Passed EX436 High Availability Clustering

After my classroom exam was cancelled, I decided to take an individual exam.

Red Hat Individual Exam Experience

This was the first time I took an individual exam, and to be honest, having read plethora of reviews online about people having all sorts of problems, I was, to say the least, a bit worried.

There are two places that offer individual Red Hat exams in the UK, one in London, and one in Manchester. Either way it’s a two-hour drive from where I live. Driving in London is a no no, so I booked the exam in Manchester. The place is at the UKFast Campus and it has free on-site parking, amazing.

I didn’t get the personal testing station (the one that they show in the individual exam sessions video), but was provided with a 17″ laptop instead. I was monitored remotely by a Red Hat test proctor.

The whole experience was very positive. I had no issues with the laptop, no networking or performance problems. I already started considering taking all of my RHCA exams there.

EX436 Exam Experience

I’ve passed the exam with the score of 300/300.

I finished all the tasks in under 90 minutes, and then spent some time testing everything making sure that there are no issues. I’d say that 3 hours is plenty of time even if you need to troubleshoot something (I did have to troubleshoot a few things).

What I liked about this exam the most was the implementation of a complete solution. You build from the ground up until you have a highly available system.

As with other Red Hat exams that I’ve taken, the key thing for me was to know where to find information on a RHEL system.

45 thoughts on “Passed EX436 High Availability Clustering

  1. Congratulations.
    I took the exam past year, I’ve the same experiencie.
    Also I used your notes to study.


  2. Hi Guys,

    I am appearing in EX436 exam next week. I have experience with RHEL cluster administration and also completed the Red Hat recommended training. I am looking for some sample exam questions to have an idea.

    Anyone please help me.

    • There is a comprehensive review lab at the end of the RH436 training course if you have access to RHLS.

      Good luck with your exam!

  3. Hi,

    Thanks Tomas for your reply. I have access to online course and have practiced comprehensive labs. I have another question regarding SELINUX context. With RHEL 7.1, can I use the below command, if it is asked in exam to mount Apache Document Root with SELINUX context on GFS2.

    pcs resource create clusterfs Filesystem device=”/dev/clustervg/ clusterlv” directory=”/var/www/html” fstype=”gfs2″ options=”noatime,context=system_u:object_r:httpd_sys_content_t:s0″ op monitor interval=10s on-fail=fence clone interleave=true

    Or if you can suggest me any other way to achieve the same.

    Thanks !!!

    • Although I’ve not verified your syntax, that command looks OK. You will likely want to use nodiratime with GFS2 as well.

  4. Hi,

    Today I have successfully passed my EX436 High Availability Clustering Exam with 300/300 score.

    First step towards RHCA …..

    Thanks for support and guidance here …..

  5. Hi Tomas,
    Congrats on your results!
    I’m really worried only for the fencing mechanism.
    Can you hint me if the exam requirements lead you in a specific stonith agent or they gave the freedom to choose.

    Usually a cluster requires shared storage and this leads me either to sbd (a.k.a poison pill) as I got lots of experience with that or fence_scsi/fence_multipath – which I haven’t deployed in real clusters.

  6. Hello Tomas.

    What would be your estimation on how much time you spent on labs + studying materials for this exam?

    Thank you

    • Hi Karol, it’s difficult to estimate because I studied LPIC-3 High Availability before (it covers pacemaker and corosync), and had some clustering knowledge already. I’d say that for EX436, I spent 10 hours of studying and 40 hours of labbing.

  7. Hi Guys,
    If configuring a cluster with the auto_tie_breaker quorum option is asked in EX436 exam, the auto_tie_breaker option has to be added only or the wait_for_all is required as well?
    From what I understand, the use of last_man_standing requires the use of wait_for_all because it allows multiple partitions to claim quorum at the same time, but the auto_tie_breaker option doesn’t require the wait_for_all.
    Your advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi,
      about offline documentation during the exam. I tried to find it like in Ovirt portal – pdf on the main webpage, but there are no docs on the nodea:2224 (( Where can I find it? Or you mean pacemaker-doc package?
      Thanks in advance ))

  8. Hi Tomas,

    I have appeared for RH436 but i faced problem of not “multipath -ll” was listing any details, though /etc/multipath.conf was properly configured but i found /dev/sda as a common disk which is available on all the nodes.

    therefore i created pvcreate, it got successfuly with the following errors.

    # pvcreate /dev/sda
    connect() failed on local socket: No such file or directory
    Internal cluster locking initialization failed
    WARNING: Failing back to local file-based locking.
    Volume Groups with the clustered attribute will be inaccessible.
    Physical volume “/dev/sda” successfully created

    # vgcreate -Ay -cy clustervg /dev/sda
    connect() failed on local socket: No such file or directory
    Internal cluster locking initialization failed
    WARNING: Failing back to local file-based locking.
    Volume Groups with the clustered attribute will be inaccessible.
    Clustered volume group “clustervg” successfully created

    # lvcreate -L 1G -n clusterlv clustervg
    connect() failed on local socket: No such file or directory
    Internal cluster locking initialization failed

    WARNING: Failing back to local file-based locking.
    Volume Groups with the clustered attribute will be inaccessible.
    Skipping clustered volume group clustervg
    When i asked the proctor about this error then he simply asked me to check with the support and i am facing the error issue in RH436 LAB provided through RHLS and it is not yet fixed by the Red Hat Support.

    Just want to ask you if you ever came across the same type of issue?

    Absar Ahammad Shaik.

    • Hi Absar,
      This error “connect() failed on local socket: No such file or directory” comes when the disk you are using are not shared among both nodes. Make sure they are shared properly. Go to below directory and check if the wwid of /dev/sda are same on both node
      Node1# ls -lrth /dev/disk/by-id/
      Node2# ls -lrth /dev/disk/by-id

  9. Hello i want to as a question about the exam
    do we need to install iscsi from scratch on the server or its ready to install it only on nodes?
    and one more
    do we need to install from scratch fence_xvm.key or its ready ?


  10. Hi

    Thanks for sharing everything and congratulations about your success.

    I will take the HA 436 Exam, but v8, and i think everything needs to be done with Ansible playbooks . Is this true ? I guess you passed the v7 version and there was no playbook necessity. Can you please comment.


    • Hi, EX436 is not an Ansible exam, therefore you can configure services manually. The exam objectives state the following:

      “Install and configure a high availability cluster either manually or using Ansible”

      You’re right, my exam was on RHEL7, and there was no option to use Ansible at all.

  11. hi Tomas,
    how do you configure log file for each node for different logfile example nodex.log nodey.log nodez.log?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Adrian, I don’t really customise filenames per node in my homelab, I define common log file names like /var/log/corosync.log or /var/log/pacemaker.log.

  12. Hi Tomas,
    Am encountering an issue when preparing the storage device in the Ex436 exam. After adding the InitiatorNames in each node, and restarting the iscsid service, I am unable to login into the storage device.

    I can see and reach the storage device in discovery mode, however when I try to login, I encounter a error 24: authorization failure, unable to login into all portals on the nodes. Have tried to debug but to no avail, do let me know if you have any tips, thank you.

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