This blog article picks up from Google Cloud Certified Data Engineer – Beta Exam Report and is a similar report but for the Certified Cloud Architect exam. Priocept consultants have recently been participating in the beta certification exams for Google Cloud Platform, but access to training material and sample questions for these exams is currently quite limited. To help you prepare, here is an overview of our experience of the Cloud Architect exam.
A significant part of the exam is case study based. You are required to read a one-page case study that describes a company’s business operation, requirements, and motivations for moving to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Then you are asked a set of questions about how you should architect a GCP solution to meet the requirements, and how you should migrate the existing legacy (on premise) solution, and historic data, to the replacement cloud platform.
These questions are of a fairly general nature and don’t require deep technical expertise in specific GCP products. But to answer the questions you do need a good understanding of each GCP product, and when it is appropriate to use one product over another. General software/network architecture experience is also required, but only in a general sense.
Not as much content on this as we were expecting – only limited references to machine types, pre-emptible instances, instance groups etc. There were however questions on persistent disks and in particular how you should resize disks for existing instances with minimal service impact.
Google Container Engine
Surprisingly, virtually no questions on this. We were expecting lots of questions on containerisation, Kubernetes, kubectl, nodes, pods, etc.
Google App Engine
The majority of App Engine question were code-level and for Java. For example, there are questions that show a runtime App Engine error (Java exception) and ask for the likely cause. These questions require a good working knowledge of App Engine as a software developer.
This product is covered quite extensively in the exam. Expect questions on the various storage options (Multi-Regional, Regional, Nearline, Coldline) and when to use each of them. There are also questions on migrating existing legacy (on premise) data to Cloud Storage, which requires a working knowledge of gsutil, gcsfuse and Cloud Transfer Storage Service.
Other Data Products
There were no low-level questions on Datastore, BigQuery or Bigtable, but lots of high-level architecture questions that require an understanding of the relative capability of each product so that you can select the right product for a given scenario. The same applies to data processing – you should understand the capabilities of Dataflow and Dataproc, and when to use one over the other, but probably won’t get lower level questions on implementing these products, which is the domain of the Data Engineer certification.
Be sure to understand the basic concepts of Identify & Access Management (IAM), and in particular the various roles that are available for each product, and the appropriate least privileged role that should be assigned in a given scenario. You will also need to understand the distinction between user and service accounts, and how the latter are used by Compute Engine and other resources. Expect some firewall related security questions as well.
There are some questions on GCP best practice. Particularly with regard to projects and how these should be used to isolate and secure different environments (for example, using different projects to isolate development, test, staging and production environments).
Surprisingly there were some questions relating to “DevOps” and general software development best practice, which as worded were not specific to GCP. For example, some questions on how to set up continuous integration and continuous delivery, but with no references to particular GCP products.
A few questions on this. Nothing code-level in terms of Deployment Manager templates (YAML/Python), but just general questions about the capability of Deployment Manager, how it is used, and the advantages of doing so. Assuming you have used Deployment Manager before, these questions should be straightforward.
As the name implies, the Cloud Architect beta certification exam is more focused on high-level architecture and design, than low-level development and implementation. The most worthwhile preparation work you can do is to understand each of the GCP products, how they relate to each other, how they compare, and when you should use one over the other.