Preparing for Server+: labs?

2023-02-26 11:56:00

On the CompTIA sub-reddit, people often ask for labs to work through while prepping for an exam. For Linux+, I've made all the labs for my class freely available on Github. 

Server+ is a less common CompTIA exam, which focuses on sysadmin / data center admin roles. There's quite some overlap between A+, Linux+ and Security+; I kinda liked it!

Here's a few suggestions which I gave for practice for SK0-005 Server+

Unfortunately a lot of the aspects of Server+ relate to actually working in a data center, so it'll be hard to have labs for those sections.

Most of objective 1 you will need to have actual hardware for. If you're in the US, you can check LabGopher to find gear for your homelab. Otherwise, check your local nerdery forums or just eBay. A Dell R410 or R420 with Perc and RAID controller will set you back 100-400 dollars depending on specs and if hardware is included.

If you're already in IT, you can also ask your server admin team if they'd be willing to show you the ropes for objective 1.

Many of the topics in objective 2 can be practiced if you have a few VMs that run Windows, Windows Server and Linux to try out the various related tools. You can run these VMs on just about any recent laptop with 8GB or more of RAM and an i5/i7/i9 or similar Zen2 processor.

Virtual networking on objective 2 can be practiced with VMWare ESXi and pfSense.

The good part is that the software mentioned so far can be gotten for free legally. Windows is available for free use on 180-day licenses (which can be renewed multiple times). VMWare ESXi can be gotten on a free license, also for studying/lab purposes.

Licensing and asset management are mostly theoretical on Server+

Objective 3 is partially theoretical/conceptual, but there's a few practical aspects as well. Server hardening is something you can practice with the aforementioned VMs by reading and applying STIGs or CIS Benchmarks. If you're familiar with Ansible, you can even dive into the relevant playbooks. IAM can be practiced with Active Directory and/or Azure AD.

Objective 4 again is a nice mix of theory and practice. LogHub is a nice resource to read through all types of different log files. A lot of the other troubleshooting objectives can be exercised with the lab VMs and hardware I mentioned simply by trying to get it all to work :D That can sometimes already be a struggle, so you're troubleshooting!

Multiple objectives relate to services which you can run, configure and test on Linux VMs. NTP and SSH are two common ones, which I also include in my Linux+ labs. Ditto for the networking config + troubleshooting. tags: ,

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