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Azure announces new DP-420 Cosmos DB certification

This week in Azure news: there's another new Azure certification (for Cosmos DB), updates for Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) and static functions. Read on!

Jun 08, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

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  • Learning & Development
  • Data
  • azure

What’s going on in the world of Azure this week? After last week's new AZ-305 I really thought we were done with new Microsoft Azure certificates, but no. This week there is another Azure cert, but also a ton of updates for Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) and a neat update to static functions.

I am Lars Klint, purveyor of fine cloud news and gourmet computing services. And this week also marks 36 years since the first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas, Texas, with an inventory of 8,000 VHS and 2,000 Beta tapes. What's that have to do with cloud? Well, as we know, the fate of Blockbuster was the cloud and online streaming services. There you go.

Alright, on with the news. Let's go!


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DP-420: The new Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty certification

Yep, there is another new Azure exam. This time it falls within the data segment of the Azure spectrum with a certification focus on Cosmos DB.

Numbering is DP-420, which indicates a new branch of data certifications, so 400 might be a branch of more specialized exams, such as for Cosmos DB. The exam is called "Exam DP-420: Designing and Implementing Cloud-Native Applications Using Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB." Just rolls off the tongue!

Who is this new exam for? According to Microsoft, it's "for developers that work with designing and implementing data models and data distribution, loading data into a database created with Azure Cosmos DB, and optimizing and maintaining the solution." Very specific to Cosmos DB then.

However, its other focus is on how to “design, implement, and monitor solutions that consider security, availability, resilience, and performance requirements.”

Want to learn more about NoSQL databases across the cloud? Check out our blog post on Cosmos DB vs DynamoDB vs Cloud Datastore and Bigtable. Or read up on Azure Cosmos DB APIs: Use cases and trade-offs

Actually, instead of quoting Microsoft, let's talk to Mark Brown, Principal Project Manager for Cosmos DB, and Gary Hope, Program Manager for Cosmos DB. (Don't like words? Check out my chat with them here in video format.)

Here's what Mark had to say:

"We're really excited to have this certification because we know it's going to have a great impact on customers and users as they go and design and build apps. You don't design for Cosmos the same way you would, say, a relational database. There are other things that require some specialized knowledge and different techniques to design for a database like Cosmos. Because to grow for really large workloads, with like a relational database, you would just increase the size of the VM it's working on. It's a scale-up database. Cosmos is a scale-out database. So you don't increase the size of the VM or pieces of compute. You just keep adding pieces of compute. So that means we have to partition or shard our data. This is why we have the exam is to unlock that promise for that kind of infinite scale, you have to understand how to design and model."

Gary Hope, Program Manager for Cosmos DB, offered the following:

"This really gives us an opportunity to get into the depth. There's a lot to it. It's got its own query language. It's a dialect of SQL. We have a whole set of SDKs that people need to understand and grasp in order to leverage the capability correctly. So it gives us that ability to get into the detail for that audience much better. [The DP-420 is] quite a specialized exam focusing just on the one area of technology, which is Cosmos DB. We cover concepts around some of that stuff in the Fundamentals exams and our learning paths. But this is really focused on that one piece. And it's a specialization exam, so it lives side by side with the other certifications."

The new DP-420 exam will be available in a beta edition sometime in November.

Want to learn more about Azure and Cosmos DB? Check out ACG’s free plan. It gives you access to a rotating monthly roster of free courses and quizzes, plus learning paths and original series content. And you don’t need a credit card to sign up! Create your free account here.

AKS updates

Repeat after me: Containers, containers, containers. Yes, there were a ton of Azure Kubernetes Service updates this week. Ready?

These features are all out now in a public preview. To be completely honest, though, I don’t understand most of what that means. However, I always watch Kubernetes This Month, a monthly show about . . . Kubernetes. It has Nigel Poulton hosting! It gives you all the most important updates about Kubernetes and it's completely free!

Public preview: Customize Azure Static Web Apps authentication with a serverless function

There can’t be a week without Azure Function news, right? I thought so too, and this week a new Static Web Apps authentication with a serverless function was released in preview. This function is invoked whenever a user successfully logs in to your static web app, and you can use this function to assign custom roles to the user that logged in.

This feature provides flexibility in how users are assigned custom roles in your application. Some of the examples Microsoft gives are

  • Query a database to determine which custom roles a user should be assigned
  • Call the Microsoft Graph API to determine a user’s roles based on their Active Directory group membership
  • Use claims from the identity provider to determine a user’s roles

This is a really cool addition to static web apps that will no doubt allow a lot more flexibility in managing users and roles.

Keep up with all things Azure

Before I wrap up, I wanted to mention that the Introduction to Azure Security course is free all this month on A Cloud Guru. This course is a great way to get the right start to Azure security. To check it out, just create a free account and start learning now.

Want to keep up with all things cloud? Subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for weekly Microsoft Azure news (plus news from those other cloud providers too). You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join the conversation on Discord!

As we say on the A Cloud Guru team, when one certification rolls into the next, and into the next, and into the next: "Seek and you shall cloud." See you next week, and keep being awesome, cloud gurus!

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