Between the RHCSA v7 and the RHCSA v8 exams, Red Hat has made numerous adjustments:
- Access a virtual machine’s console, Start and stop virtual machines, Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems as virtual guests and Configure systems to launch virtual machines at boot objectives have been removed: there is no virtualization (mainly KVM) objective at the exam anymore. In the past many candidates were wondering if KVM knowledge was necessary: the answer is now definitively no.
- Preserve system journals is a new objective, system journals not being preserved by default.
- Mount and unmount CIFS network file systems objective has been withdrawn but not NFS network file systems: SAMBA and Windows integration doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore, at least on the filesystem side.
- Configure disk compression objective shows up: Red Hat wants sysadmins to master the VDO technology, purchased several years ago.
- Manage layered storage is a new objective dealing with Stratis, the Red Hat‘s answer to the ZFS file system: not a new product but a better integration between LVM and xfs.
- Create and manage Access Control Lists (ACLs) objective disappears. Red Hat added new objectives but also had to remove some.
- Configure time service clients objective replaces the previous Configure a system to use time services objective: Red Hat doesn’t ask candidates to set up time service client and server anymore but only time service clients. Knowledge of the NTP daemon is no longer necessary, that of Chrony is enough.
- Work with package module streams objective replaces Update the kernel package appropriately to ensure a bootable system previous objective: AppStreams are the most visible new feature of RHEL 8. They had to be there.
- Configure IPv4 and IPv6 addresses objective, previously associated with the RHCE 7 exam, is a new RHCSA 8 objective.
- Restrict network access using firewall-cmd/firewalld and Configure firewall settings using firewall-cmd/firewalld are not really new objectives. In the RHCSA 7 exam, tasks could be done with Firewalld or Iptables, now Iptables have been removed.
- Configure a system to use an existing authentication service for user and group information objective is not there anymore: no LDAP configuration at the RHCSA 8 exam. It was one of the most dreaded topics of the exam.
- Configure superuser access is a new objective, which asks candidates to know the sudo command and associated configuration.
To sum up the main changes:
- Objectives around Virtualization and LDAP configuration are gone.
- The IPv6 configuration, previously included in the RHCE 7 curriculum, is now an objective of the RHCSA 8 exam.
- New technologies coming with the RHEL 8 distribution like VDO, Stratis and AppStreams are logical new objectives.
The exam difficulty shouldn’t change too much: Red Hat is trading the LDAP configuration and virtualization topics, even though there were few tasks on this latter subject in the past, against VDO, Stratis and AppStreams.
According to the new Red Hat‘s release cadence, a minor version of RHEL every six months and a major version of RHEL every three years, it is interesting to note that the duration of the RHCSA certification is now synchronized with the RHEL release cycle.