AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) Exam Learning Path

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional certificate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) Exam Learning Path

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) exam is the upgraded pattern of the previous Solution Architect – Professional exam which was released in the year (2018) and would be upgraded this year (Nov. 2022).
  • I recently recertified the existing pattern and the difference is quite a lot between the previous pattern and the latest pattern. The amount of overlap between the associates and professional exams and even the Solutions Architect and DevOps has drastically reduced.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) exam basically validates

  • Design and deploy dynamically scalable, highly available, fault-tolerant, and reliable applications on AWS
  • Select appropriate AWS services to design and deploy an application based on given requirements
  • Migrate complex, multi-tier applications on AWS
  • Design and deploy enterprise-wide scalable operations on AWS
  • Implement cost-control strategies

Refer to AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Exam Guide

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional Exam Domains

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) Exam Resources

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) Exam Summary

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) exam was for a total of 170 minutes and it had 75 questions.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) 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-C01) Exam Topics

Storage

  • S3
    • S3 Permissions & S3 Data Protection
      • S3 bucket policies to control access to VPC Endpoints
    • S3 Storage Classes & Lifecycle policies
      • covers S3 Standard, Infrequent access, intelligent tier and Glacier for archival and object transitions & deletions for cost management.
    • S3 Transfer Acceleration can be used for fast, easy, and secure transfers of files over long distances between the client and an S3 bucket.
    • supports the same and cross-region replication for disaster recovery.
    • integrates with CloudFront for caching to improve performance
    • S3 supports Object Lock and Glacier supports Vault lock to prevent the deletion of objects, especially required for compliance requirements.
    • supports S3 Select feature to query selective data from a single object.
  • 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
  • Elastic File System
    • provides a 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
  • 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.

Database

  • DynamoDB
    • DynamoDB Auto Scaling
    • 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 seamlessly 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
    • supports Aurora Serverless to 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. It is a multi-master setup but can be used for disaster recovery.
  • DocumentDB as a replacement for MongoDB

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.
      • Hint: Elasticsearch is not supported as a target by DMS
    • Snow Family
      • Ideal for one-time big data transfers usually for use cases with limited bandwidth from on-premises to AWS.
  • 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.
  • Disaster Recovery
    • Disaster Recovery whitepaper, although outdated, make sure you understand the difference between each type esp. pilot light, warm standby w.r.t RTO and RPO.
    • Compute
      • Make components available in an alternate region,
      • either as AMIs that can be restored
      • CloudFormation to create infra as needed
      • partial which can be scaled once the failover happens
      • or fully running compute in active-active confirmation with health checks.
    • 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 a multi-master setup but can be used for disaster recovery.
      • 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.

Networking & Content Delivery

  • VPC – Virtual Private Cloud
    • Understand Security Groups, NACLs (Hint: know NACLs are stateless and need to open ephemeral ports for response traffic )
    • Understand VPC Gateway Endpoints to provide access to S3 and DynamoDB (hint: know how to restrict access on S3 to specific VPC Endpoint)
    • Understand VPC Interface Endpoints or PrivateLink to provide access to a variety of services like SQS, Kinesis or Private APIs exposed through NLB.
    • Understand VPC Flow Logs
    • Understand VPC Peering to enable communication between VPCs within the same or different regions. (hint: VPC peering does not support transitive routing)
  • 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 configuration.
    • 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 multiple origins including S3, ALB etc.
    • 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 whitlisting CloudFront IPs or adding custom header in CloudFront and verifiing 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 authentication mechanisms, such as AWS IAM policies, Lambda authorizer functions, and Amazon Cognito user pools.
  • 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 address
    • 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
    • know 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 Cross-Site Scripting (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.
      • Supports automatic rotation of secrets, which is not provided by SSM Parameter Store.
      • Costs more than SSM Parameter Store.

Compute

  • EC2
  • Auto Scaling
  • Elastic Beanstalk supports Blue/Green deployment using swap URLs.
  • Lambda
    • 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 limit to reduce the impact
    • Lambda Alias now supports canary deployments
  • 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.

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.
    • Session Manager helps manage EC2 instances through an interactive one-click browser-based shell or through the AWS CLI without opening ports or creating bastion hosts.
    • 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.

Analytics

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.

Architecture & Design Flows