AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) Exam Learning Path

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) Exam Learning Path

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) exam is the upgraded pattern of the previous Solution Architect – Professional SAP-C01 exam and was released in Nov. 2022.
  • SAP-C02 is quite similar to SAP-C01 but has included some new services.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) exam basically validates the ability to complete tasks within the scope of the AWS Well-Architected Framework

  • Design for organizational complexity
  • Design for new solutions
  • Continuously improve existing solutions
  • Accelerate workload migration and modernization

Refer to AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Exam Guide

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional Exam Domains

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) Exam Resources

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) Exam Summary

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) exam has 75 questions to be solved in 170 minutes.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) focuses a lot on concepts and services related to Architecture & Design, Scalability, High Availability, Disaster Recovery, Migration, Security, and Cost Control.
  • Each question mainly touches multiple AWS services.
  • Questions and answers options have a lot of prose and a lot of reading that needs to be done, so be sure you are prepared and manage your time well.
  • As always, mark the questions for review and move on and come back to them after you are done with all.
  • As always, having a rough architecture or mental picture of the setup helps focus on the areas that you need to improve. Trust me, you will be able to eliminate 2 answers for sure and then need to focus on only the other two. Read the other 2 answers to check the difference area and that would help you reach the right answer or at least have a 50% chance of getting it right.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) Exam Topics

Storage

  • Simple Storage Service – S3
    • S3 Permissions & S3 Data Protection
      • S3 bucket policies to control access to VPC Endpoints and provide cross-account access.
    • S3 Storage Classes & Lifecycle policies
      • covers S3 Standard, Infrequent access, intelligent tier, and Glacier for archival and object transitions & deletions for cost management.
    • S3 Performance
    • S3 Security
      • S3 supports encryption using KMS
      • S3 supports Object Lock and Glacier supports Vault lock to prevent the deletion of objects, especially required for compliance requirements.
      • CORS allows client web applications loaded in one domain access to the restricted resources to be requested from another domain.
    • S3 supports the same and cross-region replication for disaster recovery.
    • supports S3 Select feature to query selective data from a single object.
    • S3 Event Notification enables notifications to be triggered when certain events happen in the bucket and support SNS, SQS, and Lambda as the destination.
  • Elastic Block Store
    • EBS Backup using snapshots for HA and Disaster recovery
    • Data Lifecycle Manager can be used to automate the creation, retention, and deletion of snapshots taken to back up the EBS volumes.
  • Storage Gateway
    • supports File Gateways and Volume Gateways
    • File Gateways provides a file interface into S3 and allows storing and retrieving of objects in S3 using industry-standard file protocols such as NFS and SMB.
  • Elastic File System – EFS
    • provides fully managed, scalable, serverless, shared, and cost-optimized file storage for use with AWS and on-premises resources.
    • supports cross-region replication for disaster recovery
    • supports storage classes like S3
    • supports only Linux-based AMIs
  • AWS Transfer Family
    • provides a secure transfer service (FTP, SFTP, FTPs) that helps transfer files into and out of AWS storage services.
    • supports transferring data from or to S3 and EFS.
  • FSx for Lustre
    • managed, cost-effective service to launch and run the HPC high-performance Lustre file system.
  • Understand different use cases for S3 vs EBS vs EFS

Database

  • DynamoDB
    • provides a fully managed NoSQL database service with fast and predictable performance with seamless scalability.
    • supports following capacity modes
      • Provisioned – the maximum amount of capacity in terms of reads/writes per second that an application can consume from a table or index
      • On-demand – serves thousands of requests per second without capacity planning.
    • DynamoDB Auto Scaling can be used to handle peaks or bursts.
    • DynamoDB Streams for tracking changes
    • TTL to expire objects automatically and cost-effectively.
    • Global tables for multi-master, active-active inter-region storage needs.
    • Global tables do not support strong global consistency
    • DynamoDB Accelerator – DAX for seamless caching to reduce the load on DynamoDB for read-heavy requirements.
  • RDS
    • supports cross-region read replicas ideal for disaster recovery with low RTO and RPO.
    • provides RDS proxy for effective database connection polling
    • RDS Multi-AZ vs Read Replicas
  • Aurora
    • fully managed, MySQL- and PostgreSQL-compatible, relational database engine
    • Aurora Serverless provides on-demand, autoscaling configuration.
    • Aurora Global Database consists of one primary AWS Region where the data is mastered, and up to five read-only, secondary AWS Regions.
  • Understand DynamoDB Global Tables vs Aurora Global Databases
  • DocumentDB as a replacement for MongoDB
  • Keyspaces as a replacement for Cassandra

Data Migration & Transfer

  • Cloud Migration Services
    • Cloud Migration (hint: make sure you understand the difference between rehost, replatform, and rearchitect)
    • Server Migration Service helps to migrate servers and applications.
    • Database Migration Service
      • enables quick and secure data migration with minimal to zero downtime
      • supports Full and Change Data Capture – CDC migration to support continuous replication for zero downtime migration.
      • homogeneous migrations such as Oracle to Oracle, as well as heterogeneous migrations (using SCT) between different database platforms, such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server to Aurora.
    • Snow Family
      • Ideal for one-time huge data transfers usually for use cases with limited bandwidth from on-premises to AWS.
    • Understand use cases for data transfer using VPN (quick, slow, uses the Internet), Direct Connect (time to set up, private, recurring transfers), Snow Family (moderate time, private, one-time huge data transfers)
  • Application Discovery Service
    • Agent ones can be used for hyper-v and physical services
    • Agentless can be used for VMware but does not track processes
  • AWS Migration Hub provides a central location to collect server and application inventory data for the assessment, planning, and tracking of migrations to AWS and also helps accelerate application modernization following migration.

Networking & Content Delivery

  • VPC – Virtual Private Cloud
    • Security Groups, NACLs
      • NACLs are stateless and need to open ephemeral ports for response traffic.
    • VPC Gateway Endpoints to provide access to S3 and DynamoDB
    • VPC Interface Endpoints or PrivateLink provide access to a variety of services like SQS, Kinesis, or Private APIs exposed through NLB.
    • VPC Peering to enable communication between VPCs within the same or different regions.
    • VPC Peering does not support overlapping CIDRs while PrivateLink does as only the endpoint is exposed.
    • VPC Flow Logs to track network traffic
    • NAT Gateway provides managed NAT service that provides better availability, higher bandwidth, and requires less administrative effort.
  • Route 53
    • Routing Policies
      • focus on Weighted, Latency, and failover routing policies
      • failover routing provides active-passive configuration for disaster recovery while the others are active-active configurations.
    • Route 53 Resolver
      • Outbound endpoint for AWS -> On-premises DNS query resolution
      • Inbound endpoint for On-premises DNS query resolution
  • CloudFront
    • fully managed, fast CDN service that speeds up the distribution of static, dynamic web or streaming content to end-users.
    • supports Origin Groups for multiple origins providing failover capability with primary and secondary origins.
    • does not support Auto Scaling as an origin
    • supports Geo-restriction
    • supports Lambda@Edge and Cloud Functions to execute code closer to the user.
    • Lambda@Edge can be used for quick auth checks, and redirect users based on request data.
    • Security can be enhanced by whitelisting CloudFront IPs or adding a custom header in CloudFront and verifying it in ALB.
  • API Gateway
    • supports throttling, caching and helps define usage plans with API keys to identify clients
    • provides regional and edge-optimized endpoint types
    • supports CORS for cross-domain calls.
    • supports authentication mechanisms, such as AWS IAM policies, Lambda authorizer functions, and Amazon Cognito user pools.
    • provide serverless architecture with Lambda.
  • Load Balancer – ELB, ALB and NLB
  • Global Accelerator
    • optimizes the path to applications to keep packet loss, jitter, and latency consistently low.
    • helps improve the performance of the applications by lowering first-byte latency
    • provides 2 static IP addresses
    • does not preserve the client’s IP address with NLB
  • Transit Gateway or Transit VPC
    • is a network transit hub that can be used to interconnect VPCs and on-premises networks via Direct Connect or VPN.
    • Transit Gateway is regional and Transit Gateway Peering needs to be configured to peer regional Transit gateways.
  • Placement Groups
    • Cluster placement group with Enhanced Networking for HPC
    • Spread placement group for fault tolerance and high availability.
  • Direct Connect & VPN
    • provide on-premises to AWS connectivity
    • Understand Direct Connect vs VPN
    • VPN can provide a cost-effective, quick failover for Direct Connect.
    • VPN over Direct Connect provides a secure dedicated connection and requires a public virtual interface.
    • Direct Connect Gateway is a global network device that helps establish connectivity that spans VPCs spread across multiple AWS Regions with a single Direct Connect connection.

Security, Identity & Compliance

  • AWS Identity and Access Management
  • AWS Shield & Shield Advanced
    • for DDoS protection and integrates with Route 53, CloudFront, ALB, and Global Accelerator.
  • AWS WAF
    • protects from common attack techniques like SQL injection and XSS, Conditions based include IP addresses, HTTP headers, HTTP body, and URI strings.
    • integrates with CloudFront, ALB, and API Gateway.
    • supports Web ACLs and can block traffic based on IPs, Rate limits, and specific countries as well.
  • ACM – AWS Certificate Manager
    • helps easily provision, manage, and deploy public and private SSL/TLS certificates
    • is regional and you need to request certificates in all regions and associate individually in all regions.
    • does not provide certificates for EC2 instances.
  • AWS KMS – Key Management Service
    • managed encryption service that allows the creation and control of encryption keys to enable data encryption.
    • KMS Multi-region keys
      • are AWS KMS keys in different AWS Regions that can be used interchangeably – as though having the same key in multiple Regions.
      • are not global and each multi-region key needs to be replicated and managed independently.
  • Secrets Manager
    • helps protect secrets needed to access applications, services, and IT resources.
    • Secrets Manager vs SSM Parameter Store.
      • Secrets Manager supports random generation and automatic rotation of secrets, which is not provided by SSM Parameter Store.
      • Costs more than SSM Parameter Store.
  • Amazon Macie is a data security and data privacy service that uses ML and pattern matching to discover and protect sensitive data in S3.
  • AWS Security Hub is a cloud security posture management service that performs security best practice checks, aggregates alerts, and enables automated remediation.

Compute

  • EC2
  • Auto Scaling provides the ability to ensure a correct number of EC2 instances are always running to handle the load of the application
  • Lambda
    • offers Serverless computing 
    • Lambda running in VPC requires NAT Gateway to communicate with external public services
    • Lambda CPU can be increased by increasing memory only.
    • helps define reserved concurrency limits to reduce the impact
    • Lambda Alias now supports canary deployments
    • Lambda supports docker containers
    • Reserved Concurrency guarantees the maximum number of concurrent instances for the function
    • Provisioned Concurrency provides greater control over the performance of serverless applications and helps keep functions initialized and hyper-ready to respond in double-digit milliseconds.
    • Lambda Best Practices esp. handling the database connection code.
  • ECS – Elastic Container Service
    • container management service that supports Docker containers
    • supports two launch types
      • EC2 and
      • Fargate which provides the serverless capability
    • For least privilege, the role should be assigned to the Task.
    • awsvpc network mode gives ECS tasks the same networking properties as EC2 instances.

Disaster Recovery

  • Disaster Recovery whitepaper, although outdated, make sure you understand the differences and implementation for each type esp. pilot light, warm standby w.r.t RTO, and RPO.
  • Compute
    • Make components available in an alternate region,
    • Backup and Restore using either snapshots or AMIs that can be restored.
    • Use minimal low-scale capacity running which can be scaled once the failover happens
    • Use fully running compute in active-active confirmation with health checks.
    • CloudFormation to create, and scale infra as needed
  • Storage
    • S3 and EFS support cross-region replication
    • DynamoDB supports Global tables for multi-master, active-active inter-region storage needs.
    • Aurora Global Database provides cross-region read replicas and failover capabilities.
    • RDS supports cross-region read replicas which can be promoted to master in case of a disaster. This can be done using Route 53, CloudWatch, and lambda functions.
  • Network
    • Route 53 failover routing with health checks to failover across regions.
    • CloudFront Origin Groups support primary and secondary endpoints with failover.

Management & Governance tools

  • AWS Organizations
  • Systems Manager
    • AWS Systems Manager and its various services like parameter store, patch manager
    • Parameter Store provides secure, scalable, centralized, hierarchical storage for configuration data and secret management. Does not support secrets rotation. Use Secrets Manager instead
    • Session Manager provides secure and auditable instance management without the need to open inbound ports, maintain bastion hosts, or manage SSH keys.
    • Patch Manager helps automate the process of patching managed instances with both security-related and other types of updates.
  • CloudWatch
  • CloudTrail
    • for audit and governance
    • With Organizations, the trail can be configured to log CloudTrail from all accounts to a central account.
  • CloudFormation
    • Handle disaster Recovery by automating the infra to replicate the environment across regions.
    • Deletion Policy to prevent, retain, or backup RDS, EBS Volumes
    • Stack policy can prevent stack resources from being unintentionally updated or deleted during a stack update. Stack Policy only applies for Stack updates and not stack deletion.
    • StackSets helps to create, update, or delete stacks across multiple accounts and Regions with a single operation.
  • Control Tower
    • to setup, govern, and secure a multi-account environment
    • strongly recommended guardrails cover EBS encryption
  • Service Catalog
    • allows organizations to create and manage catalogues of IT services that are approved for use on AWS with minimal permissions.
  • Trusted Advisor
    • helps with cost optimization and service limits in addition to security, performance and fault tolerance.
  • Compute Optimizer recommends optimal AWS resources for the workloads to reduce costs and improve performance by using machine learning to analyze historical utilization metrics.
  • AWS Budgets to see usage-to-date and current estimated charges from AWS, set limits and provide alerts or notifications.
  • Cost Allocation Tags can be used to organize AWS resources, and cost allocation tags to track the AWS costs on a detailed level.
  • Cost Explorer helps visualize, understand, manage and forecast the AWS costs and usage over time.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces provides a virtual workspace for varied worker types, especially hybrid and remote workers.

Integration Tools

  • SQS in terms of loose coupling and scaling.
    • Difference between SQS Standard and FIFO esp. with throughput and order
    • SQS supports dead letter queues
  • CloudWatch integration with SNS and Lambda for notifications.

Analytics

  • Kinesis
  • OpenSearch (Elasticsearch) provides a managed search solution.
  • Amazon Timestream is a fast, scalable, and serverless time-series database service that makes it easier to store and analyze trillions of events per day.
  • Amazon Connect is an omnichannel cloud contact center.
  • Amazon Pinpoint is a flexible, scalable marketing communications service that helps connects customers over email, SMS, push notifications or voice
  • Amazon Rekognition offers pre-trained and customizable computer vision capabilities to extract information and insights from images and videos
  • Amazon Transcribe to Voice to Text conversion

Architecture & Design Flows