RHCE - Done

Wow! What a journey it's been so far. I'm officially a Red Har Certified Engineer! I was able to score 261 (out of 300).

What a rough exam. I have massive respect for anyone that even attempt this exam. It's by far the most difficult vendor based exams I've ever written. It requires you to think on your feet and to make the solution work, and just to add another level of difficulty, time is not on your side. Time is a massive factor for this exam. Excellent time management is crucial in order to complete all the tasks. But with that said, don't rush. Read the questions carefully, and ensure you know what they're asking for. All the info is right in front of you.

This wasn't my first attempt at taking this exam. A number of things went ‘pear-shaped’ in my first attempt, and I ran out of time. There were a number of small little ‘gotcha’ tricks that I learned studying for it a second time around, and I feel I'm much better off putting in the extra time.

In my opinion, this is a ‘must have’ cert for any sys-admin in the field today. My current role doesn't require me to know all of the topics covered by this exam, so I went into this not having a lot of experience with some of the topics, and I felt a bit behind on those topics. But I'm confident that the time I've put in has brought me up to speed, and very quickly.

A few study tips from my side:

  • Use more than one set of study materials - The reason for this is that to understand some of the complex topics, I had to read more than one explanation on the topic. There are a lot of moving parts to these systems, and to understand how they all fit together is very important to be successful. I used Linux Academy and a task walkthrough video tutorial on Udemy. I've also heard that Sander van Vugt's books are more than decent.
  • Practice - This point I cannot stress enough. And to learn how to manage your time properly, set up small exams for yourself, and measure the amount of time it takes to complete each task.
  • Also, practice on the same version as the exam. You can get that info here
    • While practising in your lab, to ensure that your yum doesn't upgrade to a newer version, add '--releasever=7.0' to your yum commands.
    • And if you're scared you're going to forget to add that every time you install something; create an alias: alias yum='yum --releasever=7.0'
  • Alternatively, and an even better idea, download the ISO for the specific version and setup a local DVD-based repository. And use this as your only repository.
  • For your home lab - Install and configure your own IPA server.
  • In the exam; relax, read all the questions, and make notes. Build a list of packages to install and services to start (and enable). Once you have done the packages and services you have a decent foundation to build on top of. Use vim (instead of vi) - this is a simple one, but it helps a lot, especially when it comes to spelling in configuration files, as well as bash scripts. If you're used to using vi rather. Create a simple alias:
    • /etc/bashrc
      alias vi='vim'
  • Do the longer questions first and keep the easier and questions that don't take a lot of time, for last.
  • Here's some help from Red Hat themselves on how to pass their exams. 7 Tips for Passing a Red Hat cert exam
  • Ensure everything you do, can survive a reboot.
  • Know where to find help - You are going to run into issues during the exam, I most certainly did, and if you don't have to scratch around multiple man-pages to find a possible answer, it will work in your favour.
    A few places you can look for help on a number of topics:

SELinux:

For services that serve data from non-standard directories, or on non-standard ports

# man semanage-fcontext
# man semanage-port

Web Server:

The 'httpd-manual' package installs a vhost that is accessible via http://(WebserverIP)/manual and contains detailed explanations and examples of all things Apache

# yum install httpd-manual
# systemctl restart httpd

Firewalld rich-rules:

This page contains excellent examples of firewall rich rules:

# man firewalld.richlanguage

Postfix:

Check the main configuration file for postfix /etc/postfix/main.cf and find the location of the readme file. For examples on postfix configuration have a look in the STANDARD_CONFIGURATION_README file

# grep 'readme' /etc/postfix/main.cf
readme_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix-2.10.1/README_FILES
# less /usr/share/doc/postfix-2.10.1/README_FILES/STANDARD_CONFIGURATION_README

MariaDB:

I can never remember the syntax for user permissions in mysql, so I use the following help command.

MariaDB [(none)]> help grant;
[...]
CREATE USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'mypass';
GRANT ALL ON db1.* TO 'jeffrey'@'localhost';
GRANT SELECT ON db2.invoice TO 'jeffrey'@'localhost';
GRANT USAGE ON *.* TO 'jeffrey'@'localhost' WITH MAX_QUERIES_PER_HOUR 90;
[...]

nmcli and Network Teaming:

# man nmcli-examples

ISCSI Initiator:

# man iscsiadm

If you're studying for this exam, take it easy, read all the questions properly, manage your time, and good luck!