructure (15-20%)
  5. Manage Storage and File Services (15-20%)

In more detail, the information that will be covered is:

1      Deploy and Manage AD DS in On-premises and Cloud Environments

  • Deploy and manage AD DS domain controllers
  • Configure and manage multi-site, multi-domain, and multi-forest environments
  • Create and manage AD DS security principals
  • Implement and Manage Hybrid Identities
  • Manage Windows Server by using domain-based Group Policies


2      Manage Windows Servers and Workloads in a Hybrid Environment

  • Manage Windows Servers in a Hybrid environment
  • Manage Windows Servers and workloads by using Azure services

3      Manage Windows Servers and Workloads in a Hybrid Environment

  • Manage Hyper-V and guest virtual machines
  • Create and manage containers
  • Manage Azure Virtual Machines that run Windows Server

4      Implement and Manage an On-premises and Hybrid Networking Infrastructure

  • Implement on-premises and hybrid name resolution
  • Manage IP addressing in on-premises and hybrid scenarios
  • Implement on-premises and hybrid network connectivity

5      Manage Storage and File Services

  • Configure and manage Azure File Sync
  • Configure and Manage Windows Server File Shares
  • Configure Windows Server Storage

Within each subcategory, there are links to multiple documents that cover different aspects of the topics.

The first exam deals with core services, while the second exam deals with advanced services. The exams are equal in difficulty, but exam takers will probably be less familiar with some of the information in the advanced services exam because these are the functions that are probably used less.

AZ-801: Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

The first issue that’s addressed in the second exam is security, which has not been covered as part of a core Windows Server exam recently. Here are the main topics:

  1. Secure Windows Server On-premises and Hybrid Infrastructures (25-30%)
  2. Implement and Manage Windows Server High Availability (10-15%)
  3. Implement Disaster Recovery (10-15%)
  4. Migrate Servers and Workloads (20-25%)
  5. Migrate Servers and Workloads (20-25%)

In more detail, the information that will be covered is:

1      Secure Windows Server On-premises and Hybrid Infrastructures

  • Secure Windows Server Operating System
  • Secure a hybrid Active Directory infrastructure
  • Identify and remediate Windows Server security issues by using Azure Services
  • Secure Windows Server networking
  • Secure Windows Server storage

2      Implement and Manage Windows Server High Availability

  • Implement a Windows Server failover cluster
  • Manage Failover Clustering
  • Implement and Manage Storage Spaces Direct

3      Implement Disaster Recovery

  • Manage Backup and Recovery for Windows Server
  • Implement disaster recovery by using Azure Site Recovery
  • Protect virtual machines by using Hyper-V replicas

4      Migrate Servers and Workloads

  • Migrate on-premises storage to on-premises servers or Azure
  • Migrate on-premises servers to Azure
  • Migrate workloads from previous versions to Windows Server 2022
  • Migrate IIS workloads to Azure
  • Migrate an AD DS infrastructure to Windows Server 2022 AD DS

5      Monitor and Troubleshoot Windows Server Environments

  • Monitor Windows Server by using Windows Server tools and Azure Service
  • Troubleshoot Windows Server On-premises and hybrid Networking
  • Troubleshoot Windows Server virtual machines in Azure
  • Troubleshoot Active Directory

For those who have AZ-104 certification and wonder if they would pass these two exams, the answer is, probably not, since the new course covers material that was not included for previous certifications. Specifically, a lot of the information on troubleshooting is not covered in AZ-104. Those considering doing the two exams but can’t do them right after each other, need not worry that they won’t get certified. Even if you do the second exam six months later, you’ll still get certified.

Candidates for the Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate certification

IT professionals who have subject matter expertise configuring and managing Windows Server on-premises, hybrid, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform workloads and have extensive experience working with the Windows Server operating system are the ideal candidates for these exams.

Professionals considering a role as a hybrid associate should have experience related to security, migration, monitoring, high availability, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery. They should have experience with a range of administrative tools and technologies.

Microsoft outlines the responsibilities of a Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate as follows:

  • Integrating Windows Server environments with Azure services and managing Windows Server in on-premises networks.
  • Managing Windows Server IaaS workloads in Azure, in addition to migrating and deploying workloads to Azure.
  • Collaborating with Azure administrators, enterprise architects, Microsoft 365 administrators, and network engineers.
  • Implementing and managing on-premises and hybrid solutions, such as identity, management, compute, networking, and storage.

Preparing for the exams

Make full use of the guidelines and extensive supporting documentation collated by Orin. Also, note that some test providers have test exams available to help people prepare for the exams. MeasureUp is one of them.

Also, the LLPA is represented in 55 countries. The company is dedicated to helping organizations worldwide adopt the latest technologies by providing top-notch training and support in passing these kinds of exams.