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by Christian Stankowic

My interest in Linux started in 2005 at the age of 15 when I discovered Ubuntu Linux. After being upset about my slow and always virus-attacked computer, I decided to try out something completely new.

I never had Linux on my computer before and wanted to have a look at it. After some first trials with OpenSuSE I got into Ubuntu and made my first experiences with the open operating system.

After exclusively using Ubuntu for almost two years I had a look at several other distros, including Debian, CentOS and Fedora. To learn more about Linux I built my own private "lab" using old spare computers. All these computers ran Linux, so I started to learn about network services including Apache, DHCP and Samba.

In 2009 I started an apprenticeship as "Computer Science Expert" in a middle class company. Beside Windows servers they also had some Linux servers but no guidelines for them. Some of them were running unsupported RHEL versions, others ran non-enterprise distros, systems that were unpatched and not clearly documented. It became my task to consolidate this scenario to a clean and supported server landscape.

Motivated and interested in improving my Linux knowledge I started autodidactic learning the required skills. During this I achieved the LPIC-1 certification and decided to use RHEL for my consolidation project. I spent a lot of my free time on learning Red Hat and I also wanted to have my expertise certified. Last year I achieved the RHCSA certification - this year I successfully passed the EX300 exam and so I'm a RHCE now.

I'm proud of achieving these goals with autodidactic learning. Those certifications helped me a lot with an elementary understanding of RHEL, my consolidating project and my daily business as a Linux administrator. My next goal is achieving the RHCSS certification to improve my Linux knowledge - I'm already preparing for the first exam.

One of my project goals was to enhance security by enforcing SELinux, which wasn't done before. It took several weeks to build the needed rules to get custom web applications and special service configurations running - but it was worth the effort, SELinux is a massive security enhancement for our systems. Thanks to AIDE and Auditing, I'm able to ensure that my systems are always at a consistent and fully working state.

Using RHEL for my consolidation project was the right choice - it's a solid, easy to configure operating system with great patch management. I'm really satisfied with RHEL and also started using it at home on one of my private servers. Recently I just started my next project - implementing a RHN server to optimize software and configuration management. Another benefit I want to accomplish is limiting download times and traffic for patches by serving a RHN proxy so that our servers don't need a direct internet connection. Deploying new servers will also be more comfortable using the RHN satellite.

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