Friday, 25 April 2008

Sun Certified System Administrator

Today I took the Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 10 Operating System Upgrade Exam (snappy title huh?). I passed - but only just.

To aid me in my revision, I used the "Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 10 Study Guide" by Paul Sanghera published by Osborne, and "Exam Prep Solaris 10 System Administration" by Bill Calkins published by Que. This is on top of using Solaris on a daily basis for the last eight years.

After revising from both these books and taking the test questions, I was consistently getting over 80% from both books. Considering the passmark is 60% for the upgrade, it looked pretty good.

So imagine my surprise when I sat down in the exam and was confronted by a number of questions that are not covered in either book! The confidentiality agreement prevents me from detailing too much about the content, but I was also surprised to find that the questions were based on a small subset of topics.

This is apparently because Sun have upgraded the exams earlier this year and the books are not yet updated. Calkins has a update on his website detailing the changes (which I've only just found!).

So beware if you want to revise this certification! It's not a walk in the park and make sure you know your Flash from your Grub...!


Unknown said...


Thanks for the useful tips - and congrats on the cert. Have been looking at doing the upgrade exam myself (did my SA and NA on Solaris 8 a few years back). Did not realize it has become so difficult in 10(I found the Solaris 8 exams pretty straight forward).

Since I've been concentrating more on Linux, LPI and RHCE over the past 1.5 years, I need to "revisit" Solaris somewhat (only work with it about 20% in my job at present, with Redhat taking 80%). Which of these books would suite me your opinion?


JR said...

Hi Damian.

Apologies for the delay in responding - I honestly thought no-one read my blog and that it was just a personal diary online!!

I was very surprised when I scraped through. For both my Solaris 8 exams (that made up the SCSA), I got over 90%. I got 61% in the upgrade exam.

I might have had an off day, or just been unlucky in the questions. One of my colleagues has since taken the exam and got 67%. He previously got much higher marks.

To be honest, I wouldn't bother with either books! Just make sure you get lots of hands on experience with the content of the exam - and make sure you have the latest syllabus so you don't revise stuff that has been dropped!

Hope this helps.


Unknown said...


Yes, I "stumbled" onto your blog thanks to our friends at google....the joys of "search bots" :)
Thanks for the tips regarding Solaris - will keep that in mind. It is evident that I need to get more
"hands on" Solaris 10 experience before venturing down the upgrade route.
Hopefully they will still allow a Solaris 8-to-10 upgrade exam in a year from now.
For now, LPI and RHCE are taking preference.