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Best books for the Solaris Certification

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General Solaris Books

Overview of Solaris certifications Certified Solaris 9 System Administrator Certification Certified Solaris 10 System Administrator Certification Network certification

Security Certification

Certification: general issues Softpanorama Exam Strategy         Etc

Solaris certifications are to Solaris learning as matches are to training. They are the final performance for which the participant must undergo a rigorous preparation. There are many long hours that you need to put into preparation even if you Solaris every day in you work (for example if you are Solaris administrator with, say, three years or more of experience).

It is impossible to compete for an athlete if he/she begin training only a week before the games. There is no "all-nighters" for athletic training and the same is true for Solaris certification exams preparation. Without proper long-term work you have only slim chances to pass.

Most Solaris certification books below are weak and are much below the level of general Solaris introductory books with the explicit exception of Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram . That latter is a good book which contains condensed summaries and does not try to teach you topics covered in the Solaris System administrator Certification exam: it assume that you already know them to some degree.  It tries to point nuances important for the exam. 

The best for preparation are Sun student guides for corresponding Solaris courses. All other books are trying to imitate those guides with various degree of success.

If you do not have access to them you still will be better off using Sun's textbooks likeSystem Administration Guide: Advanced Administration for the preparation. But even they cannot replace a Solaris server and practice but they can help to check the level of your understanding of topics that are covered on the exam. If you are not working as a Solaris admin buying old Ultra 10 is an investment that will pay you many times.

Also Sun certification questions are often strangely worded so you need to put a real effort into deciphering the correct answer. That means that you ability to understand the question and your answer elimination skills are of primary importance.  In this sense general multiple question test taking skills and corresponding books might be of some value.

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Reviews

NIIT Special Edition Using Solaris 9

Mark Sobell A Practical Guide to Solaris

Darrell Ambro Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram

NEWS CONTENTS

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** Sun Certified Network Administrator for the Solaris 10 Operating System Certification Exam Preparation Course in a Book for Passing the Solaris ... on Your First Try Certification Study Guide

Ray Licon:

I was willing to take a chance on this book because there is precious little out there to help prepare for the SCNA exam. This book is OK, but you need to already have a background in Networking in order to get much from it. The descriptions and topics are brief and review oriented. I've taken the SCSA Solaris 10 exam(s) and they are by far more difficult than most of these certifications. You'll need all the help you can get. Use this book in conjunction with other study guides.

**** Solaris 10 System Administration Exam Prep- CX-310-200, Part I (2nd Edition) (Pt. 1)

Nurd:

If you are planning to take the 200 exam this book will help you pass the test. Unlike the book by Sanghera this goes into the depth needed to pass the test. Test requires more than just the knowledge of what commands to use but what switches are required to get the proper outcome. This book is roughly the same size as SCSA Solaris 10 book from McGraw Hill which covers the 200 and 202 exam while this book only cover the 200 exam. The wealth of knowledge that is achieved by reading this book not only allowed me to pass the exam but to increase my skills on areas that I do not normally use as a sysadmin. Now I am waiting for part II to be published.

liworth "liworth":

I took a Solaris 10 Advanced System Admin class several years ago while working primarily on IBM's AIX platform.
Currently I am a contractor who has to work on Solaris, Linux and AIX. I was unable to find the books from my Solaris 10 class and purchased this book. So far it has helped me with my current position and I highly recommend the book as a useful tutorial and reference.

Sun Certified Security Administrator for Solaris 9 & 10 Study Guide (Certification Press)

[Jan 9, 2005] Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram Review was updated.

[Jan 9, 2005] Solaris 10 System Administration Exam Prep 2 (Exam Prep 2 (Que Publishing)) Books Bill Calkins

Amazon Price: $37.79

by Bill Calkins>

Certified Solaris System Administrator Certification

**** Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram 310-014, Exam Cram 310-015)

by Darrell Ambro (Author), Ed Tittel (Editor)

 
See Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram for Softpanorama Review
 
Awsome, January 21, 2003
 
Reviewer: Robert Wayne Smith (Westfield, Indiana United States) - See all my reviews

This book was great. It hit all the points of the test. Another good Exam Cram book. A hint for the test, study printing and have a good knowleage of command line switches.


Do not use this book for 310-016 SA 9 Upgrade Exam, April 9, 2003
 
Reviewer: IanQ (Toronto Ontario) - See all my reviews

This book was awful for preparing for the Solaris 9 Systems Admin Upgrade exam. The book has no info on debugging Jumpstart install issues; doesn't go into Flash Install in enough detail; missed the 1 question on LDAP client(I got it right by remembering the answer from my Solaris 8 books); has little useful info on SVM and RAID, I absolutely either had to guess or remember from years ago the answers to the SVM/RAID questions. What else? The book doesn't cover UFS snapshot enough to answer the questions asked on the exam.

I managed to pass purely on luck.

I cannot for a moment believe this book is ideal for the 014 and 015 tests either.

 

1 out of 5 stars General unix overview - USELESS for the exam!, August 13, 2003
 
  Reviewer: William B Ragsdill from Dallas

It's a general overview of Solaris. If you want an intro to unix, great. If you want to pass the test, forget it. Not one of the practice questions was even remotely close to any of the exam questions. If you want the overview just buy a used copy of the v6, v7, or v8 version at your local used book store.

If you know anything about solaris just goto [the website] and get their study guide. It's a little more expensive, but it at least has SOME of the real questions and it will give you a chance to pass.


Works for the Solaris 9 upgrade exam CX-310-016 too!, April 24, 2003
 
Reviewer: Ruslan Moskalenko "Ruslan Moskalenko" (Pleasanton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)  

I used this book to prepare for the recertification Solaris 9 exam (CX-310-016) and it worked out pretty well. I'm just back from the testing center with 92% score.

The book is great, it has all material you need, plus it's relatively short for two exams.

It's a sort of a reference+exam cram book, doesn't teach you much about Solaris basics and surprisingly some areas are haven't touched at all (like CDE) and some areas doesn't reflect the modern state of Solaris administration (extensive use of r-commands proved to be unsecure etc), but it's just because Sun makes up tests this way. The book is very well focused for the test preparation. Once again, don't expect it to be a Solaris tutorial.

I'd skip some long reference tables in RBAC sections, they take many pages but I haven't seen them in the questions. Not a big deal at all.

The practice tests are also good.

The bottom line - you'll hardle get dissapointed.

 

5 out of 5 stars All you need to pass the exam (and some advice for 310-014), June 28, 2003
 
  Reviewer: Timothy J Mapley (see more about me) from Beavercreek, OH United States

A great all-in-one resource for passing the Sun Certified System Administrator exams. This book was recommended to me by a friend after he used it to pass, and I have just passed. The information is condensed, which makes learning the basics and top-level concepts easier. The book does not bog you down with examples of every switch for each command. Very few printing errors. I would suggest that you do the following before taking the tests:

  • Try the commands. Since the book lists many command switches in tables and does not bog you down with examples of each switch, you should try the commands and combinations of switches on a real machine.
  • View the actual configuration files and scripts. The book makes reference to the important parts of configuration files and scripts. To supplement the book, you should view the whole files and be remotely familiar with them before taking the exam.
  • Buy 'Essential System Administration'. Although Exam Cram is all you need to pass the test, 'Essential System Administration' filled in some areas that were not as detailed in Exam Cram. Read 'Essential System Administration' for the format command and for a directory structure diagram (pg 69) (which would have been a great addition to the Exam Cram book). If you do not buy 'Essential System Administration', play around with the format command and create your own directory structure diagram.

Read ahead on the installation methods. The test (310-014) contained questions which made reference to installation methods not included in the first half of the Exam Cram book.

Suggest reading this book several times.


5 out of 5 stars Works for the Solaris 9 upgrade exam CX-310-016 too!, April 24, 2003
 
  Reviewer: Ruslan Moskalenko (see more about me) from Pleasanton, CA United States

I used this book to prepare for the recertification Solaris 9 exam (CX-310-016) and it worked out pretty well. I'm just back from the testing center with 92% score.

The book is great, it has all material you need, plus it's relatively short for two exams.

It's a sort of a reference+exam cram book, doesn't teach you much about Solaris basics and surprisingly some areas are haven't touched at all (like CDE) and some areas doesn't reflect the modern state of Solaris administration (extensive use of r-commands proved to be unsecure etc), but it's just because Sun makes up tests this way. The book is very well focused for the test preparation. Once again, don't expect it to be a Solaris tutorial.

I'd skip some long reference tables in RBAC sections, they take many pages but I haven't seen them in the questions. Not a big deal at all.

The practice tests are also good.

The bottom line - you'll hardly get dissapointed.


5 out of 5 stars Awsome, January 21, 2003
 
  Reviewer: Robert Wayne Smith (see more about me) from Westfield, Indiana United States

This book was great. It hit all the points of the test. Another good Exam Cram book. A hint for the test, study printing and have a good knowleadge of command line switches.


5 out of 5 stars From the Author, December 31, 2002
 
  Reviewer: Darrell Ambro (see more about me) from Greensboro, NC USA

The Solaris 9 System Administration Exam Cram is intended as a study guide for Solaris system administrators and power users who wish to obtain the System Administrator certification. The material should be considered intermediate to advanced and assumes the reader has basic Unix knowledge and a general understanding of computer concepts.

This book describes ALL the topics of Solaris 9 system administration that are identified as the certification exam objectives. The other study guides do not cover printing which is a major exam topic for Part I.

Although the material concentrates on these objectives, it also includes some other related and useful information. Both Part I and Part II exam objectives are covered.

I hope this study guide helps you prepare for and pass the two exams required for certification. As with any certification preparation, nothing beats hands-on experience. If you don't have system administrator access to a system, get yourself a copy of Solaris system (from Sun's web site) and try out the commands and operations as you study them. Also I reference other resources that provide different explanations or additional details. Make use of these printed and on-line resources as needed.

The book begins with an Introduction that provides guidance and references relating to the certification process and preparation. Related exam topics are grouped into chapters. Each chapter begins with a listing of the material covered and ends with a 8-10 question sample test followed by a list of additional resources. Both parts end with a full length practice exam. Both the publisher and I have worked hard to make this book as complete and accurate as possible.

Whether you purchase my book or not, good luck with obtaining the Solaris 9 System administrator certification!
 

 

**** Inside Solaris 9

This is essentially a certification preparation book with summaries of topic that cannot be used independently of Sun documentation. All-in-all not bad. 

***+ Special Edition Using Solaris 9

by by NIIT NIIT, Tanuj Jain, Radhika Girisan, Ganesh Govindaswamy

Table of Contents

Sample chapter: The Solaris Interactive Installation. Related chapters:

This book looks like a diligent attempt of NIIT staff to rewrite Sun's SA-239 course textbook as a university textbook for NIIT audience :-). Although far from being original, this is not a bad book in general if you are preparing to the certification exam SA14A, and, partially, SA15A. It can serve as a compliment to Darell Ambro book althouth Calkin's Inside Solaris is similar and cheaper (used).

This is not a good introductory book, and here Sobell's A Practical Guide to Solaris is a better deal. Used copies of Sobell's book are also cheaper.

The general style is of a rather boring, faceless compilation written by several authors: lacking any real insights into enterprise Solaris environment. Still the contents of book covers most of SA14A certification exam fairly well. Due to several authors involved and the level of approximation of SA-239 textbook contents is very uneven. There are some good chapters like Ch 8 "Understanding Solaris file system". There are several very bad chapters as Ch 14. Managing Printing (that demonstrates the author lack of understanding of this subsystem and its actual use in enterprise environment, this is just a poor digest of a corresponding SA-239 textbook chapter).

Most are in grey area. As I mentioned above from the text of most chapters (for example Ch. 11. "Managing Users and Groups") it is clear that this is a compilation and the author(s) never administered Solaris servers in a real enterprise environment, which is so typical for many university textbooks (again, the authors are from NIIT).

*** Solaris 9 System Administration Training Guide (Exam CX-310-014 and CX-310-015)
by Bill Calkins

 
  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Que; Bk&CD-Rom edition (April 2, 2003)
  • ISBN: 0789729229
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.9 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.0 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 13 reviews.

Average book. Darrell Ambro book is better. The author also run unixed.com  It has a forum that might contain useful postings from members.

Errata: http://unixed.com/certification/Solaris_9_Training_Guide/sol9_errata/sol9_errata.htm

Good for learning Solaris 9 but not for CERT. Test!!!, February 22, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
If you think this book will prepare you for the test you are wrong. The first exam: CX-310-014 yes, it helps. But the Exam Cram is better.

But the CX-310-015 does not cover enough areas to aid for the test. For example,the author does not explain setfacl, RBAC enough. There's not enough guides here. This part is really poorly written.

He must get paid for filling up pages. However, if you want to be a Solaris admin, this book is a good reference. THIS book is not for test studying.

Try look for the Exam Cram for Solaris 9. That book has a lot better info section for RBAC and others. My co-worker and I have read both and this is clear.

Not Enough, May 6, 2004
 
Reviewer: "karunesh1975" (Bridgewater , NJ USA) - See all my reviews

I must advice to the potential Sys Admins lookin to sit for the certification exams , that this book is certainly not Enough. Coz certain chapters Like "Backup and restore" are not extensively covered considering the scope of the exam. By all means you need another source of information.

 

5 out of 5 stars This is a Great Training Guide!, September 17, 2003
 
  Reviewer: Steven Stark (see more about me) from St Paul, Minn.

I'm a Solaris instructor and must comment on the Dalia Aziz comments who wrote that the Calkins book is full of filler. Aziz is flat out wrong-it's a great, in depth training guide.

Our firm reviewed the Gibbs book because it was the first one out and we needed a Solaris 9 training guide for our students; I returned it.

In short, here's our review: and here's why Gibb's book (Pub. Osborne) is several hundred pages less than the Calkins book: Gibbs has 3 sentences on managing disks with SMC, nothing on managing core dumps, nothing on Flash archives, nothing on fssnap, nothing on printers, 1 sentence on smpatch (Calkins has 7 pgs on smpatch). Gibbs devotes an entire chapter to vi and another entire chapter on basic command syntax- both are not on the exam (talk about fluff).

Gibbs also includes sections on Admintool and Adminsuite when both products have been discontinued in Solaris 9.

Gibbs still refers to SVM as DiskSuite and contains numerous typos. Gibbs tells the reader to use rlogin, rcp, rsh and does not even speak of the secure shell. I could go on and on about what that book missed. I gotta give Calkins credit for waiting to get it right vs. being first to market with a sub standard book. Great job Calkins- we use this book in our Solaris Admin 1 and 2 courses and our students are getting certified!! Hey Aziz, better check your reference: there's a total of 12 exam objectives not 6.

** Books Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 9.0 Study Guide (Exams 310-014 & 310-015)

by Tim Gibbs

This book Covers the Wrong exam, March 19, 2004
 
Reviewer: naval d singh (laurel, maryland United States) - See all my reviews

This book is for Solaris 8 and not for Solaris 9..... The exam number has been misspelled throughout the book..  Its a good book for Solaris 8 though. I studied the whole book to find out this at the end and I have to take the 8 exam ultimately.
 

Boo!, May 5, 2004
 

Reviewer: P. Y. "whitelabrat" (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews

This book is more appropriate for the Solaris beginner who is just getting started. I would avoid this book if you are looking to become certified as it skipped some important information, particularly printers.

I failed my certification test thanks to this book and the omitted section on printers.
 

Poor, Inaccurate Solaris 9 Study Guide, September 17, 2003
 
Reviewer: Steven Stark (St Paul, Minn.) - See all my reviews

I'm a Solaris instructor and our firm reviewed this book because it was the first one out and we needed a Solaris 9 training guide for our students; I returned it. In short, here's our review:

Gibbs has 3 sentences on managing disks with SMC, nothing on managing core dumps, nothing on Flash archives, nothing on fssnap, nothing on printers, one sentence on smpatch.

Gibbs devotes an entire chapter to vi and another entire chapter on basic command syntax- both are not on the exam.

Gibbs also includes sections on Admintool and Adminsuite when both products have been discontinued in Solaris 9.

Gibbs still refers to SVM as DiskSuite and the book contains numerous typos (ie. syslogc). Gibbs tells the reader to use rlogin, rcp, rsh and does not even speak of the secure shell. I could go on and on about what this book has missed.

In short, we started using the Calkins Solaris 9 Training Guide (pub. Que) and our students are getting certified and getting jobs.

Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 8 Study Guide (Exam 310-011 & 310-012)

2 out of 5 stars Occasionally useful, often embarrassingly bad, January 22, 2003
 
  Reviewer: A reader from San Ramon, CA USA

This book should never have gone to press in its current state, and perhaps not at all. It is full of factual errors, editing oversights, and evidence of just plain laziness on the part of the writers and editors. Examples:
1. Unmodified boilerplate: Though focused entirely on Solaris 8, the help files note that "Microsoft may modify these exam characteristics at any time."
2. Self-contradictions: A multiple-choice exam question that asks "Which of the following best describes the client-server model?" gives as its answer "A, B, C: Don't get too bogged down in determining if one system is a "server" or a "workstation," but then goes on to explain that the most complete answer is C.
3. Inconsistencies: The answer to the question "Which script is used by the system to re-add a swap file into swap space each time the system boots?" is B, /sbin/swapadd, but the explanation below the question says that the answer is C. The result is a correct answer may be counted as a wrong answer.
4. Throw-away answers in the multiple choice questions: In a question about the advantages of a virtual disk management system like DiskSuite, the first choice is "Free cappuccino from Starbucks with every purchase of a virtual disk management application." In another, a possible choice is "Solstice Too Sweet." Choices like these reflect poorly indeed on the writers, editors, and publisher.
5. Factual errors: The supposed correct answer to the question "Which of the following best describes the term network booting?" is "Using a remote server from a console or dumb terminal." Not true, since not all uses of a remote server from either of these devices are instances of network booting, and a far more precise answer could easily have been stated.
6. Poorly worded questions: The possible answers to "Which of the following lines is the correct definition of loghost?" are "loghost," "@loghost," "loghost@domainname," and ".loghost". The problem is that none of these are "definitions" of loghost. The question seems to be asking "In /etc/syslog.conf, what is the correct way of indicating that a particular type of syslog message should be sent to the loghost?", but readers have to figure that out for themselves.
7. Overreaching claims, as in this from the blurb on amazon.com: "the book contains hundreds of practice exam questions and hands-on exercises." I expected to see plenty of new questions each time I took the practice exams, but the same questions come up over and over. The exercises are perfunctory and do little to test the reader's knowledge of the subject matter.
In short, this book is of poor quality, especially given its high price. I would not recommend it except as a supplement to other higher quality books on the Solaris 8 exams.
 

Network Certification

Solaris 9 Network Administration Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram CX-310-044)

by John Philcox


*** Solaris(tm) 9 System and Network Administrator All-in-One Exam Guide
by Paul Watters
Price:   $48.99

A book of a very prolific "Solaris junk books" writer.  Better than nothing...

??? Sun Solaris 8 Certified Network Administration Study Guide

This study guide will help you to prepare for Sun exam 311-043, Solaris 8 Network Administration. Exam topics include LANs, Ethernet interface, ARP & RARP, Internet layer, routing, client-server, DHCP, NTP, IPv6 and troubleshooting.

CramSession Study Guides identify, capture and summarize essential topics IT professionals must know to pass their certification exams. With over 3 million downloaded, CramSession Study Guides are the industry standard in certification study material. PDF Download $9.50

** Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 8 Study Guide

by Peter H. Gregory

Our Price: $27.99

Paperback - 448 pages Study Gd edition (October 12, 2001)
Prentice Hall PTR; ISBN: 0130409332

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,282

This is from the same author who published a real junk: Solaris Security .  Be careful !


Solaris 8 Network Administrator Certification Training Guide (310-043)


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