Red Hat course being targeted at technical decision-makers

Red Hat Inc. is offering a new hands-on course designed for advanced users of its Red Hat Enterprise products.

Geared toward users who already hold the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) credential, the RH423 Red Hat Enterprise Directory Services and Authentication course will provide in-depth training on configuring directory services and authentication to systems administrators who make technical decisions affecting a whole organization, the firm said.

During the course, RHCEs will be taught advanced methods and practices for configuring Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Kerberos. They will also learn skills including how to ensure that e-mail is functioning correctly, how to determine the manner in which users access services, how authentication is handled, and how to develop a network password schema, said Pete Childers, vice-president of global learning services at Red Hat.

Sean McPherson, director of operations at Xodiax LLC in Louisville, Ken., has been an RHCE since 1999. He said this is definitely a course he will be taking, and that his company strives to have as many of its IT people in its network operations centre certified as either RHCEs or RHCTs (Red Hat Certified Technicians).

“The RHCE covers a lot of information and requires you to have a good, solid understanding of how to deploy the authentication mechanisms and directory services like LDAP and such,” said McPherson. “However, that is such a large topic to try to cover, so having a separate course gives you all the best practices, the common mistakes, and the best ways to deploy, especially for an enterprise.”

Jim Wildman, an RHCE in Columbus, Ohio agreed. He said there are plenty of resources out there that can tell users how to configure directory services and authentication, but by taking this class, he would have the opportunity to see how to use everything directly.

The course is four days long and costs US$2,598. Starting in February, the course will be offered at Red Hat’s Raleigh, N.C. headquarters and will eventually expand to other Red Hat learning centres in North America.

In Canada, Red Hat generally offers its courses in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. At press time there was no information about when and where the RH423 course will be taught in Canada.

Red Hat also offers the RHCT certification course — a pared-down version of its RHCE program that doesn’t test the networking services and networking security skills needed to become an RHCE.

Red Hat said the RHCT course is designed for employees who support Linux in a work environment and for users who are transitioning from a non-Unix operating system to Linux. The RHCT program has been running for about a year; RCHE has been offered for about four years.

Red Hat’s courses are hands-on, which means students are certified after demonstrating their skills, not for passing a multiple-choice test, Childers said. Wildman said the labs Red Hat offers are extremely valuable; McPherson also praised the approach.

Multiple choice based or fill-in-the-blank tests, he said, are “good in terms of getting a general idea of your knowledge, but none of them can touch Red Hat in terms of the ability to deploy a live machine and troubleshoot some very realistic problems that you might run into, in a fairly limited amount of time.”

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