This exam tests candidates' ability to use standard system tools to analyze the performance of Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and its applications. It also tests the ability to use standard system tools and mechanisms to modify the behavior of the system and applications to improve performance. This exam is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
Red Hat recommends that candidates become a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) or Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) before attempting this exam but neither is required.
Study points for the exam
To help you prepare, the exam objectives highlight the task areas you can expect to see covered in the exam. Red Hat reserves the right to add, modify, and remove exam objectives. Such changes will be made public in advance.
Candidates should be able to perform the tasks listed below:
- Use utilities such as vmstat, iostat, mpstat, sar, gnome-system-monitor, top, powertop and others to analyze and report system and application behavior
- Configure systems to provide performance metrics using utilities such as Performance Co-Pilot (PCP)
- Use the Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) mechanism to implement restrictions on critical system resources
- Use /proc/sys, sysctl and /sys to examine and modify and set kernel run-time parameters
- Use utilities such as dmesg, dmidecode, x86info, sosreport etc. to profile system hardware configurations
- Analyze system and application behavior using tools such as ps, strace, top and Valgrind
- Configure systems to run SystemTap scripts
- Alter process priorities of both new and existing processes
- Configure systems to support alternate page sizes for applications that use large amounts of memory
- Given multiple versions of applications that perform the same or similar tasks, choose which version of the application to run on a system based on its observed performance characteristics
- Configure disk subsystems for optimal performance using mechanisms such as swap partition placement, I/O scheduling algorithm selection, file system layout and others
- Configure kernel behavior by altering module parameters
- Calculate network buffer sizes based on known quantities such as bandwidth and round-trip time and set system buffer sizes based on those calculations
- Select and configure tuned profiles.
- Manage system resource usage using control groups
As with all Red Hat performance-based exams, configurations must persist after reboot without intervention.
What you need to know
Red Hat encourages all candidates for the Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning exam (EX442) to consider taking the Red Hat Enterprise Performance Tuning (RH442) training course. Attendance in this class is not required, so one can choose to take just the exam. Many successful candidates who have come to class already possessing substantial skills and knowledge have reported that the class made a positive difference for them.
While attending Red Hat classes can be an important part of one's preparation to take this exam, attending class does not guarantee success on the exam. Previous experience, practice, and native aptitude are also important determinants of success.
Many books and other resources on system administration for Red Hat's products are available. Red Hat does not officially endorse any as preparation guides for its exam. Nevertheless, you may find additional reading deepens understanding and can prove helpful.
This exam is a performance-based evaluation of system administration skills and knowledge. Candidates perform a number of routine system administration tasks and are evaluated on whether they have met specific objective criteria. Performance-based testing means that candidates must perform tasks similar to what they perform on the job.
Prospective employers of a Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning should verify any and all claims by people claiming to hold this credential by requesting their certificate number and verifying it using the Red Hat certification verification tool.
The exam is organized as follows:
Performance Tuning: 4.0 hours
Scores and reporting
Official scores for exams come exclusively from Red Hat Certification Central. Red Hat does not authorize examiners or training partners to report results to candidates directly. Scores on the exam are usually reported within 3 U.S. business days.
Exam results are reported as section scores. Red Hat does not report performance on individual items, nor will it provide additional information upon request.
Audience and prerequisites
- Experienced Linux system administrators responsible for maximizing resource utilization through performance tuning
- An RHCE interested in becoming a Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)
Prerequisites for this exam
Exam candidates should:
- Be a RHCSA or have comparable work experience and skills (RHCE would be even better).
- Have taken the Red Hat Enterprise Performance Tuning (RH442) course or have extensive work experience in performance tuning.
- Review the Red Hat Certified Specialist in Linux Performance Tuning exam (EX442) objectives.