It goes without saying that the demand for remote work capability has increased dramatically in the past few years. And that means the demand for IT pros who can rapidly deploy an enterprise-grade solution that can perform at scale has also seen an increase.
Lucky for us, Microsoft has a perfect fit for virtual desktop infrastructure with Azure Virtual Desktop.
By becoming an expert in this in-demand cloud service, and achieving a Microsoft Azure certification like the Microsoft Certified: Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty, you’ll be kicking your career into high gear.
In this article, we explore what to expect from the AZ-140: Configuring and Operating Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop exam, part of the requirements for achieving the Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty cert. We also give you suggestions on the best hands-on labs to practice to help you prepare for your exam.
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Who is the AZ-140 exam for and what does it cover?
If you’re a desktop admin looking to design and manage Azure Virtual Desktop experiences and remote apps, the AZ-104 could be the right path for you.
I’d recommend having the AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator under your belt before going for the AZ-140. This will give you a good foundation in implementing, managing, and monitoring identity and governance in the Azure cloud.
According to Microsoft, to achieve the AZ-140 you’ll need to have some experience with virtualization, networking, identity, storage, and resiliency. And you’ll need to be able to manage end-user desktop environments.
The exam itself covers the following domains:
- Plan and implement an Azure Virtual Desktop infrastructure (40–45%)
- Plan and implement identity and security (15–20%)
- Plan and implement user environments and apps (20–25%)
- Monitor and maintain an Azure Virtual Desktop infrastructure (10–15%)
Check out the AZ-140 study guide for a more detailed breakdown of what each domain covers.
You can also make use of Microsoft’s exam sandbox to get familiar with the look and feel of a Microsoft exam ahead of time.
How can I prepare for the AZ-140 exam?
When we create courses for Microsoft Azure certifications here at A Cloud Guru we love to provide lots of labs to complement our lessons. But that’s unfortunately not possible for Azure Virtual Desktop.
So bearing that in mind – and with performance-based lab testing coming to all Microsoft Azure certification exams – I wanted to bring you a different type of exam study guide. In the form of a list of all the hands-on tasks I’d recommend practicing prior to taking the exam. Yep, all 17 of them. Consider this your lab study guide, as it were!
One thing to note: for your exam, Microsoft assumes that you’re able to complete these tasks using several different methods. That includes the Azure Console, Powershell, Azure CLI, and an ARM template. But for performance-based lab testing, you can complete the required tasks using whichever method you’re comfortable with.
Okay, onto the labs.
Recommended labs to prepare for the AZ-140 exam
- Deploy an Azure Virtual Desktop. Do this as many times as you can.
- Don’t forget to practice deploying a validation host pool too!
- Delete and create workspaces and application groups without using the Azure Virtual Desktop wizard.
- Deploy Azure Active Directory Domain Services, and use it for Azure Virtual Desktop. Special tip: Microsoft loves to use Azure AD Domain Services in scenarios on exams!
- Create a ‘golden’ session host image and place it in Azure Storage and Azure Compute Gallery.
- Deploy session hosts from a managed image stored in Azure Storage and Azure Compute Gallery.
- Practice installing the Azure Virtual Desktop agent manually and adding new session hosts to an existing host pool.
- Deploy multiple RemoteApps using different Application Groups
- Microsoft is huge on FSlogix, so make sure to test with various different configurations. And don’t forget Cloud Cache!
- Deploy Conditional Access and Multi-Factor Authentication, and experiment with the different Conditional Access settings.
- Use Azure Firewall to manage outbound internet from Azure Virtual Desktop.
- Configure role-based access control (RBAC) for Azure Virtual Desktop. Do this until you know the built-in roles and their capabilities by memory.
- Configure various Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) properties, and test the results.
- Package and deploy at least one application with MSIX app attach.
- Deploy Microsoft Defender Antivirus on a session host (now called Microsoft Defender for Endpoint).
- Practice installing Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and Teams on your Azure Virtual Desktop Session Hosts. This includes configuring Teams AV redirection.
- Practice configuring automation for Azure Virtual Desktop, including Autoscaling, Automatic start/stop, Start VM on Connect, and Drain Mode.
If you can complete all of these tasks without referring to the documentation, using your preferred method, you’ll be well on your way to passing the AZ-140 exam. Even with performance-based lab testing!
For more advice on preparing for the exam, check out my AZ-140: Microsoft Certified Azure Virtual Desktop Speciality course. And if you’re looking for more info on what other Microsoft Azure certifications to take, we have a handy guide for that.
Good luck crushing your exam!