Exam objectives – EX442

Performance tuning and capacity planning for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

On this page:  Objective  |  Performance-based  |  Authorized training partners  |  Preparation  |  Components  |  Study points  |  Related course

Exam objective

The Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning Exam (EX442) tests the ability of a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE®) to use standard system tools to analyze the performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux® and applications running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and to use standard system tools and mechanisms to modify the behavior of the system and applications for the purpose of improving system performance.

This guide provides information candidates may use in preparing to take the Red Hat Enterprise  Performance Tuning Expertise Exam. Red Hat is not responsible for the content or accuracy of other guides, books, online resources, or any other information provided by organizations or individuals other than Red Hat Global Learning Services. Red Hat reserves the right to change this guide when appropriate, and candidates who have enrolled in forthcoming classes or exams are advised to check this guide periodically for changes.

Performance-based exams

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 people with the Red Hat Enterprise Deployment and Systems Management Certificate of Expertise credential 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.

Authorized training partners

Only Red Hat and Red Hat Certified Training Partners administer this exam. Prospective candidates should exercise due diligence when purchasing a seat in an exam from a provider other than Red Hat itself. They should verify that the provider is, in fact, an authorized training partner in good standing. Please notify us about organizations that purport to offer Red Hat exams but who are not Red Hat Certified Training Partners.

Official scores for this exam 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 five (5) US 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.

Preparation for the Red Hat Enterprise Performance Tuning Expertise Exam

Red Hat encourages all candidates for the Red Hat Enterprise Performance Tuning Expertise Exam (EX442) to consider taking the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning Exam (EX442) 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.

Components of the exam

The exam is organized as follows:

  • Performance Tuning: 4.0 hours

In order to earn the Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning, one must successfully complete exam items to earn a score of 70 or higher overall on the section.

Study points for the exam

Prerequisite skills for the exam

The candidate must be an RHCE on a release that is considered current in order to take this exam.

Enterprise Performance Tuning

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 RRDtool

  • 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.

Red Hat course covering these skills

Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Performance Tuning Exam (EX442) is an advanced 4-day, hands-on lab course covering system architecture, performance characteristics, monitoring, benchmarking, and network performance tuning.