Preparing for the Administrator Associate Exam: AZ-104 – Study Guide

Our comprehensive study guide covers everything you need to know to earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification. Enhance your Azure skills and achieve your certification goals with our detailed guide.
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July 9, 2024
Preparing for the Administrator Associate Exam: AZ-104 - Resources and Recommendations

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The Microsoft Azure Administrator: AZ-104 exam is an associate-level certification in the Azure domain that focuses on managing and operating Microsoft Azure environments. Successfully passing this exam will earn you the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification. The exam covers a range of essential topics, including managing Azure identities and governance, implementing and managing storage, deploying and managing Azure compute resources, configuring and managing virtual networking, and monitoring and maintaining Azure resources.

In this article, you will find resources and recommendations if you are preparing for the Azure Administrator Associate exam soon. This post is comprehensive, so use the Table of Contents to navigate to the sections you are interested in and bookmark them for later use.

Check out the Study Guides for other exams that might be of interest to you.

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Azure Security Engineer: AZ-500 Study Guide

Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) Certification Overview

The Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) exam is an associate-level certification that validates the skills and expertise of individuals working with core Azure services. This exam ensures that you have the necessary knowledge to manage and operate Azure environments effectively, including handling identities, governance, storage, compute resources, and networking within Azure.

The AZ-104 certification focuses on a broad range of core Azure services and scenarios, preparing you to implement and administer various Azure resources in cloud and hybrid environments. It also tests your skills in virtualization, networking, identity management, storage solutions, and resiliency planning. Familiarity with Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, the Azure portal, and ARM templates is essential.

Exam Prerequisites

There is no formal prerequisite for the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) certification. However, having a foundational knowledge of Azure services and preferably 6 months of experience working with Azure services can be beneficial. The following exams and knowledge areas can be advantageous before attempting the AZ-104 exam:

It’s good to know the following concepts before going into the exam:

  • Basic understanding of TCP/IP, DNS, firewall, and routing
  • Familiarity with PowerShell and Azure CLI Commands for automated deployments
  • Understanding infrastructure and other service offering such as Azure VM services.

Who is this AZ-104 Exam for?

This certification is a good fit for you if your responsibilities include:

  • Managing and Monitoring: Overseeing identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment.
  • Resource Management: Provisioning, sizing, monitoring, and adjusting resources as needed to ensure efficient operation.

Additionally, this exam is suitable if you already have or are working toward any of these certifications:

  • Azure DevOps Certification

The AZ-104 certification validates your ability to effectively manage and administer Azure environments, making it ideal for those seeking to enhance their cloud management skills or transition from other IT infrastructure certifications.

What to Expect in the Exam?

The Microsoft Azure Administrator exam is 150 minutes, including about 30 minutes for the surveys and the assessments, which gives you roughly 120 minutes for the exam.

One of the most interesting features I’ve seen in the recent Microsoft Exam is the “Break” feature. You can now take breaks during the exam if you need to pause for any moment. However, the exam counter does not stop, and when you return back from the break, you cannot attempt the questions you’ve already seen before going to the break. So keep that in mind before taking the break. I’d recommend not looking at all the questions in one go just in case you do decide to take a break later in the exam.

The structure of the exam can vary and range between:

  • Case study with multiple questions including two choices and drag-and-drop items.
  • Single-choice questions may not be skipped or reviewed. You only get to answer these questions ONCE.
  • Single-choice questions (True/False or Yes/No)
  • Multiple-choice questions

Since it’s an associate-level exam, it covers a broad range of topics and best practices. Therefore, I recommend you have at least 6 months of hands-on experience with Azure services and management in general before you consider booking the exam.

Exam Preparation Recommendations

Exam Day Tips

Below are some of my recommendations on the exam and some tips that might be helpful.

  • Book the exam at least 30-60 days ahead of time. Try to use the vouchers from a learning partner, or keep an eye out for open Cloud Skill Challenges that are often offered via Microsoft.
  • If it’s your first time doing a Virtual Exam, be sure to read PearsonVUE’s exam information to ensure your desk and workspace are clean before going into the exam.
  • The time for when to schedule the exam is debatable. If you are a morning person, consider doing it early when your mind is not distracted from the day’s stuff. On the other hand, I’ve had challenges with wait time and schedule in the evenings or afternoon PST time zones.
  • Use the Break feature if you need to step away from the desk for some time.
  • As of today, you also get access to Microsoft Learn website which allows you the access to documentation site while attempting the exam.
  • You have access to a whiteboard where you can brainstorm ideas about the exams. It has been the least used feature of the exam for me personally
  • Adjust the brightness of your screen or turn on Dark Mode before the exam starts. Constantly looking at a white screen with high brightness may affect your focus. Consider changing to dark mode from around the bottom left when you begin.
  • Use the Exam Outline to note down your target dates for each module and section so that you keep yourself on track. For example, I usually pick a final date and work backward to calculate how much time I spend on each module and section.


The AZ-104 exam covers a broad range of topics essential for managing Azure environments. To help you focus your studies effectively, consider the following key areas:

  • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD): Understand how to manage users, groups, and roles, and implement RBAC (Role-Based Access Control).
  • Storage Management: Get familiar with creating and managing storage accounts, implementing Azure Blob Storage, and configuring storage tiers.
  • Virtual Networks (VNets): Learn how to create and manage VNets, configure subnets, and implement VNet peering.
  • Virtual Machines (VMs): Understand VM creation, configuration, and management, including resizing VMs and implementing VM backups.
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Templates: Practice deploying resources using ARM templates and understand how to modify and save templates.
  • Monitoring and Alerts: Learn to set up Azure Monitor for various resources, configure alerts, and analyze logs.
  • Backup and Recovery: Understand how to configure Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery to ensure data protection and disaster recovery.

Focusing on these topics will help you cover the essential knowledge areas needed to succeed in the AZ-104 exam.

Microsoft Learn Modules

Microsoft Learn offers a wide range of training and preparation material for most of the Azure exams. Below is a list of relevant modules to prepare for this exam:

Cloud Academy AZ-104 Learning Path

The AZ-104 learning path is released at Cloud Academy. Here are some links to the Microsoft Azure Administrator learning path and hands-on lab that will help you with some of the preparation:

AZ-104 Exam Preparation: Microsoft Azure Administrator

WhizLabs Exam Prep

If you are looking for exam prep questions for the Microsoft Azure Administrator exam, use the following to get exam practice questions:

Exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator – Buy Now

Visual Studio Dev Essentials

Signup for Visual Studio Dev Essentials. You get Free Azure Credit to use the cloud resources and access training platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight with one month of access.

Visual Studio Dev Essentials – Visual Studio

30 Days to Learn It

Microsoft offers a 50% discount on exam prices if you complete one of the listed MS Learn modules in 30 days.

Exam Outline: Microsoft Learn + Docs Reference Links

I’ve gathered some of the reference URLs to articles on the internet that will help you cover most of the exam objectives. The headings link to Microsoft Learn modules and the individual items in each category point to relevant reading articles or MS Learn courses.

Be sure to print and have the exam outline with you while you are preparing for the exam. If you don’t have the Exam Outline handle, download it here.

Manage Azure identities and governance (15–20%)

Manage Azure AD objects

Manage access control

Manage Azure subscriptions and governance

Implement and manage storage (15–20%)

Configure access to storage

Manage data in Azure storage accounts

Configure Azure Files and Azure Blob Storage

Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (20–25%)

Automate deployment of resources by using templates

Create and configure VMs

Create and configure containers

Create and configure an Azure App Service

Configure and manage virtual networking (20–25%)

Configure virtual networks

Configure secure access to virtual networks

Configure load balancing

Monitor virtual networking

Monitor and maintain Azure resources (10–15%)

Monitor resources by using Azure Monitor

Implement backup and recovery


I hope this article helps you get through the learning part of AZ-104 and cover all the necessary topics that you need to know before you go into the exam hall. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn for any questions.

If you are looking for exam review on any other exam, check out the list below as I update it with the latest content:

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