There is high demand for professionals in the information technology (IT) industry, and because Solaris is the most widely used UNIX implementation in the world, Solaris certifications are very worthwhile to obtain. You have made the right decision to pursue certification, because being Solaris certified will give you a distinct advantage in this highly competitive market.

Solaris 9 is Sun Microsystems' latest version of their popular UNIX-based operating environment. Sun's first operating system was released as SunOS in 1983, based on BSD UNIX. Throughout the years, SunOS went through many transformations, most recently with the release of Solaris 9 in 2002.

Sun Microsystems is known for their innovative and reliable hardware (namely the SPARC processor) as well as their Solaris operating environment. Because of their large and loyal user base, and their willingness to take calculated chances to remain on top, Sun is poised to remain an industry leader for years to come.

This book is intended to help you on your exciting path toward becoming a Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment. Basic knowledge of Solaris is an advantage when reading this book but is not mandatory. Using this book and the Solaris operating environment, you can start learning Solaris and pass the CX-310-014: Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Part I, and the CX-310-015: Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Part II, exams.

Why Become a Sun Certified System Administrator?

The number one reason to become an SCSA is to gain more visibility and greater access to some of the industry's most challenging opportunities. Solaris certification is the best way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the Solaris operating environment. The certification tests are a combination of multiple choice, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions. They test your knowledge of Solaris commands and components, as well as your understanding of system administration principles.

Certification is proof of your knowledge and shows that you have the skills required to support Solaris. Sun Microsystems' certification program can help a company to identify proven performers who have demonstrated their skills and who can support the company's investment in both Sun Microsystems' hardware and software. It demonstrates that you have a solid understanding of your job role and the Sun products used in that role.

SCSAs are highly respected and well paid in the IT industry. Although there might be a significant number of IT professionals certified in other network operating systems, Solaris-certified and other UNIX-certified professionals are still in very high demand.

So, whether you are beginning a career, changing careers, securing your present position, or seeking to refine and promote your position, this book is for you!

Sun Microsystems Certifications

Sun Microsystems offers a variety of certifications to help you demonstrate your expertise in several functional areas. There are currently four certification areas: Solaris Operating Environment, Java Technology, Sun ONE Middleware, and Network Storage. Representatives from Sun Microsystems have announced plans for a security certification to be released in 2003.


For the latest certification information, visit the Sun certification page at

Solaris Operating Environment

The Solaris operating environment is the premier UNIX-based network operating environment available in the world today. Many companies swear by Sun hardware and software, because of their high reliability, availability, security, and scalability. Sun is committed to meeting today's networking demands, while anticipating tomorrow's innovations.

Sun offers two certification tracks for the Solaris operating environment: Sun Certified System Administrator and Sun Certified Network Administrator. Both of these tracks are currently offered for the Solaris 7, Solaris 8, and Solaris 9 Operating Environments. Because this book focuses on Solaris 9, detailed information will be provided for only this track. Attaining certifications in Solaris 7 and Solaris 8 is a very similar process to that of Solaris 9.

The Sun Certified System Administrator certification is for system administrators who perform system administration functions on Solaris client and server computers. In order to become certified as a Sun Certified System Administrator in Solaris 9, you must pass two exams:

  • Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Part I (CX-310-014)

  • Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Part II (CX-310-015)

Most people find the Part II exam to be more difficult, and it's possible to see questions from Part I objectives on the Part II test. If you are already certified as a system administrator for a previous version of the Solaris operating environment, you can take an upgrade exam instead of the two exams:

  • Sun Certified System Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment Upgrade Exam (CX-310-016)

The Sun Certified Network Administrator exam is for individuals who are or will be responsible for managing Sun computers in a networked environment. To become a Sun Certified Network Administrator, you must first become a Sun Certified System Administrator. After you have attained that status, you need only one more exam to become a Network Administrator:

  • Sun Certified Network Administrator for the Solaris 9 Operating Environment (CX-310-044)

At the website, there are free sample exams, as well as full-length practice exams available for purchase.

Java Technology

Java technology has taken the computer industry by storm and appears poised to remain a force for quite some time. If you're a Java developer, you should consider obtaining a Java certification. Sun offers four Java certifications:

  • Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform

  • Sun Certified Developer for the Java 2 Platform

  • Sun Certified Web Component Developer for the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE)

  • Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology.

For more information, go to and choose the certification you are interested in.

Sun ONE Middleware

Sun Open Net Environment (ONE) is Sun's software for building and deploying Services on Demand. Because of its scalability and reliability, it has a place in current traditional software settings as well as advanced web-based applications.

Sun provides both developer and engineer certifications for Sun ONE:

  • Sun Certified Developer for Sun ONE Application Server 6.0

  • Sun Certified Engineer for Sun ONE Directory Server 5.x

For more information, see and choose the certification you are interested in.

Network Storage

For IT professionals who have extensive storage management needs, such as those who use VERITAS Volume Manager, VERITAS Backup, Solstice DiskSuite, or Solstice Backup, Sun offers three storage technology certifications:

  • Sun Certified Data Management Engineer

  • Sun Certified Backup and Recovery Engineer

  • Sun Certified Storage Architect

For more information, go to and choose the certification you are interested in.

More Information

The most current information about Sun certifications can be found at Follow the Certification link and choose the certification path that you are interested in. Test objectives are available on the website, and keep in mind that they can change at any time without notice.

Skills Required for SCSA Certification

To pass the Part I certification exam, you need to master the following skill areas:

  • Managing file systems

  • Installing software

  • Performing system boot procedures

  • Performing user and security administration

  • Managing network printers and system processes

  • Performing system backups and restores

To pass the Part II certification exam, you need to master the following skill areas:

  • Describing network basics

  • Managing virtual file systems and core dumps

  • Managing storage volumes

  • Controlling access and configuring system messaging

  • Setting up naming services

  • Performing advanced installation procedures

The complete list of specific objectives is on the tear-out card included at the front of this book. At the beginning of each chapter, you'll also see a list of which objectives will be covered. It's quite a laundry list of things to know. But this book is here to help you.


Exam objectives are subject to change at any time and without prior notice at Sun's discretion, so be sure to check the website ( for the most up-to-date objective list.

Tips for Taking the SCSA Exams

Use the following tips to help you prepare for and pass each exam.

  • You do not need to complete both tests in one sitting. Even if you are prepared to take both exams, it's usually best to take them on separate days so you are fresh for each exam.

  • The Part I exam has 57 questions, and the Part II exam has 58 questions. You will have 105 minutes to complete each test. Plan accordingly so that you do not run out of time.

  • Many questions on the exam have answer choices that at first glance look identical. Read the questions carefully. Do not just jump to conclusions. Make sure that you clearly understand exactly what each question asks.

  • You need to be able to identify what's important and what's not important in a test question. Question writers will include extraneous information in the question to throw you off. If some of the information presented doesn't seem to fit with the other information, it might not be relevant.

  • Some of the questions will require fill-in-the-blank answers. Remember that case-sensitivity is important when typing directory paths, commands, and command options.

  • Do not leave any questions unanswered. There is no negative scoring. After selecting an answer, you can mark a difficult question or one that you're unsure of and come back to it later.

  • When answering questions that you are not sure about, use a process of elimination to get rid of the obviously incorrect answers first. Doing this greatly improves your odds if you need to make an educated guess.

  • If you're not sure of your answer, mark it for review and then look for other questions that may help you eliminate any incorrect answers. At the end of the test, you can go back and review the questions that you marked for review.

Where Do You Take the Exam?

You can take Solaris exams at any of the more than 800 Thompson Prometric Authorized Testing Centers around the world. For the location of a testing center near you, call 1-800-891-3926. Outside the United States and Canada, contact your local Thompson Prometric Registration Center.

In order to register with Thompson Prometric, you must first purchase an exam voucher from Sun. To do this, call Sun Training at 1-800-422-8020. Exam vouchers are nonrefundable, must be used within one year of the purchase date, and can be used only once. After you have your exam voucher number, you can register for the test with Thompson Prometric.

To register for a proctored Sun Certified System Administrator exam at a Thompson Prometric test center:

  • Determine the number of the exam you want to take.

  • Register with Thompson Prometric online at or in North America, by calling 1-800-891-EXAM (800-891-3926). At this point, you will be asked for your exam voucher number.

  • When you schedule the exam, you'll get instructions regarding all appointment and cancellation procedures, the ID requirements, and information about the testing-center location.

You can schedule exams up to six weeks in advance or as soon as one working day before the day you wish to take it. If something comes up and you need to cancel or reschedule your exam appointment, contact Thompson Prometric at least 24 hours in advance.