Thursday, December 27, 2012

F5 TMOS Administration Exam Study Guide

The second exam in the F5 certification path deals with the TMOS operating system and the day-to-day operation and basic troubleshooting of TMOS-based devices.  It doesn't require you to be able to install and set up devices, but rather administer them once they are installed.

In this post, I will be posting the various links I use in studying for the F5 TMOS Administration exam (Exam 201).  This will include links from the F5 networks site, the F5 devcentral site (get a login if you don't have one), as well as other sites.  This is not intended to be original study material, but rather a collection of jumping off points for your own click-read-learn journey.

Section 1: 19% Troubleshoot basic virtual server connectivity issues
  • Objective 1.01 Given a connectivity troubleshooting situation, consider the packet and virtual server processing order. 
Order of precedence for virtual server matching
Overview of packet tracing with the tcpdump utility
Overview of TCP connection set-up for BIG-IP LTM virtual server types
Manual Chapter: Introducing BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager 

  • Objective 1.02 Identify the reason for an unresponsive virtual server.  
Pool member won’t work through BIG-IP LTM
Troubleshooting LTM Monitors
  • Objective 1.03 Identify the reason for an unresponsive pool member. 
Troubleshooting LTM monitors
Troubleshooting health monitors
Overview of BIG-IP pool status
Determining which monitor triggered a change in the availability of a node or pool member
  • Objective 1.04 Identify a persistence issue. 
Single Node Persistence
Sessions and Cookies and Persistence
Session Management
Section 2: 10% Troubleshoot basic hardware issues
  • Objective 2.01 Perform an End User Diagnostic and interpret the output. 
EUD 11.4 Field Testing BIG-IP Hardware
  • Objective 2.02 Interpret the LCD Warning Messages. 
Operating the LCD Panel
New front panel LED indicator behavior in BIG-IP version 9.x
The Activity LED operation on 8400 platforms
  • Objective 2.03 Identify a possible hardware issue within the log files. 
Writing to and rotating custom log files
Monitoring & Managing LTM Log Files
  • Objective 2.04 Perform a failover to a standby box under the appropriate circumstances. 
Defining network resources for BIG-IP high availability features
Overview of Connection and Persistence Mirroring
Overview of Connection and Persistence Mirroring (11.x)
Section 3: 9% Troubleshoot basic performance issues
  • Objective 3.01 Perform a packet capture within the context of a performance issue. 
Overview of packet tracing with the tcpdump utility
Capturing and viewing packets
Recommended methods and limitations for running tcpdump on a BIG-IP system
  • Objective 3.02 Use BIG-IP tools in order to identify potential performance issues. 

BIG-IP iHealth User Guide
Health and Performance Monitoring
Section 4: 7% Troubleshoot basic device management connectivity issues
  • Objective 4.01 Verify remote connectivity to the box in order to determine the cause of a management connectivity issue.
Configuring Network Access Resources
Diagnosing Network Connection Issues
Defining Connectivity Options
About Network Access
  • Objective 4.02 Check and interpret port lockdown settings in order to determine the cause of a management connectivity issue.
Overview of port lockdown behavior
  • Objective 4.03 Check and interpret packet filters in order to determine the cause of a management connectivity issue. 
Packet Filters
Configuring Packet Filters
Setting Up Packet Filtering
  • Objective 4.04 Given the use of a remote authentication server, verify proper DNS settings in order to diagnose a connectivity issue.
Remote Server Authentication
Configuring Remote User Authentication and Authorization
Section 5: 14% Open a support ticket with F5
  • Objective 5.01 Identify the appropriate supporting components and severity levels for an F5 support ticket.
Instructions for submitting a support case to F5
Information required when opening a support case for BIG-IP LTM or GTM
BIG-IP iHealth User Guide
Generating BIG-IP diagnostic data using the qkview utility (10.x - 11.x)
Information required when opening a support case for BIG-IP Analytics
F5 Networks Technical Support Overview
  • Objective 5.02 Given an issue, determine the appropriate severity. 
F5 Customer Support
Guidelines and Policies
Tech Support Overview
  • Objective 5.03 Provide quantitative and relevant information appropriate for a given issue.
Instructions for submitting a support case to F5 
  • Objective 5.04 Given a scenario, determine the proper F5 escalation method. 
Network Support Centers
Section 6: 10% Identify and report current device status
  • Objective 6.01 Review the network map in order to determine the status of objects on the box. 
LTM Essentials WBT – Module 2 » Home » Supported Products » BIG-IP LTM / VE » BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager: Concepts
  • Objective 6.02 Use the dashboard to gauge the current running status of the system. 
BIG IP V10 Dashboard Overview
Getting Started Guide, see 'Monitoring the BigIP System'
  • Objective 6.03 Review log files in order to gauge the current operational status of the device. 
Need something here... hmmm...
  • Objective 6.04 Use iApps Analytics to gauge the current running status of application services. 
BIG-IP Analytics: Implementations
Section 7: 14% Maintain system configuration
  • Objective 7.01 Create and restore a UCS archive under the appropriate circumstances. 
TMOS Management Guide for BIG-IP Systems v10.x | Creating and Managing Archives
BIG-IP TMOS: Concepts v11.2 | Chapter 9: Archives
Overview of UCS Archives
Backing up and restoring BIG-IP configuration(11.x)
Backing up and restoring BIG-IP configuration(10.x) 
Backing up and restoring BIG-IP configuration(9.x) 
The UCS configuration archive restoration problem (disparate platforms)
Installing a UCS file containing an encrypted passphrase
Getting Started Guide v10.x | Preparing the System for Installation
Change in Behavior: Installing a UCS configuration archive now restores the full configuration
  • Objective 7.02 Identify the components and methods associated with automating and scheduling tasks with the Enterprise Manager.
Enterprise Manager Getting Started Guide v2.3.0
Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide v2.3.0
Enterprise Manager Getting Started Guide v3.0.0
Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide
Enterprise Manager Monitoring Network Health and Activity
  • Objective 7.03 Automate and schedule tasks using Enterprise Manager. 
Enterprise Manager Getting Started Guide v2.3.0
Enterprise Manager Administrator Guide v2.3.0
  • Objective 7.04 Manage software images. 
BIG-IP Redundant Systems Configuration Guide v11.0
Replacing a BIG-IP system in a redundant pair without interrupting service
Upgrading Active Standby Systems v11.0
Upgrading Active Active Systems v11.0
Managing BIG-IP product hotfixes (11.x)
Preparing the System for Installation
Booting the BIG-IP system in single-user mode
Performing a clean installation of BIG-IP version 11.x
Restoring the BIG-IP configuration to factory default settings 11.x
Upgrading the software version or applying a hotfix to BIG-IP GTM v10.x
Upgrading the VIPRION System
Section 8: 17% Manage existing system and application services
  • Objective 8.01 Modify and manage virtual servers. 
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager v11.2: Concepts
Overview of the BIG-IP HTTP class traffic flow
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager v11.2: Implementations
Overview of the stateless virtual server
Overview of virtual server types for BIG-IP version 10.x 
HTTP Basics I Web Based Training Course
HTTP Basics II Web Based Training Course 
LTM Essentials Web-based Training Course
  • Objective 8.02 Modify and manage pools. 
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager v11.2: Concepts
BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager v11.2: Implementations
Pool member reselection options 
LTM Essentials Web-based Training Course 


  1. Rich it's really a good studding script! Thanks for the encouraging material.

  2. I recently passed the ADF Certificate Exam and I'm soon gonna try this one. As I understand the test is based alot on troubleshooting, monitoring, logging and some basic configuration of LTM, APM and EM. But still do I need to learn every single properties to all the settings for all the products? Kinda hard to tell exactly what the test will ask from me.

    1. what is the pass percentage for the ADF exam? i am also preparing for it

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Passed 201 exam this morning. Questions were fairly ok, although bit confusing like Cisco MCQ's. I think 90 min is little bit tight for 80 MCQ's as few questions need more than a min to think(well atleast for me). Pretty much every question is from blueprint topics only. Good luck guys :-)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. So, I just sat on the exam, and I have to say it was not easy at all. Time is little bit tight, and questions are really detailed. To pass this exam, I think that person has to have some hands-on experience with the TMOS. Anyway, going up to 301 :)

  7. At Last passed :D... going to get ready for the 301.. any blogs with materials for the 301a like this?

  8. Is there ay simulation questions in 201 ? or just multiple choices as 101

  9. What is the passing score for 201

  10. CAn anyone tell me the prerequisites to write 301 exam? Also from where I can get study materials?

  11. Detailed questions which need some good hands on experience to go past them quickly. Otherwise, 80 questions would take some alert brainstorming to be completed in 90 minutes; was tight for me. Good luck.

  12. The content on this site pretty much covers it all, theoretically.

  13. finally i passed the exam 201 and became " F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator" :) .. i would like to thanks Rich Hill for this useful guide .. good luck all ...

  14. I just passed the 201 exam today. My success on this exam came from: Time management, over preparation (specially on subjects I felt I did not have the necessary grip), do not take easy subjects for granted, do and redo your vLabs as many times as necessary, use every single resource on the F5 DevCentral, AskF5, and Linkedin 201 Exam Group, ask questions on the DevCentral (There is no such thing as stupid question), and last but not least, be confident (no overconfident 'cause it may harm you). For those who have access to the Partner website, Eric Mitchell’s Bootcamp videos and his study guide were extremely useful in the entire process. #Towards300Level

    1. Hi William,
      could you please give the exact URL for Eric Mitchell's bootcamp on partner website?

  15. just passed 101 today... exam is very tricky and touch.. dont take this exam easy.. not a networking exam.. all about apps

  16. just passed 101 today... exam is very tricky and touch.. dont take this exam easy.. not a networking exam.. all about apps

  17. Was looking for studying guide for 201 and found this website. You have to register for an F5 account to access the resources such as Eric Mitchell's bootcamp videos and study guide.
    101 to me was tricky - some questions try to trick you while some answers try to trick you.

    No memorization is needed accept for the various use cases for load balancing algorithms. Questions will ask under which scenario for which LB algorithm. (About 5?)
    some questions are straight forward such as why is a particular IP address/subnet a problem? You have to know subnetting math to know it's actually a broad cast address. (Only 1 subnet math question).
    About 2-3 HTTP error status questions..


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  20. Is there any Level 300 exam materials? Your study resources are great!

  21. Thanks for sharing such a woderful document.
    Today i am going to attend the 201 exam. will update the result.

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