Oracle Solaris 11 Certification Study Tips

For the past year and a half (beginning in Dec 2011), I have been working as a SME with Oracle on the development the Solaris 11 Certification exams.  My role has been to assist in writing exam questions for the OCA and OCP exams as well as technical editing for other members of the team.   At the same time, I have been working on my next book, “Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration” (http://unixed.com/solaris11book.html ) and providing Solaris training to administrators around the world.

Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration

Available Jun 21, 2013    (Prentice Hall)

Many of you have used my books in the past to prepare for the Solaris certification exams.  You know that I do not write Exam Cram style books.  I have never seen much value in providing a book that only provides answers to exam questions.  Typically, these exams are updated periodically and the Exam Prep book quickly falls out of date.   I have been approached by other publishers to write such books and I have declined their offer.  In some respects, these books devalue the certification process.  What is the value in passing the certification exam if you do not really know the material?  I have interviewed hundreds of system administrators for my clients and one of the first things we look for on an application is the candidate’s certifications (Human Resource people like to see this).  However, certification is only part of the picture; we also look at education and work history.  A certification will generally get you noticed and usually an interview.

During the interview process, you’ll be asked questions, much tougher than you were asked on the exam.  Typically, multiple senior level administrators will be involved.  If you don’t really know the material, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

I have been teaching Solaris and working as a senior level administrator for over 20 years.  I write my books to teach readers around the world, how to administer Solaris systems.  It helps that I also assist Oracle in the development of the certification exams, so that I can ensure that the material covered on the exams is also covered in my book.   I won’t give you actual exam questions and I won’t provide exam answers.  It’s my goal to teach you the art of administering a Solaris 11 system so that you are knowledgeable and can answer questions on the topics, regardless of how the question is phrased.  This book has 750 pages which will prepare you for the certification exam, but more importantly, it prepares you for the interview and ultimately the job.

Use this book to learn about administering Solaris 11 and to also prepare for the Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator Exam.  There are two levels of certification that you can achieve;  OCA and OCP, both are described below:

Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator – 1Z0-821
This is the first level certification for Solaris 11 and is described on Oracle’s website.
On the Oracle webpage, click on the “Exam Topics” tab to view the current exam objectives.
Completing this exam is step 1.  You should also consider the OCP certification.

Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator – 1Z0-822
This is the next, and highest, level of certification for the Solaris 11 OS and is described on Oracle’s website. On the Oracle webpage, click on the “Exam Topics” tab to view the current exam objectives.  You must pass the 1Z0-821 OCA exam in addition to this exam to receive your OCP certification.
This is the certification that most employers are looking for.


Save money and take the 1Z0-822  beta exam before it ends on June 29, 2013.  It’s only $50!
 (discounted from $300)

For more information, visit the Oracle Certification blog


Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator – 1Z0-820 (Upgrade Exam)

If you are already certified on any previous version of Solaris, you’ll only need to take the upgrade exam to get your OCP certification.  This exam is for any previous version Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Solaris System Administrator or any previous version Sun Certified System Administrator.  This exam gives existing certified professionals the highest level of certification for the Solaris 11 OS and is described on Oracle’s website.
On the Oracle webpage, click on the “Exam Topics” tab to view the current exam objectives.
When you complete this exam, you have the same level of certification as those who have taken both the 1Z0-821 and the 1Z0-822 exam.

Oracle Solaris 11 Installation and Configuration Certified Implementation Specialist– 1Z0-580
This certification is for Oracle Partners, not the general public.  All of the topics on this exam are covered in this book. Details for this exam are described on Oracle’s website.
On the Oracle webpage, click on the “Exam Topics” tab to view the current exam objectives.


1Z0-821 Study Tips

The following are study tips for the Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator – 1Z0-821 exam.

I have listed the current exam objectives followed by each chapter in my book that covers these objectives.  The chapter listed covers each exam objective in detail providing everything that you need to know to answer the questions that may be encountered on the exam.  In most cases, each chapter goes above and beyond what you need to know for the exam.  Throughout each chapter, you’ll see step by step examples.   Perform these examples until you can perform them from memory.

The exam will not simply ask you simple questions like, “Which command is used to create a ZFS file system?”    Instead, it will be more like, “The following output illustrates the ZFS file system structure on another server.  Choose the option which duplicate this file system on the current server?”

The question may require more than one correct answer, like this: “Choose the steps required to migrate a Solaris 10 server to a solaris10 brand zone?”  Multiple correct answers will need to be selected.  If you get one answer wrong, the entire question is wrong.

Therefore, you need to not only know the material in the book, but you need to be able to interpret a scenario and understand the best practice for resolving a particular system issue.  I try to point these out throughout the book.  There will be multiple methods for performing a task in Solaris, but some are better than others and considered “best practice.”

The following numbered items are exam objectives for the 1Z0-821 exam.  Each exam objective has sub-objectives which are prefixed with a bullet (•).  For each, I have specified the chapter(s) that you need to study to prepare for the questions that you may encounter.

1. Installing Oracle Solaris 11 using an Interactive Installer

  • Plan for an Oracle Solaris 11 operating system installation
  • Install the Oracle Solaris 11 operating system by using an interactive installer
  • Verify the operating system installation
  • Troubleshoot installation issues
  • Access Open Boot PROM

Chapter 1 covers the methods of installing the OS.
Chapter 3, beginning on pg 124 covers OpenBoot including accessing the OpenBoot PROM

2. Updating and Managing Software Packages

  • Explain the image packaging system (IPS)
  • Update the Oracle Solaris 11 operating system by using IPS
  • Manage software packages by using Package Manager and the command line interface
  • Administer boot environments using Package Manager and the command line interface
  • Troubleshoot software update issues

Chapter 2 covers IPS, installing software, updating the software, managing and administering IPS from the command line, Boot Environments (BEs), and troubleshooting updates (fixing , verifying and reinstalling packages)

3. Administering Services

  • Explain the role of the Service Management Facility (SMF)
  • Administer SMF services
  • Boot and shut down a system
  • Troubleshoot service and boot issues

Chapter 3 booting, rebooting,  and shutting down the system (including fast reboot and milestones).  Openboot and SMF are described including administering SMF.
Chapter 3 also covers boot and shutdown procedures including configuring the OpenBoot PROM.  Troubleshooting boot issues and setting up the notification service are also covered in this chapter.

4. Setting Up and Administering Data Storage

  • Describe ZFS
  • Administer ZFS Storage Pools
  • Administer ZFS File Systems
  • Administer ZFS Snapshots and Clones
  • Troubleshoot file systems and storage issues

Chapter 5 describes ZFS concepts, administration of ZFS storage pools and file systems, administering ZFS Snapshots and Clones, and troubleshooting ZFS problems.
Chapter 4 covers administering Storage Devices.

5. Administering Oracle Solaris Zones

  • Explain Oracle Solaris Zones
  • Determine the current zones configuration and resource utilization on the system
  • Administer an Oracle Solaris zone
  • Troubleshoot zone and resource utilization issues

Chapter 6 describes Solaris zones: Complete description of immutable zones, creating and administering zones, containing resources, and troubleshooting zones.

6. Administering a Physical Network

  • Explain basic networking concepts
  • Configure a network interface
  • Administer a network interface
  • Verify network operation
  • Determine datalink availability
  • Troubleshoot network issues

Chapter  9 describes how to setup networking in Solaris 11, it provides a description of virtual networking and the components that make up a VNET including how to setup a virtual network between non-global zones.

7. Setting Up and Administering User Accounts

  • Explain key user management concepts
  • Set up user accounts
  • Manage user accounts
  • Manage user initialization files
  • Use shell metacharacters
  • Configure user disk quotas
  • Troubleshoot user account and quota issues

Chapter 7, User and Security Administration, covers these seven objectives.

8. Controlling Access to Systems and Files

  • Control access to systems
  • Control access to files
  • Use authentication
  • Troubleshoot access and authentication issues

Chapter 7, User and Security Administration, covers these four objectives.

9. Managing System Processes and Scheduling System Tasks

  • Manage system processes
  • Schedule system administration tasks
  • Troubleshoot process issues
  • Monitor system logs
  • Explain the use of core files, core dump files and crash dump files

Chapter 8, Managing System Processes

 


1Z0-820 (Upgrade Exam) Study Tips

The following are study tips for the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) Upgrade Exam, Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator – 1Z0-820 exam.

1. Transitioning to Oracle Solaris 11

  • Describe key considerations for transitioning from Oracle Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11

My book’s Preface describes “What’s New In Solaris 11” and chapter 1 describes the requirements for installing Solaris 11 including supported hardware platforms.

2. Managing Software Packages in Oracle Solaris 11

  • Describe the Image Packaging System (IPS)
  • Plan for moving to IPS
  • Configure a local package repository
  • Configure network client systems to use IPS
  • Manage packages using IPS
  • Manage signed packages and package properties
  • Update the OS image by using IPS
  • Publish a software package by using IPS
  • Manage boot environments

Chapter 2 covers IPS, installing software, updating the software, managing and administering IPS from the command line, Boot Environments (BEs), and troubleshooting updates (fixing , verifying and reinstalling packages)

3. Installing the Oracle Solaris 11 Operating System

  • Describe Oracle Solaris 11 installation options
  • Plan for an Oracle Solaris 11 installation
  • Perform Attended and Unattended Installations
  • Configure an AI server
  • Configure an AI client
  • Install Oracle Solaris 11 by using AI
  • Compare a JumpStart OS installation to an AI OS installation
  • Convert a JumpStart configuration to an AI configuration
  • Describe the distribution constructor

Chapter 1 covers the methods of installing the OS.
Refer to my blog entry on AI for information related to the information on the Automated Installer that you will need to know.

4. Administering Oracle Solaris 11 Zones

  • Describe the new zone features and enhancements
  • Create a Solaris 11 zone
  • Log on and off, start up, shut down, and halt zones
  • Describe other RMAN improvements
  • Allocate system resources to a Solaris zone
  • Identify current zone configuration and zone resource allocations on the system
  • Configure a Solaris 10 zone
  • Perform a virtual-to-virtual migration of zones present in the source system (V2V)
  • Migrate a physical Solaris 10 system to a Solaris 10 zone (P2V)
  • Configure a non-global zone by using AI
  • Monitor zone resource consumption
  • Delegate zone administration
  • Manage the Scheduling Class of a zone
  • Monitor the FSS
  • Configure the FSS

Chapter 6 describes Solaris zones: Complete description of immutable zones, creating and administering zones, containing resources, and troubleshooting zones.

5. Oracle Solaris 11 Network

  • Configure systems on a local network using the new facilities and commands
  • Manage the network using new Solaris 11 management utilities
  • Configure NFS server and clients and administer NFS services
  • Configure Network Auto-Magic (NWAM)
  • Configure IPMP
  • Configure network virtualization
  • Configure a network bridge
  • Monitor the network using the new Solaris 11 network monitoring utilities

Chapter  9 describes how to setup networking in Solaris 11, it provides a description of virtual networking and the components that make up a Virtual Network including how to setup a virtual network between non-global zones.

6. Oracle Solaris 11 Storage

  • Create, destroy and query a ZFS storage pool
  • Create, destroy and query a ZFS file system
  • Create, destroy and query a ZFS snapshot
  • Create and destroy a ZFS clone
  • Configure data backup and restore
  • Manage ZFS properties
  • Describe the new storage features and enhancements
  • Split a mirrored ZFS storage pool
  • Identify ZFS snapshot differences
  • Configure ZFS deduplication
  • Configure COMSTAR
  • Perform Shadow Migration

Chapter 5 describes ZFS concepts, administration of ZFS storage pools and file systems, administering ZFS Snapshots and Clones, and troubleshooting ZFS problems.
Chapter 4 covers administering Storage Devices.

7. Oracle Solaris 11 Security

  • Describe the new security features and enhancements
  • Describe the Oracle Solaris cryptographic framework
  • Encrypt ZFS data
  • Use the Basic Audit Reporting Tool (BART) to audit system files
  • Configure Solaris Auditing
  • Configure and Use RBAC
  • Configure and manage privileges

Chapter 7, User and Security Administration, covers these objectives.
Chapter 5 covers ZFS encryption.

8. Services and Processes

  • Configure SMF Services
  • Manage process scheduling priority

Chapter 8, Managing System Processes covers these objectives.

9. Monitoring and Troubleshooting

  • Monitor system resources
  • Configure system crash facilities
  • Configure dump facilities for business application failure

Chapter 8 (beginning on pg 581) describes how to configure core files and crash dumps.
Chapter 3 (beginning on page 237) describes how to configure syslog and rsyslog.

 

4 Thoughts on “Oracle Solaris 11 Certification Study Tips

  1. Great Job! I can’t wait to read it!

  2. i want take course of oracle in oracle university in egypt

  3. Pingback: Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration book | Bill Calkins' Blog

  4. Hi Bill,
    Just bought the Solaris 11 book to prep for the upgrade exam. Having trouble finding the blog entry you mention that covers AI?

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