The Networking and Security Administration classes span over a period of four days, and it is clearly divided into two separate parts: networking administration and security. The following is a short summary of what we did:
- Day One: installed bind, configured the server with some fake domain names, and then made all DNS servers act as slaves of one of the servers in the class. We also played with different settings, and edited the configuration files by hand. Then, we proceeded to install and set up both Samba and NIS.
- Day Two: installed and configured Sendmail and Apache. We also created a rescude disk, broke the installation, and used the disk to bring the system back up.
- Day Three: review of some basic UNIX/Linux commands and tricks (aliases, redirection, cron...). Basic introduction to security issues, PAM, Tripwire, and Swatch.
- Day Four TCP wrappers, packet filtering, IP masquerading, IP chains, tcpdump, ethereal. We basically installed the packages, and learnt how to configure them and use them. Finally, we exchanged our email addresses and played for a while.
As with the previous class, the binder set the pace for the class to some extent. However, we did not use any slides or projector. We took a brief lecture, and then proceeded to move onto the lab. As a matter of fact, in this second class there was far less theory and much more practice or time spent at the lab. On the one hand, that could seem to be appropriate and even ideal due the very nature of the topic, but on the other hand I sort of had the feeling that the trainer was truly unable to talk about any of those topics for too long anyway. Somehow, I didn't get the impression that the trainer was a Linux guru or anything like that. Yes, it seemed as if he had had some experience with other unices, but not so much with Linux. If we take into account that the attendant who was training to become a Global Knowledge instructor was also more familiar with Solaris and the instructor I had in the previous class also had more familiriaty with other unices than with Linux... well, this sort of seems to be the trend at Global Knowledge. Not sure that is a good idea, although it may be totally understandable since Linux is so new.
As I mentioned above, I got the feeling that Global Knowledge is hiring people who do have some sort of UNIX experience, but not necessarily people who are familiar enough with Linux. Nevertheless, the trainers do perform well, and the very fact that some of the attendants are already quite experienced certainly helps raise the level of the classes. Also, as is usually the case, we may ask: is it worthy? In general, it is worth it at least in the sense that you are given the chance to "play" with a few laptops in a network, undo and redo configurations, and exchange views and experiences with other people, some of them really experienced in Linux administration.
Did I learn much? Well, if you are already familiar with the Linux basics and have already been administering a server (even if it is only in your company's intranet), there isn't much to learn here. Nevertheless, you will still learn some new tricks or see something from a new perspective.