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How to prepare for the RHCSA EX200 exam

Tom Dean
Tom Dean

Recently, we launched our Red Hat Certified System Administrator (EX200) Exam Prep course. In the new course, we cover all the foundational RHCSA objectives you need to know, the two new objective categories added to the RHCSA v8 exam (“Create simple shell scripts” and “Manage containers”), and the recently added storage technologies, Stratis and Virtual Data Optimizer.

Manage Containers: Invasion of the Podman

Containers are all the rage these days, and that popularity has made its way into the RHCSA exam. The “Manage containers” objective category is a new addition to the exam and our course .

The RHCSA container objectives include:

  • Find and retrieve container images from a remote registry
  • Inspect container images
  • Perform container management using commands such as podman and skopeo
  • Perform basic container management such as running, starting, stopping, and listing running containers
  • Run a service inside a container
  • Configure a container to start automatically as a systemd service
  • Attach persistent storage to a container

Podman has been available for RHEL starting with 7.6/8.0, and is intended as a drop-in replacement for Docker.  Podman is great for standalone container environments, but it’s also a gateway to larger environments utilizing orchestration like Kubernetes or OpenShift.

Whether you’re an old hand, or completely new to containers, we’ll bring you up to speed and before you know it you’ll be proficient with Podman containers. We cover the basics of launching containers, enabling network access, adding persistent storage, and using Podman to create non-root systemd containers. Through the lessons and Hands-On Labs, you will learn the power of Podman and containers themselves. 

K.I.S.S.S. – Know it – Simple Shell Scripts 

Shell scripts have been around longer than Linux itself, and they’re a key tool in a system administrator’s toolbox. This new addition to the exam is also in our course.

Shell scripting objectives include:

  • Conditionally execute code (use of: if, test, [], etc.)
  • Use Looping constructs (for, etc.) to process file, command line input
  • Process script inputs ($1, $2, etc.)
  • Processing output of shell commands within a script
  • Processing shell command exit codes

In the course, we’ve provided some simple shell scripts for you to work with to reinforce your skills, practice new skills, and prepare for the RHCSA exam. We’ve also included a reference to the time-honored “The System Administrator’s Guide to Bash Scripting” course if you’d like to dig deeper into one or more of the scripting objectives.

Stratis – Super Simple Storage

Stratis storage is a Technology Preview in RHEL 8 and is called out in the exam objectives under “Manage layered storage.” And yes, it’s a piece of cake to use. We didn’t save this dessert for last either; you’ll find it right in the middle of the course!

Stratis combines the concepts of LVM with XFS into one easy-to-use interface. Gone are the days of managing storage using a myriad of tools. With Stratis, you get one CLI to rule them all: stratis-cli.  The Stratis daemon, stratisd, manages everything for you in the background.

Stratis is built around the concept of storage pools, which are created from one or more disks or partitions. You then create volumes from the pool, which contain XFS filesystems. If you’re an old hand with LVM, this is probably starting to sound familiar, right?

Stratis may be easy to use, but it brings some advanced features to the storage game, including snapshots, thin provisioning and tiering. These features are powerful, but are also easy to use thanks to the Stratis management interface.

As Stratis is a Technology Preview, there’s a good chance you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you get your dessert!

Maximize Storage with Virtual Data Optimizer

Storage has continued to evolve since the days of the floppy disk, and a recent evolution in storage technology is Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO), covered by the “Configure disk compression” RHCSA exam objective.

Virtual Data Optimizer has been with us since RHEL 7.5, but it’s a prominent part of the storage portion of the current RHCSA exam. VDO enables inline data reduction in Linux via zero-block elimination, deduplication, and compression. All you have to do is install VDO, provide a block device, and specify a logical VDO volume size.  That’s it! You’re free to put a file system directly on your VDO device, or you might want to use LVM to carve your VDO device into logical volumes. The possibilities are endless!

We’ll explore Virtual Data Optimizer both standalone, with a file system on top of VDO, as well as VDO paired with LVM. Come get optimized! Floppy disks not required.

Prepare for the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (EX200) Exam

In our Red Hat Certified System Administrator (EX200) Exam Prep course we’ll cover the Red Hat RHCSA exam objectives via a number of scenario-based lessons that are designed to bring you up to speed on the exam objectives. The lessons are accompanied by additional resources that enable you to dig deeper into the subjects, as needed. Use Lesson Guides to follow along with the lessons, explore additional ACG courses/lessons/labs for reinforcement, check out important Red Hat documentation, and more.

In addition to the lessons, there are a number of fantastic and engaging Hands-On Labs. You’ll have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and dive right into the topics, enabling you to learn by doing!

We’ll bring it all together with the Exam Challenge Lab, which allows you to practice all the skills you’ve learned in one place, preparing you for the actual exam.

So, join us as we put on our Red Hats and dive right in! 

About the author

I’m Tom Dean. I’ve worked in IT for around 25 years, starting out as a Certified Novell Engineer. My focus is in UNIX, Linux, Architecture, and many other connected technologies. I’ve been working as an instructor at A Cloud Guru for just over a year, teaching the world to Linux. Come join me as we prepare for the RHCSA exam!


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