F5 201 – TMOS Administration Exam

I passed the F5 101 exam a while back with fairly good marks. Given that the subject matter was so broad, I was surprised at the depth of some of the questions. I won’t give any specifics, but if you are in process of studying for the 101 exam, make sure you understand everything listed in the exam blueprint.

Now I am on to the F5 201 exam, TMOS Administration. According to the exam blueprint (https://www.f5.com/pdf/certification/exams/blueprint-tmos-administration.pdf), the scope of the exam appears to be much more narrow than the 101 exam, which is kind of scary. However, looking at the objectives and examples, it appears to be much more “real life” scenarios – so it should be easier than memorizing obscure datum about the TCP Headers.
If you haven’t already, download the BigIP Virtual Edition and get to testing…

Section 1: Troubleshoot basic virtual server connectivity issues 

Objective 1.01 Given a connectivity troubleshooting situation, consider the packet and virtual
server processing order

  • Explain how a packet is processed once it arrives at device (connection table, packet filters, etc.)
  • Explain how a virtual server processes a request (most specific to least specific)
  • Given a specific connectivity issue, isolate where the problem might be according to the processing order

Objective 1.02 Identify the reason a virtual server is not working as expected

  • Determine the state of a virtual server (offline, enabled, etc.)
  • Determine if a virtual server is configured for the proper listening port
  • Determine if a virtual server is configured with the proper IP address configuration
  • Determine if the virtual server is configured with the appropriate profiles
  • Determine if the pool configuration has an effect on virtual server state
  • Determine which tools to use in order to diagnose the issue
  • Explain the difference between the virtual servers status definitions

Objective 1.03 Identify the reason a pool member has been marked down by health monitors

  • Discuss the effects of health monitors on the status of pool members/nodes
  • Determine the state and availability of the pool member/node in question
  • Verify the pool member/node Ratio configuration
  • Verify the pool member/node connection configuration and count

Objective 1.04 Identify a pool member not in the active priority group

  • Explain the concept of “persistence”
  • Verify the type of persistence profile assigned to the virtual server in question
  • Validate the expected persistence behavior
  • Differentiate between fallback and primary persistence
  • Use the appropriate tool to troubleshoot persistence

Objective 1.05 Identify traffic diverted due to persistence record
Objective 1.06 Identify the current configured state of the pool member
Objective 1.07 Identify a persistence issue

Section 2: Troubleshoot basic hardware issues 

Objective 2.01 Perform an End User Diagnostic per F5 documentation and collect the output

  • Reboot an F5 platform into the EUD
  • Download output from the unit an EUD was run on
  • Interpret the output from an EUD and determine if the test passed or failed

Objective 2.02 Interpret the LCD Warning Messages

  • Locate the LCD on an F5 Platform
  • Correlate the LCD message to message in the corresponding log file
  • Identify which tasks the buttons on the LCD perform

Objective 2.03 Identify a possible hardware issue within the log files

  • Indicate which logs would contain debugging information
  • Given a log file, determine the nature of a hardware issue
  • Given a possible issue, determine which log file entries to review

Objective 2.04 Force an active unit to standby under the appropriate circumstances
Objective 2.05 Understand the relationship between interfaces, trunks, VLANs and their status/statistics

Section 3: Troubleshoot basic performance issues 

Objective 3.01 Recognize when a packet capture is needed within the context of a performance issue
Objective 3.02 Use BIG-IP tools in order to identify potential performance issues

  • Differentiate between performance issue types (i.e. Latency, Congestion, broken content)
  • Establish the frequency of a given issue (random, continuous, isolated, intermittent, repetitive intervals)
  • Explain how to get performance statistics in addition to the those shown in the dashboard (Overview – Performance)

Section 4: Troubleshoot basic device management connectivity issues 

Objective 4.01 Verify remote connectivity to the BIG-IP in order to determine the cause of a management connectivity issue

  • Isolate potential causes of basic network connectivity issues, given scenarios related to: client configuration, client network access, device network access, network topologies
  • Apply connectivity troubleshooting tools (i.e. ping, traceroute, http/https availability, remote shell access, network based console access) in the appropriate situation

Objective 4.02 Check and interpret port lockdown settings and packet filters in order to determine the cause of a management connectivity issue to a Self-IP

  • Given a scenario, review port lockdown settings on the Self-IP to determine the cause of the issue
  • Describe appropriate use cases for the use of port lockdown

Objective 4.03 Given the use of a remote authentication server, verify proper DNS and NTP settings in order to diagnose a connectivity issue

  • Determine whether a filter is enabled
  • Interpret a packet filter rule list in a given situation

Section 5: Open a support ticket with F5 

Objective 5.01 Identify the appropriate supporting components and severity levels for an F5 support ticket

  • Identify the necessary components for all support cases (Qkview uploaded to iHealth/ or attached to case, serial number of device, problem description, other supporting data)
  • Identify severity levels and the associated response times

Objective 5.02 Given an issue, determine the appropriate severity according to F5 guidelines
Objective 5.03 Provide quantitative and relevant information appropriate for a given issue

  • Examples Distinguish between qualitative/quantitative statements in order to assemble an accurate problem description
  • Distinguish between relevant/irrelevant information in order to assemble an accurate problem description

Section 6: Identify and report current device status 

Objective 6.01 Review the Network Map in order to determine the status of objects

  • Explain the status icons of objects on the map
  • Explain what virtual servers, pools, nodes and pool members are

Objective 6.02 Use the dashboard to gauge the current running status of the system

  • Interpret each of the statistic types displayed by the dashboard
  • Given a situation, predict the appropriate dashboard statistics

Objective 6.03 Review log files and identify possible events

  • Given log file snippets, describe an event sequence
  • Given log file snippets, identify critical events

Objective 6.04 Use iApps Analytics to gauge the current running status of application services

  • Explain the purpose of iApps Analytics
  • Describe how to capture application statistics
  • Given a current running status, recognize significant statistics

Section 7: Maintain system configuration 

Objective 7.01 Create and restore a UCS archive under the appropriate circumstances

  • Discuss scenarios in which restoring a UCS archive is appropriate
  • Discuss the tasks involved in successfully restoring a UCS archive
  • Given a scenario, discuss when it is appropriate to create a UCS archive

Objective 7.02 Identify which high-level tasks can be automated using BIG-IQ
Objective 7.03 Manage software images
Objective 7.04 Given an HA pair, describe the appropriate strategy for deploying a new software image
Objective 7.05 Understand the processes of licensing, license reactivation, and license modification (add-ons)
Objective 7.06 Identify which modules are licensed and/or provisioned
Objective 7.07 Explain how to create a user
Objective 7.08 Explain how to modify user properties

Section 8: Manage existing system and application services 

Objective 8.01 Modify and manage virtual servers

  • Given a proposed virtual server configuration change, outline the scope of the change and for which connections those changes will affect (active connections, new connections, persisted sessions)
  • Given a description of an application, identify the correct virtual server configured for it (HTTP/HTTPS, TCP/UDP, VLANsenabled, route-domain)
  • Given a situation where a virtual server configuration change did not appear to immediately take effect, determine why

Objective 8.02 Modify and manage pools

  • Distinguish between disabling a member and forcing it down
  • Determine use cases for disabling a member
  • Determine use cases for forcing down a member
  • Given a situation where a pool member has been disabled but still appears to be receiving traffic, determine the cause
  • Articulate the characteristics of a pool member that has been disabled or forced offline (Such as for new connections, persisted connections, etc.)

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