Microsoft Azure Administrator Roles and Responsibilities

Data has revolutionized the way industries work. Every organization across the globe is looking for more flexible, efficient, and better storage solutions. Companies are looking for faster methods to collect necessary data and eventually process it to cater well to the needs of their customers.

Microsoft Azure offers all of the above. The software giant has the second largest market share as a premier cloud service provider, controlling 24% of the overall cloud space. Microsoft has also claimed that most Fortune 500 companies use Azure in their organizations. Organizations need skilled professionals to work on Microsoft Azure, with Azure administrators tasked to help implement and manage Azure solutions within the setup. They are in high demand because of their exceptional skills.

Want to start a career as an Azure administrator? Curious about what being an Azure administrator entails? Worried about where to begin your journey? Don’t worry, for this blog covers all of the above and more.

Who Is An Azure Administrator?

According to Microsoft, an Azure administrator “implements, monitors, and maintains Microsoft Azure solutions. These include major services related to compute, storage, network, and security. Azure administrators are not only familiar with Azure but they are also skilled in cloud infrastructure for public clouds, such as Google Cloud and AWS.

Azure administrators manage Azure solutions and oversee compute, storage, network, and security in the cloud environment. They work as a part of a team and know about implementing cloud infrastructure. They are also responsible for working with other Azure and IT professionals to maintain Azure networking, application development, DevOps solutions, and security.

Azure administrators' roles and responsibilities

Azure administrators are in charge of the following:

  • Managing and deploying Azure solutions
  • Troubleshooting and resolving Azure services-related issues
  • Configuring Azure services to meet the needs of the organization
  • Designing and managing swap space in the cloud environment
  • Maintaining azure profiles and subscriptions
  • Setting up private and public cloud environments
  • Balancing and deploying workloads 
  • Implementing and managing cost-effective cloud systems

An Azure administrator job description typically includes these responsibilities. Let us discuss some of them in detail. 

Virtual Machines

The primary responsibility of Azure administrators is managing and configuring virtual machines. They have to deploy virtual machines into virtual networks and create backups to provide disaster recovery, among other responsibilities. 

Data Storage

Azure administrators are also responsible for protecting data against threats and unauthorized access. They have to ensure that data is backed up at regular intervals. 

Networking

Azure administrators have to manage public and private IP addresses. Their responsibilities also include deploying and configuring virtual networks. 

Skills of Azure Administrators

Anyone looking for a job as an Azure administrator needs to have the following skill to do their job successfully.

  • In-depth knowledge and thorough understanding of cloud computing services, that includes knowing networking, servers, databases, and software in Cloud.
  • Thorough knowledge of Microsoft.
  • Hands-on experience with PowerShell and Office 365.
  • Expertise in programming languages used in Azure, including JavaScript, HTML5, and SQL server.

Azure administrators work in a team, where their individual role requires them to have soft skills that help them collaborate with other professionals. These skills are as follows:

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Collaborative skills
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Stellar written skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience

Apart from these, an Azure administrator must have role-specific skills. Some of them are:

  • Running virtual machines on cloud
  • Creating and managing data backups
  • Ensuring compliances
  • Configuring archival storage
  • Maintaining and implementing storage solutions
  • Securing Azure solutions
  • Skilled in Docker and Kubernetes 
  • Thorough knowledge of networking tasks along with expertise in Azure networking stack
  • Reducing vulnerabilities in Azure

Given below are some of them in detail:

Configure Networks

A successful Azure administrator is well-versed in establishing and implementing virtual networks. They have the necessary skills for routing path orchestration even in a hybrid cloud. They must also know how to use different Azure solutions in virtual machines. They should be able to manage virtual machines’ public and private IP addresses.

Resource and Log Analytics Monitoring

Azure administrators must know how to use log analytics to write Azure monitor log queries. They must also have the necessary knowledge to understand data schema, filter and group results, and create charts. They should also know the process of saving, loading, exporting, and sharing queries.

Compute

Azure administrators are also responsible for running virtual machines on cloud, only possible with full working knowledge of the two popular Hypervisor platforms. The platforms are Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere. Responsibilities related to virtual machines also include deploying them into virtual networks, configuring them to have the optimum performance, and backing them up. They should have the skills to optimize virtual machines for optimum cost and security. They should also provide a recovery plan when a virtual machine fails.

Manage Storage

One of the major responsibilities of an Azure administrator is to manage storage. Azure has a large amount of storage for storing application data, user data and database files. Azure administrators must have the expertise to configure long-term archival storage. They should also maintain corporate compliance. Other skills include knowing how to secure data from unauthorized access and backup it up in case of disaster. The data should be backed up in a way that enables easy and quick restoration after a disaster.

Security

Every organization that deals with data needs to keep security at its forefront. As an Azure administrator, you must be skilled in securing the organization’s data and Azure solutions. You should know about encrypting data at all times, whether during transit, at rest, or in use. You should also be able to secure Azure Active Directory from any cyberattack. You must have the skills to safeguard Azure resources against any vulnerability and threats.

Azure Administrator Salary

According to AmbitionBox, Azure administrators in India earn an average annual salary of INR 7.2 lakhs. The pay ranges between INR 3.5 lakhs to INR 16.2 lakhs. Companies, including TCS, Wipro, Accenture, and Mindtree, offer the highest salaries to Azure administrators. According to ZipRecruiter, Azure administrators in the US earn $103,979 a year.

With Microsoft Azure’s bright future prospects, the future of Azure professionals is also bright. As an Azure administrator, you have the chance to develop your skills in Azure and work in Fortune 500 companies. You can also widen your knowledge and skills by doing various certifications offered by Microsoft.

How to Become an Azure Administrator?

You can become an Azure administrator by following these steps:

Step 1: Get your Bachelor’s in computer science, information technology, software engineering, or a related course. After completing your bachelor’s, you can also enroll in a master’s program in related fields.

Step 2: Get some experience working with Azure, ideally six months.

Step 3: Develop skills in cloud, PowerShell, command-line interface, and Microsoft Azure.

Step 4: Learn Azure administrator roles and responsibilities.

Step 5: Get Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) certification.

Step 6: Make a resume and start looking for a job.

Certification for Azure Administrators

Certifications are a good way of improving your job and salary prospects, upgrading your knowledge, and staying relevant in the industry. The primary and most crucial certification for Azure administrators is Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) certification. It is one of the highest-paying certifications in Microsoft Azure.

The certification validates the holder’s skills in cloud storage, security, compute, networking, and governance. It also proves their skills in using PowerShell, command-line interface, and Azure portal.

ALSO Read: Top 10 Most In-Demand Highest Paying Microsoft Certifications in 2022 

Let us discuss the details of this certification.

According to Microsoft, the candidates for this certification must have the necessary expertise in implementing, managing, and monitoring the Azure environment for an organization. They must be able to work in virtual networks, compute, storage, governance, and security. They should be well-versed in operating systems, virtualizations, and servers. The cost of the exam in India is INR 4800. In the US, it is 165 USD.

Candidates must also be experienced in the following:

  • PowerShell
  • Azure CLI
  • Azure Portal
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates
  • Azure Active Directory 

Languages Available

The certification is available in the following languages:

English, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Chinese (Traditional), Italian and Indonesian (Indonesia)

Skills Covered

  • Manage identities and governance
  • Maintain Azure resources
  • Create file storage 
  • Implement storage and maintain it
  • Deploy compute resources
  • Implement load balancer 
  • Manage virtual networking

Microsoft has divided the learning path for this certification into five parts. The details of these parts are as follows:
 

  • Manage Identities and Governance in Azure - 15-20%

    • Manage Azure Active Directory objects (tasks include creating users, groups, and administrative units, managing device settings, and performing bulk updates)

    • Manage role-based access (tasks include creating custom roles and providing role-based access)

    • Manage subscriptions and governance (tasks include configuring Azure policies and resource locks, managing costs, and applying tags on different resources)

  • Implement and Manage Storage in Azure - 15-20%

    • Secure storage (includes managing access key, configuring access to Azure files, etc.)

    • Manage storage (includes importing and exporting from Azure jobs, copying data through AZcopy, etc.)

    • Configure Azure files and Blob Storage (includes configuring storage tiers, creating file share, etc.)

  • Deploy and Manage Azure Compute Resources - 20-25%

    • Automating virtual machines deployment through ARM templates (includes tasks like deploying VM extensions and configuring a VHD template)

    • Configuring virtual machines (includes tasks like managing VM sizes, redeploying VMs, and adding data disks)

    • Creating and configuring containers (includes tasks such as upgrading AKS clusters, configuring scaling for AKS, etc.)

    • Creating and configuring Azure app services (includes tasks such as configuring deployment and networking settings and creating and securing an App Service)

  • Configure and Manage Azure Virtual Networks - 25-30%

    • Implement and manage virtual networking (includes configuring endpoints on subnets and implementing subnets)

    • Secure access to virtual networks (includes creating security rules, implementing Azure Firewall and Bastion, etc.)

    • Configure load balancing (includes troubleshooting load balancing, configuring the public load balancer, etc.)

    • Monitor and troubleshoot virtual networking (includes monitoring on-premises connectivity, troubleshooting external networking and virtual network connectivity, and using Azure Network Watcher)

    • Integrate on-premise networks with Azure virtual networks (includes configuring Azure Virtual WAN, configuring VPN Gateway, etc.)

  • Monitor and Backup Azure Resources - 10-15%

    • Monitor resources by using Azure monitor (includes querying and analyzing logs, setting up alerts, and interpreting metrics)

    • Implement backup and recovery (includes creating recovery services and backup vaults, configuring backup policies, etc.)

With this certification, you can go on to apply for roles such as Azure Administrator, Database Administrator, and Systems Administrator. 

There are other certifications that Azure administrators can do. Some of them are as follows.

AZ-900 Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

This AZ-900 certification is suitable for people with no knowledge and experience working with Azure or the cloud. If you want to learn the fundamentals of Azure clearly before going for AZ-104, this certification will teach you that. You will learn different cloud concepts, cloud scalability, fault tolerance in cloud computing, Azure architecture, and services, among other things.

This certification is also one of the highest-paying certifications. You can also apply for entry-level positions with it.

DP-900 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

This  DP-900 certification is useful for people who want to work with data in the cloud. It is ideal for database administrators and engineers. It covers skills specific to data in Azure, such as analytics workloads, modern data warehousing, data visualization in Power BI, and data processing. There are no prerequisites for this exam.

AI-900 Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

This AI-900 certification validates your knowledge of using artificial intelligence and machine learning in Azure. It covers skills, including Azure workloads related to NLP, conversational AI, etc. It is beneficial for people willing to learn the basics of AI and ML and work in the AI industry.

Conclusion

The job market for Azure administrators is ripe, with many organizations looking to hire Azure professionals. With the constant advancements in the cloud industry, they are all set to be a part of a growing and successful market. In this blog, we have discussed all the things one should know before becoming an Azure administrator. Getting AZ-104 certification can bring new opportunities for anyone looking to make their mark in the field. It can help you develop skills, get the necessary expertise, and upgrade your knowledge.

Armin Vans
Michael Warne is a tech blogger and IT Certification Trainer at Koenig Solutions. She has an experience of 5 years in the industry, and has worked for top-notch IT companies. She is an IT career consultant for students who pursue various types of IT certifications.

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