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AWS Certified Database – Specialty Exam Study Path

The global cloud adoption trend will continue to accelerate in the coming years and that will include the proliferation of deploying and managing purpose-built databases. Companies from all industries will look for talents that can manage the challenges of migrating their data and securing them in the cloud.

The AWS Certified Database – Specialty (DBS-C01) exam is the latest addition to the AWS Specialty Certifications. This exam validates your comprehensive understanding of AWS database services’ breadth, including the concepts of design, migration, deployment, access, maintenance, automation, monitoring, security, and troubleshooting.

This Specialty exam is recommended for people who have acquired extensive real-world experience in database administration and AWS cloud management. However, with commitment, determination, and ample preparation, an individual can aspire to succeed in passing this exam. AWS Support – Knowledge Center, Blogs, and Documentation will serve you well in studying for it. Check out the official AWS Certified Database – Specialty (DBS-C01) Exam Guide for more details on preparing for the exam.

Study Materials

This Specialty exam is very challenging. We recommend checking the materials below before taking the exam:

  1. AWS Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Database – Specialty – a 3.5 hour-course available for FREE in AWS Training and Certification. It will give exam takers a better breakdown of the exam guide and helps you create a structure for preparing for the exam.

  2. AWS Documentation and FAQS – The AWS Documentation has everything. If you can consume them entirely, then you should be very confident about your theory. AWS FAQs have always been a reliable source for exam preparation. It is easy to read and gives you an idea of whether you missed a concept or area of knowledge.

  3. Tutorials Dojo’s AWS Cheat Sheets – an alternative to the lengthy FAQs is Tutorials Dojo’s collection of AWS cheat sheets that are presented in bullet points to help you easily digest the information. This page summarizes all the database-related cheat sheets that are published on the site.

  4. AWS Support – Knowledge Center – This is the gold mine, the Eureka moment, the Nirvana. Many questions from the exam will be based on how well you understand the body of thought surrounding the questions posted here. Particular focus on the Database section, Amazon Redshift, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon CloudWatch, and AWS CloudTrail.

  5. AWS Whitepapers – good source of information. Several useful whitepapers are located in the AWS Certification Exam Preparation page

  6. AWS Well-Architected Framework – digest this framework when going through the examination.

  7. Tutorials Dojo’s AWS Certified Database Specialty Practice Exams – simulate the actual exam environment with scenario questions that are patterned after the real test.

Core AWS Services to Focus On

1. Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) – Special mention on Amazon Aurora

  • Architecture
  • High Availability (Multi-AZ and Replicas)
  • Database Engines (MySQL, MariaDB, Microsoft, Oracle, PostgreSQL)
  • Deployment & Connection Management
  • DB Cluster/Instance Management
  • Scaling (Storage, Compute, Read)
  • Network Management (VPC, Security Groups, DB Subnet Groups)
  • Aurora Serverless
  • Cloning
  • Aurora Backtrack
  • Aurora Multi-Master
  • Amazon Aurora Global Databases
  • Cross-Region Replication
  • Backup and Restore (PITR, Copy, Share, Migrate, Automatic, Manual)
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  • Database Activity Streams
  • Enhanced Monitoring
  • Performance Insights
  • Event Notifications
  • Amazon EventBridge
  • Data Protection
  • IAM Database Authentication
  • Audit
  • Integration with AWS Services (e.g. CloudWatch, CloudTrail, Lambda, KMS)
  • Migration strategies (e.g. Snowball Edge)
  • Best Practices

2. Amazon DynamoDB

  • Architecture
  • Deployment & Connection Management
  • Scaling (RCU, WCU)
  • DynamoDB Global Tables
  • Cross-Region Replication
  • On-demand Backup and Restore
  • DynamoDB Streams
  • DynamoDB Accelerator
  • Contributor Insights
  • Data Protection
  • Audit
  • Integration with AWS Services
  • Migration strategies
  • Best Practices

3. AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS)

  • Architecture
  • Deployment
  • Migration Assessments
  • Migration Task Settings
  • Integration with AWS Schema Conversion Tool

4. AWS CloudFormation

  • Templates
  • Integration with AWS Services (e.g. Secrets Manager, Systems Manager)

5. Amazon Redshift

  • Architecture
  • Deployment & Connection Management
  • Cluster Management
  • Scaling
  • Cross-Region Replication
  • Workload Management
  • Redshift Spectrum
  • Data Protection
  • Audit
  • Integration with AWS Services
  • Migration strategies
  • Best Practices

6. Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility)

  • Architecture
  • Deployment
  • Migration Best Practices
  • Monitoring
  • Security Best Practices

7. Amazon Neptune

  • Architecture
  • Deployment
  • Migration Best Practices
  • Monitoring
  • Security Best Practices

8. Amazon ElastiCache (Redis and Memcached)

  • Architecture
  • Deployment
  • Migration Best Practices
  • Monitoring
  • Security Best Practices

9. Amazon QLDB

  • Architecture
  • Deployment

Validate Your Knowledge

The first resource you should check after you’ve reviewed the materials above is the FREE AWS sample questions for AWS Database Specialty. It has ten questions patterned similarly to the real exam, and AWS has provided the answers with great explanations for each item at the end of the file. Be sure to check the sample questionnaire often since AWS may upload a new version of it.

You can use Tutorials Dojo’s high-quality AWS Certified Database Specialty Practice Exams to get you prepared for a full-on exam simulation. Our practice exams contain multiple sets of questions covering almost every area you can expect from the real certification exam. We also include detailed explanations after each item to understand why one choice is better than the others, which is the value you get from our course. Practice exams are a great way to know which AWS topics you need to focus on, and they also highlight the critical information that you might have missed during your reviews.

AWS Certified Database Specialty Practice Exams

Sample Practice Test Questions:

Tutorials Dojo Study Guide and Cheatsheet

Question 1

A CRM application is using an Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance and has been quite active for the past 24 hours. A Database Specialist received an alarm that the free database space is less than 10 percent of the allocated storage but decided to let RDS manage the issue through storage autoscaling. Two hours have passed, and the Database Specialist was surprised to discover that the allocated storage did not increase at all. The maximum storage threshold was set at a significantly higher value.

What is most likely causing the issue?

  1. When the free database space is less than 10 percent of the allocated storage, the Database Specialist needs to modify the storage size manually.
  2. The database storage can only scale at least six hours after the last storage modification.
  3. Storage Autoscaling will only modify the total allocated storage during the next maintenance window.
  4. The RDS DB instance status is backing-up.

Correct Answer: 2

With storage autoscaling enabled, Amazon RDS automatically scales up your storage whenever it detects that you are running out of free database space. Amazon RDS starts a storage modification for an autoscaling-enabled DB instance when these factors apply:

  • Free available space is less than 10 percent of the allocated storage.
  • The low-storage condition lasts at least five minutes.
  • At least six hours have passed since the last storage modification.

The additional storage is in increments of whichever of the following is more significant:

  • 5 GiB
  • 10 percent of currently allocated storage
  • Storage growth prediction for 7 hours based on the FreeStorageSpace metrics change in the past hour.

Suppose you recently increased the RDS DB instance’s storage, either manually or by autoscaling. In that case, the instance can’t have any more storage modifications for six hours (the cooldown period) after the DB instance completes the storage optimization. The storage modification cooldown period can exceed six hours total because the cooldown period begins once the operation has ended, and the storage optimization can sometimes take hours to complete. During the storage modification cooldown period, autoscaling can’t increase your DB instance’s storage, even if there is less than 10% of free storage space.

Among the choice, the most probable root cause is the option that says: The database storage can only scale at least six hours after the last storage modification.

The option that says: When the free database space is less than 10 percent of the allocated storage, the Database Specialist needs to modify the storage size manually is incorrect. This statement is not valid. Storage Autoscaling was designed to eliminate the need to scale the DB instance storage.

The option that says: Storage Autoscaling will only modify the total allocated storage during the next maintenance window is incorrect. Amazon RDS triggers storage autoscaling as soon as one of the conditions mentioned above holds.

The option that says: The RDS DB instance status is backing-up is incorrect. RDS snapshots do not hold the database unavailable for that long.

References:
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonRDS/latest/UserGuide/USER_PIOPS.StorageTypes.html
https://aws.amazon.com/premiumsupport/knowledge-center/rds-autoscaling-low-free-storage/

Question 2

A startup is developing a ride-hailing mobile app that stores GPS coordinates of all the rides made by its users. Real-time statistics must also be provided with microsecond latency for reporting purposes. A Database Specialist needs to deploy a highly scalable and fault-tolerant database that can meet the app workload with minimal development effort.

Which solution can satisfy the above requirements?

  1. Launch an Amazon Aurora database cluster with Database Activity Streams to provide microsecond response time.
  2. Launch an Amazon Aurora database with cluster cache management. Set up synchronization between the writer DB instance’s buffer cache and the designated reader’s warm buffer cache.
  3. Launch an Amazon DynamoDB table with Auto Scaling enabled to provide microsecond latency.
  4. Launch an Amazon DynamoDB table with DAX to provide microsecond latency.

Correct Answer: 4

Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) is a fully managed, highly available, in-memory cache that can reduce Amazon DynamoDB response times from milliseconds to microseconds, even at millions of requests per second.

DAX does all the heavy lifting required to add in-memory acceleration to your DynamoDB tables, without requiring developers to manage cache invalidation, data population, or cluster management.

With DAX, you can focus on building great applications for your customers without worrying about performance at scale. You do not need to modify application logic because DAX is compatible with existing DynamoDB API calls.

Therefore, the correct answer is: Launch an Amazon DynamoDB table with DAX to provide microsecond latency.

The option that says: Launch an Amazon Aurora database cluster with Database Activity Streams to provide microsecond response time is incorrect because the Database Activity Streams feature just provides a near real-time data stream of the database activity in your relational database. It’s not capable of reducing the response times of your database to microseconds, unlike DynamoDB DAX.

The option that says: Launch an Amazon Aurora database with cluster cache management. Set up synchronization between the writer DB instance’s buffer cache and the designated reader’s warm buffer cache is incorrect because the cluster cache management feature only allows fast recovery of the writer DB instance in your Aurora PostgreSQL clusters if there’s a failover. It doesn’t provide microsecond latency to your database.

The option that says: Launch an Amazon DynamoDB table with Auto Scaling enabled to provide microsecond latency is incorrect because DynamoDB Auto Scaling is primarily used to automate capacity management for your tables and global secondary indexes.

Check out this Amazon DynamoDB Cheat Sheet:
https://tutorialsdojo.com/amazon-dynamodb/

Click here for more AWS Certified Database Specialty practice exam questions.

Check out our other AWS practice test courses here:Tutorials Dojo AWS Practice Tests

Final Remarks

Hands-on experience helps a lot in preparing for this exam. Many of the questions try to validate whether you have seen a particular error or issue during your practice. However, it is not every day that you have access and resources to build an Amazon Aurora cluster or an Amazon Redshift cluster. Nevertheless, we recommend trying it out with an AWS free-tier account and creating an RDS DB instance for free. The experience of creating the DB instance will help you a lot already.

During the exam, keep in mind the AWS Well-Architected Framework as you read the questions. You will notice keywords that separate two or more possible answers to the problem. Good luck, and if you have any questions, join the Tutorials Dojo Slack channel to exchange knowledge with fellow IT professionals.

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