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**** Solaris 9 System Administrator Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram 310-014, Exam Cram 310-015)
by Darrell Ambro (Author), Ed Tittel (Editor)
This is good book, definitely better then average for 310-014, and barely adequate (or even less then adequate) for 310-015. So four stars is for the 310-014. It should be three stars for 310-015.
Actually the test for 310-015 on the book's CD-ROM (PrepLogic Practice Tests) is better then the material in the book.
The author put a lot of efforts distilling and preparing the necessary for the exam 310-014 material but it looks like he became tired after the first part and the second part is much weaker then the first.
This is generally a regular "cram" book: a very short/condensed material, so you can easily keep the focus on exam, the goal that is somewhat different from learning Solaris ;-). It provides you with the summaries of the topics used on the exams. This book doesn't teach you much about Solaris basics and is not intended to. Most chapters require reading Sun material to master the topic to be able to pass, unless you use those software component in your daily work. The recommendations after each chapter about additional reading should be taken seriously, especially for SA_015.
The questions after each chapter are very helpful and test exams (actually two for each part of the test: one in printed form and another on CD-ROM) are probably the most valuable part of the book.
Still in no way it should be your first or only book for the exam preparation. As one Amazon reviewer correctly observed you should get Sun student study guides, if you plan to use this book (review was slightly unfair to the book, IMHO). If you cannot get Sun student study guides for each part then you need to download and read Sun's free eBooks, for example System Administration Guide: Advanced Administration for SA-015. You do need to use other sources for the most difficult topics (like NFS, RBAC, NIS, Jumpstart for the second part of the exam.)
It is very important to do all quizzes after each chapter. The best way to assess your skills is via Sun practice exam, not via book provided exam. You do need to buy a practice exam if you are unsure about you chances to pass. Still an educated guess is that if you can get above 90% on each the book's exams on the first try, you have reasonable chances to pass.
On the negative site the content of the most chapters can be easily improved. Often it is too superficial even taking into limitations of the "cram" style. I would like to stress it again that, for the second exam the book is barely adequate and cannot even be called good. For example long tables in the RBAC section of the ACL+RBAC chapter is a testimony that the author did not know the material well enough himself to present in it a meaningful condensed fashion. That's a blunder no matter how you view it.
Still the quiz after the ACL+RBAC chapter is reasonably good, so not everything is bad even in weak chapters (and they are in majority for the second part of the exam).
Please not the especially bad are chapters for the most difficult topics like NFS, NIS and Jumpstart: all of them are are missing important topics covered in the exam (for example the NFS chapter completely misses troubleshooting). RAID chapter is close to junk contains some extra material on types of RAID not covered by exam (only RAID 0, 1 and 5 are covered) but does not cover SVM well enough.
Like many other reviewers noted the exam goes into details of LDAP that the book didn't cover.
Therefore you probably will be better off creating your own summaries for major topics. Also it pays to print all relevant man pages for utilities involved and keep them in a separate folder that you consult periodically. Sometimes exam questions go into microscopic details that are available only via man pages. Here is one insightful comment from www.examnotes.net forum:
Passed 310-015 (Solaris 9 part II) today
Just passed the part 2 today and though I'd drop in a few notes here...
Whereas 310-014 was printing questions all over it (check my other review), questions were more evenly distributed amongst test objectives, with a little emphasis on NIS/Name Service and NFS. And installation methods (Jumpstart/Flash + NIS).
I've been a Solaris (2.6) admin for ~3 years, but only app servers (no nfs, printing, jumpstart, nis) so I was a rookie for much of the topics. I studied for about a month with 2 books, and did all the free tests I could find on the net.
I used CramSession's SCSA9 book (by Darrell Ambro) which covered almost all that was needed (the exam went into some details (ldap) that the book didn't cover that much).
I also used Osborne SCSA 9 book by Tim Gibbs but it's a piece of crap. I only read it to have another view of the topics. It's full of mistakes, bloated with copy/pasted stuff from Solaris 8 that doesn't even exist in Solaris 9, etc...
Well that's about enough ... Good luck to everybody and happy holidays
Do not use this book for 310-016 SA 9 Upgrade Exam, April 9, 2003
I managed to pass purely on luck.
I cannot for a moment believe this book is ideal for the 014 and 015 tests either.
I definitely say skip this book.
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