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10 study tips for the AWS Certified Database – Specialty Certification

I have completed 5 AWS Certifications, currently I am currently preparing for AWS Certified Database – Specialty Certification.
The AWS Certified Database - Specialty certification attests to a candidate's proficiency with the full range of AWS database services. There are more than 15 purpose-built database engines available on the AWS platform, including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases. With so many possibilities, it's crucial that you choose the best instrument for the task at hand. Candidates have the chance to demonstrate their aptitude for requirement analysis and the creation of suitable database solutions by taking the AWS Certified Database - Specialty exam. This exam tests candidates' ability to design, recommend, and maintain the best AWS database solution for a given use case. I recently studied for this test and got an A. I previously worked as a database administrator, so I found the exam-study process to be especially interesting.

In order to help you get ready for the certification, AWS Training and Certification offers a combination of free, on-demand digital courses and virtual/in-person instructor-led classroom training. It also offers a specific database study path. I urge you to make use of both the instruction and these ten suggestions.

Understand which workloads are best suited to each of the purpose-built database services on AWS When incorporating a new database solution into an architecture, it’s important to consider the nature of the data, such as its storage, usage, volume, and velocity. The database services on AWS can vary widely in terms of performance, scalability, and availability characteristics. Understanding the strengths of each service and being able to match workload characteristics to the different services is an important skill that’s heavily tested on the exam. Workload-specific database design currently comprises 26% of the exam composition. Resources to consider: • AWS Public Sector Summit presentation: Building with Purpose-Built Databases: Match Your Workload to the Right Database • Blog post: Build a Modern Application with Purpose-Built AWS Databases
Understand strategies for disaster recovery and high availability When deploying databases on AWS, it’s critical to understand how to configure database architectures to achieve recovery-point and recovery-time objectives. This topic is on the exam and covers high-availability and disaster-recovery configurations for a variety of the available database services. This subject area aligns closely to the Reliability Pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Resources to consider: • Webpage: Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) high-availability architecture concepts • Blog post: Cross-Region disaster recovery of Amazon RDS for SQL Server • Documentation: Disaster-recovery strategies for Amazon Aurora databases
Understand how database solution deployments can be automated A best practice for deploying AWS resources is to use a configuration system that treats your infrastructure as code. AWS CloudFormation is one way you can do this on AWS. Infrastructure as code is a key enabler of DevOps practices and brings developers and operations together to collaborate on automating application delivery at scale. Because databases are typically stateful components in your architecture, it’s important to understand how you can use CloudFormation to provision new resources and manage them throughout their lifecycle. Resources to consider: • Blog post: Using CloudFormation to configure auto scaling for Amazon DynamoDB • Documentation: CloudFormation User Guide
Determine data preparation and migration strategies The exam tests your knowledge of data-migration methods both into and within AWS. To address questions on this topic, it’s important to understand capabilities such as snapshots, database restores, and data-replication options. Ensure you understand which tools and services are most appropriate to maximize efficiency. Additionally, know how to prepare your data sources and targets and choose schema-conversion methods using tools such as the AWS Schema Conversion Tool. Resource to consider: • Blog post: Migrating a commercial database to open source with AWS SCT and AWS DMS
Determine backup and restore strategies To ensure business data is protected, you need to determine appropriate backup and restoration strategies. Depending on the AWS database services being used, backup and recovery strategies will vary. Data-protection strategies may include the ability to take manual snapshots and leverage automated backups or continuous backups. Resource impact resulting from backup and restoration activities can also vary. Backup solutions for AWS database services, such as Aurora and DynamoDB, are designed to have little to no impact on performance and will not cause interruptions. In other cases, such as with Amazon ElastiCache, potential impacts depend on engine version, activity level, or configurations such as reserved memory. Consider performance and availability impacts and mitigation strategies.
Manage the operational environment of a database solution A number of AWS database services are provided as fully managed database services where AWS manages many aspects of database management on your behalf. For example, this could include applying patches to the database engine or its underlying operating system. Ensure you understand how individual database services handle updates and configuration changes, as there are some differences between services.
Determine monitoring and alerting strategies Additionally, you’ll need to be familiar with the monitoring capabilities of the AWS databases and understand how they interact with the additional AWS monitoring and alerting tools, including Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and the collection of custom metrics. Resource to consider: • Documentation: Performance Insights dashboard documentation
Understand how you can optimize database performance For the exam, you’ll need to apply troubleshooting skills to database-performance issues, fine tune database design and performance, and identify AWS tools and services that are most helpful and cost effective for database scenarios. The approach for optimizing performance and costs varies across AWS database services. For example, in DynamoDB, design your application for uniform activity across all logical partition keys in the table and its secondary indexes. Resources to consider: • Blog post: Sharding with Amazon Relational Database Service • Webpage: Amazon RDS Read Replicas
Encrypt data at rest and in transit Encrypting data at rest is a key component of data protection on AWS. AWS database services are unique and often implement data protection in different ways. Understanding how to leverage AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) for encryption key management to create encryption keys and define the policies that control the use of these keys is a topic that you’re likely to encounter on the exam. Be sure to also spend some time reviewing options for the different database engines that support encryption of data in transit. Resource to consider: • Blog post: Select the right encryption options for Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora database engines
Determine access control and authentication mechanisms Authentication options vary by database service. Become familiar with the database services that support authentication via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). For configurations that rely on native-database authentication schemes, know how database credential management can be handled by using AWS Secrets Manager, which allows you to create secrets and use them in place of hard-coded credentials in your applications or infrastructure as code. The value of AWS Certification Architects and IT engineering professionals have the chance to demonstrate their database management expertise and authenticate their knowledge with the AWS Certified Database - Specialty certification. Practicing for a certification exam is a great method to confirm your understanding of several technologies. I hope you'll think about taking this test. Don't forget to utilise the learning options at your disposal, such as our free online courses, free virtual webinars, and courses for exam preparation. Create a training account to pay the suggested courses if you haven't already. I wish you luck!

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