I’m starting my Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) journey!
It took me some time to get my mind set on this, and it was important to understand the reasons I’m willing to do this in the first place.
Why Red Hat?
I do Linux system administration for a living. Although the world is moving towards DevOps, containers and automation, this doesn’t change the fact that Linux remains the go-to choice for the cloud, and regardless of the job title, one still does a lot of sysadmin work day in, day out.
I’ve been running Linux in production for the past 7 years, with the last 4 years being Red Hat based OS exclusively. Over time, I transitioned from running servers on Debian to Ubuntu and then to Red Hat/CentOS. As much as I like Debian, Red Hat has become my distribution of choice. As a result it just seemed natural to learn it in depth.
I’m a self-taught RHCE. I’ve passed the exam a couple of years ago. To attain and maintain RHCA status, an RHCE must pass at least 5 architect level exams.
If you’re reading this, then you’re likely aware that Red Hat exams are hands-on. As a result, they have something of value. You get presented with complex problems, and more often than not you need to know where to find information on a RHEL system to be able to solve them.
This testing methodology is advantageous because it does not require you to simply memorise things, but to know where to find answers. Of course, you need to memorise bits and pieces, but it’s muscle memory that’s the key to success.
Having said that, there are three things required to achieve RHCA: practice, practice, practice. You need to perform the tasks over and over to be an expert in using a product, be it Red Hat High Availability clustering, Satellite or OpenStack.
Why am I doing this? Motivation and Expectations
I’m a person who’s eager to learn new things. This includes looking for challenges that would help me grow both personally, and professionally.
As I said some time ago, RHCA is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s also a massive undertaking and should not be taken lightly. This alone makes me want to pursue it. To become better at what I do.
To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger:
"Never, ever think small. If you're going to accomplish anything, you have to think big. No matter what you do, work, work, work!"
I’m doing this for myself. It’s a pet project that I feel is worth investing time and resources. I’m not doing RHCA to get a new job. There are easier and less time consuming ways of achieving this.
I expect this journey to be a lengthy process with lots of challenges that I’ll need to overcome, including exams, travel and life itself.
Chances are that things won’t always go my way even if I’m well prepared, therefore it’s important to be honest with myself and understand why I’m doing this.
I don’t have a strict deadline, but my aim is to pass the exams by the end of the year. I started planning my RHCA studies back in 2018 so that I would have plenty of time in 2019.
The First Exam: EX436 High Availability Clustering
I support Pacemaker high availability clusters, therefore the decision to take the EX436 was somewhat easy to make.
EX436 will be my first exam, and I’m already approaching the end of the study process. I use official documentation available on Red Hat’s website and my homelab.
My homelab for HA clustering is simple: a laptop with a quad-core CPU, 16GB of RAM and 128GB SSD, running KVM hypervisor and four RHEL 7.1 virtual machines. One VM is used to provide storage services, and the other three VMs are for clustering. In terms of networking, I use five network interfaces (2x corosync redundand rings, 2x iSCSI multipath, 1x for LAN). Corosync and iSCSI networks are non-routable.