Linux Certs

21 03 2016

I decided to study for the LPI L1 certification, to truly round out my certifications.

I’d had a CBT Nuggets series and a book for some time, but had prioritised Cisco certifications, with a slight detour for the Certified Ethical Hacker.

I bought a series by Jason Cannon from the fantastic (always wait for one of their frequent sales rather than buying full price), which is superb, but doesn’t cover some content in the depth required by LPI. It’s not tied to the LPI exam syllabus, so not necessarily surprising.

So I also went with a monthly subscription from This works out at £21 per month, and has lots of Linux related content, as well as AWS, Openstack and DevOps related material.

A fantastic feature is the ‘Server Lab’ feature, which allows you to spawn up new Linux servers in less time than it takes in AWS! There’s little barrier to building your own Linux server, but, this feature is great for very quick, effort-free respawning.

I gave myself about six weeks to study, and found that LPI also have the ‘Linux Essentials’ certificate. This is a cut down version of the LPI L1, and has a massive amount of content cross over.

Although it’s a ‘certificate’ and not technically a certification apparently – there is no Job Task Analysis associated with it, and it doesn’t expire.. I decided to book it on the same day as the LPI L1.
The nearest test centre in terms of travel time is 50+ miles away, so I thought I may as well. I booked it as the second exam.

I completed the first exam in about 50 minutes, and passed pretty comfortably, and opted to go for the second after a 20 minute break – it should technically have been about two hours but I was able to start early. I was out within 25 minutes from that, with a decent score.

If anything, some of the questions from the Essentials were harder than those on the LPI.

I now need to study for the LPI L1 exam. 2, in order to be LPI certified. That’s got much less familiar content, including MySQL, scripting and more, so should be fun!

I then have another detour in the form of the CCNA Security, before moving back to the CCNP, for the ROUTE exam.

Overall a productive day! Onwards!


Oh dear, Juniper :(

23 12 2015

AWS Private Keys with Puttygen

28 09 2015

So I’ve fired up an AWS account finally, to have a practise, using only Free-tier instances etc.

To generate my private keys for logging in to the Linux instances, I created a new one with each instance, converted it to Putty format using Puttygen, and then added it in to the config for the instance under SSH –> Auth for the settings for each instance in Putty.

Although it worked fine intially, creating keys started to throw up errors after a while when attempting to import them in to Puttygen for the purpose of converting to .ppk format. Sometimes it would work using exactly the same process, and sometimes not. The specific error was ‘Couldn’t load private key (unexpected end of file)’.

I Googled, but couldn’t find anything of much use – mostly people moaning at Amazon on forum posts from 2011 🙂

I had a play and have now found that adding an extra ‘Carriage Return’ (pressing ‘Enter’) at the end of the .pem file, before loading in to Puttygen, consistently results in a smooth import process. I’ve tested by creating multiple instances, generating a new private key for each, and then adding the new line if it errored upon import to puttygen. I then deleted the instances and repeated the process. I haven’t had an error yet when doing it this way.

SysAdmin Day 2015

31 07 2015

Happy SysAdmin Day to all of my fellow SysAdmins 😉

Exciting day today, keeping it under my hat for now.. will hopefully share soon.

Certified Ethical Hacker passed

31 03 2015

Passed my certified Ethical hacker exam a few weeks ago 🙂

This is a subject that I am very interested in -before the course I bought and read a few books, and watched a couple of CBT training series that were available on Udemy.

Since the course, I’ve been working to further familiarise myself with the tools of the trade – Nmap, Metasploit and a few others. I have a VMWare environment with bunch of VMs to play with.

I’m going to persue Ethical Hacking further, by doing the ‘Penetration Testing with Kali Linux’ course and aiming to achieve the associated ‘Offensive Security Certified Professional’ certification. This seems great – you achieve the cert by having to hack your way as far as you can through a sandboxed network, in the Offensive Security ‘Lab’ environment – what a fantastic way to prove your knowledge.

The purpose behind all of this is not to become an ethical hacker, but to help defend the networks I manage.


Happy SysAdmins Day 2014

25 07 2014

This one coincides with ‘early finish Friday’ at my company, which happens on the last Friday of each month.. We get to leave at 16:00 if we choose, instead of 17:30.

I normally ask my team to work their usual hours so that we can practise DR procedures.

However, I’m going to give us a month off this time round in honour of SysAdmin Day 😉

NTP on Cisco WAPs

24 07 2014

Found that I was unable to configure NTP on my Cisco Aironet 1250’s in the same way I had on my switches as per here

I was, however, able to configure the timezone and BST settings.

I thought it strange that I could set that but not an NTP server.

A quick bit of digging uncovered the fact that the WAPs need ‘SNTP’ (Simple Network Time Protocol) servers to be configured, instead of ‘NTP’ servers. The difference being that a device configured to use SNTP can only be a client, not a server.

So the configuration becomes:

#sntp server x.x.x.x

The timezone and BST settings are identical.