SysadminSG RHCSA Study Guide

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This is the RHCSA Study Guide for the System Administration Study Group.

The study guide is intended to be printed by those who wish to study common tasks performed by many system administrators. This study guide is based upon the Red Hat Certified System Administrator Exam Objectives. Other useful study components will be added here. Community contributions are always welcome.


Understand and Use Essential Tools

Access a shell prompt and issue commands with correct syntax

Access to shell can be done by logging in at boot, or if a graphical desktop environment (X) is used, access can be gained by opening gnome-terminal, konsole, or Terminal. Alternatively, using Alt-Ctrl+fX (F1-F6) will gain access to a virtual teletype terminal. The default shell environment is bash, though sh, zsh, and csh are also available.

Use input-output redirection (>, >>, |, 2>)

The linux command prompt allows the user access to a great variety of useful tools. Furthermore, the shells support advanced ways in which the information generated by the tools can be used further. By using pipes and redirects, the user can take the output from a program (for example: cat) ad send that information to a file or another program. The following are some basic tools:

> (example: cat filename1 filename2 > filename.txt) This puts all the output of the program into a file. If the filename specified does not exist, it will be created. If the filename does exist, it will be completely overwritten, providing the user has permissions to do so.

>> (example: cat filename 1 filename2 >> filename.txt) This basically does the same thing as > except that instead of overwritting files, it ammends and adds to them. It sends the output the the very end of the specified file.

| (example: dmesg | tail | fpaste) Instead of sending the output to a file, the user can send the output to another program. In this example, the user effectively runs dmesg. The output is sent to tail to truncate it to the next 5 lines, which is then sent to the fpaste program which will then send the output to a pastebin.

2> (example: foo 2>1 ) To understand this, you must understand that there are essentially two outputs for programs. Standard output is basically what you see on the screen (represented by the "1" in the example). Standard error contains errors that occur when the program runs that do not get sent to standard output (represented by "2"). In this example, standard error is getting send to standard output, thus displaying the messages on the screen. This is useful for debugging purposes.

2>&1, &> (example: ls > dirlist.txt 2>&1 or: ls &>dirlist.txt ) This is also functionally the same as &> and >&, though 2>&1 is more compatible. This is similar to the above example of 2>1 except that instead of piping standard error to standard output, this will send the ouput of both to a file. This is useful for debugging and logging purposes. This will create the specified output file if it doesn't exist and completely overwrite it if it does exist, providing the user has such permissions.

&>>, >> 2>&1 (example ls &>>dirlist.txt or: ls >> dirlist.txt 2>&1 ) This also will send the output to a file, but in the case the file exists, it will append the output of both standard output and stadard error to the end of the file rather than overwriting it.

Use grep and regular expressions to analyze text

Access remote systems using ssh and VNC

Log in and switch users in multi-user runlevels

Archive, compress, unpack and uncompress files using tar, star, gzip, and bzip2

Create and edit text files

Create, delete, copy and move files and directories

Create hard and soft links

List, set and change standard ugo/rwx permissions

Locate, read and use system documentation including man, info, and files in /usr/share/doc .

Operate Running Systems

Boot, reboot, and shut down a system normally

Boot systems into different runlevels manually

Use single-user mode to gain access to a system

Identify CPU/memory intensive processes, adjust process priority with renice, and kill processes

Locate and interpret system log files

Access a virtual machine's console

Start and stop virtual machines

Start, stop and check the status of network services

Configure Local Storage

List, create, delete and set partition type for primary, extended, and logical partitions

Create and remove physical volumes, assign physical volumes to volume groups, create and delete logical volumes

Create and configure LUKS-encrypted partitions and logical volumes to prompt for password and mount a decrypted file system at boot

Configure systems to mount file systems at boot by Universally Unique ID (UUID) or label

Add new partitions, logical volumes and swap to a system non-destructively

Create and Configure File Systems

Create, mount, unmount and use ext2, ext3 and ext4 file systems

Mount, unmount and use LUKS-encrypted file systems

Mount and unmount CIFS and NFS network file systems

Configure systems to mount ext4, LUKS-encrypted and network file systems automatically

Extend existing unencrypted ext4-formatted logical volumes

Create and configure set-GID directories for collaboration

Create and manage Access Control Lists (ACLs)

Diagnose and correct file permission problems

Deploy, Configure and Maintain Systems

Configure networking and hostname resolution statically or dynamically

Schedule tasks using cron

Configure systems to boot into a specific runlevel automatically

Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux automatically using Kickstart

Configure a physical machine to host virtual guests

Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems as virtual guests

Configure systems to launch virtual machines at boot

Configure network services to start automatically at boot

Configure a system to run a default configuration HTTP server

Configure a system to run a default configuration FTP server

Install and update software packages from a remote repository, or from the local filesystem

Update the kernel package appropriately to ensure a bootable system

Modify the system bootloader

Configure a system to run a default configuration NTP server and synchronize time using other NTP peers

Manage Users and Groups

Create, delete, and modify local user accounts

Change passwords and adjust password aging for local user accounts

Create, delete and modify local groups and group memberships

Configure a system to use an existing LDAP directory service for user and group information

Manage Security

Configure firewall settings using system-config-firewall or iptables

Set enforcing and permissive modes for SELinux

List and identify SELinux file and process context

Restore default file contexts

Use boolean settings to modify system SELinux settings

Diagnose and address routine SELinux policy violations