Red Hat Study Buddy Group 2012 – Beginning of Week 2

I hope last week was productive for you in your journey towards a Red Hat certification. To recap I posted every scrap of official information that I could find as well as some generously donated EX200 RHCSA study notes from a reader who was already days away from taking the EX200 RHCSA exam.

Also this week I pulled the book “Hands-on Guide to the Red Hat® Exams: RHSCA™ and RHCE® Cert Guide and Lab Manual” into my Safari Books account. It has rather poor reviews on Safari as well as Amazon, however I figured I’d peruse it more for the labs and less for the written word. If I can approach a few labs as if they were actual tasks on a performance based exam then my reasoning is that, regardless of poor information in the book itself, I can still Google my way to the correct answers and get more hands on experience with the crevices of Red Hat that I don’t normally deal with.

Assess Thyself!

Commentor Matthew had a good point last week. Has anyone taken the Red Hat Linux system administration skills assessment? If you want to get a vague idea of what kind of readiness you’ve attained, take the skills assessment test. Be warned that a lot of information is required before you can take it and it’s a means of advertising Red Hat’s official courses. You’ll probably get contacted by a Red Hat representative too.

In spite of all that, if you do end up taking the assessment test, share your results below!

How Did You Get On Last Week?

Remember, this is pretty much an individually self directed study group. The strength comes in 1) knowing that you’ve publicly stated your intentions and will be forever shamed in public if you fail (only kidding…), and 2) whatever effort you put into networking with others. If people want to pull together and make consistent Google+ Hangouts and SysAdmin-Network threads, that’s awesome! I’ll try and prod things in that direction once in a while, but others will have to take the initiative if the dates and times aren’t set up to their liking.

So how did you do in accomplishing your steps towards the Red Hat certification goals that you’ve set out for yourself?

I had stated that the goals for last week were:

  • Scour the RedHat site for hints, tips, and the official synopsis for the EX200 test.
  • Set up some virtual machines with the latest CentOS (Sorry Scientific Linux)
  • Read one, maybe two chapters in the RHCSA/RHCE book including the labs.

I didn’t really do #1. I elected instead to just dive into chasing any fancies that caught my eye as I tweaked around with a few test Red Hat installs. I think that was a more productive choice.

I did #2, but not in the way that I wanted. I set up VirtualBox on an old Windows machine and spun up some destructible CentOS instances. I kicked them around plenty good, so it wasn’t a waste, but I’d rather have bare metal installs to play with KVM on. I’ll be recovering one workstation for that purpose and I’ve also got a shipment of older servers coming to my consultancy that I can use for this.

#3 I did up pretty good. I finished chapter 1, but spent two entire evenings parked on only a few pages. In reality, I decided to let myself stroll through historical writings on why the Linux file system is set up the way it is, the history of `init` and its replacement by upstart, as well as a few other things. All in all, great information that helps solidify my understanding of systems. I can’t be told what to do – I have to know why I’m doing it. Rote memorization has its place, but it seems less useful for my brain’s tendencies than perhaps other people find it.

Get on Wiff Yo’ Bad Selves

We’re facing a new week this week. My goals are:

  • Set up a more permanent virtualization environment on some hardware that I’ve reclaimed. I want to set up a bare metal instance of CentOS to use as a KVM host.
  • Get through Chapter 2 of the RHCSA /RHCE book.
  • Park on specific topics as desired. I’ll probably do a good night or two camping out with iptables.

What are your goals for this week? Have you already set an exam date? I’m considering booking my exam well in advance just to give myself something to focus on. I’m thinking December 7th is a good date to give myself enough time to scramble and retake if I have to.

Any ideas and suggestions for the group’s success? Want to schedule an online meeting of some kind? Have some study materials and tools to share? Let me know in the comments below.

9 Comments

  1. Simon

    October 15, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I found this site – http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos and bought the RHCSA/RHCE (Jang) book. I’m finding the book a bit confusing – for instance:

    Chapter 1 – An exercise is to set up a couple of LKM (KLM?) partitions and play around with it. When I finished it, it looked nothing like the partition layout in the following chapter.

    I think I too will need to install it (Centos 6) to metal. Unfortunately, I only have 1 PC available and I’m using a Linux Format disc with what I believe is a 32 bit version. Do I need a 64 bit version to be able to run kvm. I know I can run a 64 bit OS on the hardware..

    Also already dual-booting windows 7 and ubuntu 12.04 on it (each on a separate hard drive) so a bit fearful of messing up the layout and all my data.

    I also need a server, and a few clients. What does anyone reckon is the best way to do that? Server to bare metal and virtualise the clients on the server? Other way round? I imagine it’s best to virtualise the server. I’ve got 4 gigs of memory to play with and it looks like I can “overbook” the ram from what the book says.

    I also applied for a job and had an interview with a company in London that runs 2 datacentres with Centos on them. They liked my passion for linux but said I lack the formal qualifications as most of my experience is desktop based. They will send me a test this week so I have even more drive to improve with Centos. 🙂

    Happy studying!

    Reply

    • Wesley David

      October 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Chapter 1 – An exercise is to set up a couple of LKM (KLM?) partitions and play around with it. When I finished it, it looked nothing like the partition layout in the following chapter.

      Perhaps that was a typo for LVM partitions? Maybe it was fixed later because I searched the PDF for chapter 1 that I have and can’t find “LKM” in it anywhere.

      I think I too will need to install it (Centos 6) to metal. Unfortunately, I only have 1 PC available and I’m using a Linux Format disc with what I believe is a 32 bit version. Do I need a 64 bit version to be able to run kvm. I know I can run a 64 bit OS on the hardware..

      Yes, I started with a few CentOS systems that were themselves virtualization on a Windows machine that had some spare capacity and was about to Install CentOS in a VM on my MacBook. However, a bare metal install is much preferred since you’ll be mucking about with KVM and installing some virtual machines within KVM. Going from Metal OS -> VirtualBox -> Centos with KVM -> KVM Guest is a bit… sketchy. =)

      Yes, you need 64-bit hardware and the 64-bit CentOS install to use KVM.

      Also already dual-booting windows 7 and ubuntu 12.04 on it (each on a separate hard drive) so a bit fearful of messing up the layout and all my data.

      That would be a bit tricky. Make backups first! However, if you really can’t find a spare bit of hardware, maybe the study group can find some hosted hardware for you to use. I might be able to help, but it will be a few weeks waiting. =/

      I also need a server, and a few clients. What does anyone reckon is the best way to do that? Server to bare metal and virtualise the clients on the server? Other way round? I imagine it’s best to virtualise the server. I’ve got 4 gigs of memory to play with and it looks like I can “overbook” the ram from what the book says.

      Yes, put a CentOS instance (or Scientific Linux or Oracle Linux or a trial of RHEL) on bare metal and then spin up virtual clients as necessary. 4GB should be enough to get by with as long as it’s on bare metal.

      I also applied for a job and had an interview with a company in London that runs 2 datacentres with Centos on them. They liked my passion for linux but said I lack the formal qualifications as most of my experience is desktop based. They will send me a test this week so I have even more drive to improve with Centos.

      And that is the purpose of this study group. To improve one’s chances of gainful employment. =)

      Reply

  2. Mathew

    October 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

    • Wesley David

      October 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Wow, looks like you’re ready to rock!

      Reply

  3. Mathew

    October 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    One thing the Jang book leaves me concerned about is the use of a GUI. As a Linux admin I find the command line faster to use than a mouse and graphical tools. However, the book doesn’t go into much CLI detail and focuses on the GUI tools. I wonder if there is a reason. Personally, I’m working out the VM stuff using virsh.

    Reply

    • Wesley David

      October 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      The issue is that the RHCSA includes the GUI, by all accounts from the public information available from RedHat. Also keep in mind that the RHCSA is not focused on SysAdmins in the sense of the term as we might know it, but rather a person in a more menial role that will be deploying and managing desktops, not servers.

      Reply

  4. Mathew

    October 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    What I’ll probably end up doing is having the GUI running in one virtual terminal and switching to it as needed, but working primarily at the command line.

    Reply

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