Section 1 - OSI
The first section of the exam concentrates on some basic networking concepts, working up the OSI model from the bottom. Most of this information is common knowledge in the networking industry, but I guarantee that you don't know all of it, especially when you get to the application layer protocols. This is mostly a collection of Wikipedia articles, but with information this basic, Wiki is our friend.
This section is worth 33% of the total test score.
- Objective 1.01 - Explain, compare and contrast the OSI layers
Another OSI Model Overview
- Objective 1.02 - Explain protocols and technologies specific to the data-link layer
ARP on F5
Link Aggregation Wiki
Big IP Link Aggregation
- Objective 1.03 - Explain protocols and apply technologies specific to the network layer
IP Addressing & Subnetting
IP Packet Fragmentation
IP TTL (Time to Live)
- Objective 1.04 - Explain the features and functionality of protocols and technologies specific to the transport layer
TCP Connection Setup by Virtual Server Type
TCP Profile Settings (Tunables)
UDP Profile Settings (Tunables)
TCPDUMP on F5
- Objective 1.05 - Explain the features and functionality of protocols and technologies specific to the application layer
HTTP Status Codes
F5 HTTP White Paper
DNS Record Types
F5 SIP White Paper
My Name is URL
Section 2 - F5 Solutions and Technology
In this section, we get into the actual F5 Solutions. Most engineers taking this exam will be experienced with LTM and iRules, but little else. Hopefully, the familiarity gained from the F5 datasheets and white papers shown below will help you to understand the breadth of the F5 offerings. Prepare to take the first step into a larger world.
This section is also worth 33% of the total test score.
- Objective 2.01 - Articulate the role of F5 products
Application Security Manager (ASM)
Local Traffic Manager (LTM)
Global Traffic Manager (GTM)
Enterprise Manager (EM)
WAN Optimization Manager (WOM)
ARX File Virtualization
F5 White Papers
- Objective 2.02 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iRules
- Objective 2.03 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iApps
- Objective 2.04 - Explain the purpose, use and advantages of iControl
- Objective 2.05 - Explain the purpose of and use cases for full proxy and packet forwarding / packet based architectures
Packet-Based vs Full Proxy
Auto Last Hop
Virtual Server Types
- Objective 2.06 - Explain the advantages and configurations of high availability (HA)
Big IP HA Features
Section 3 - Load Balancing Essentials
This section is a short one compared to the previous two. It's worth 17% of the total test score. If you're going after an F5 certification, you're probably already familiar with much of this material, so you probably won't have to study as much for this section. It never hurts to brush up on the algorithms and persistence methods.
- Objective 3.01 - Discuss the purpose of, use cases for, and key considerations related to load balancing
Load Balancing 101
Load Balancing Algorithms (Devcentral)
More on Load Balancing Algorithms
Another Load Balancing Algorithm Article
Yet Another Load Balancing Algorithm Article
- Objective 3.02 - Differentiate between a client and a server
Client / Server on Wiki - Yes, I'm surprised this is even a question.
Section 4 - Security
This section is weighted at 11% of the total test score, but it feels like it should be more.
- Objective 4.01 - Compare and contrast positive and negative security models
Positive vs Negative Security
- Objective 4.02 - Explain the purpose and cryptographic services
SSL Certificates (Devcentral)
Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption
Client SSL Profiles
Server SSL Profiles
- Objective 4.03 - Describe the purpose and advantages of authentication
Single Sign On
- Objective 4.04 - Describe the purpose, advantages and use cases of IPsec and SSL VPN
IPSEC vs SSL VPN
Section 5 - Application Delivery Platforms
The final section is worth only 7% of the total test score. The finish line is in sight!
- Objective 5.01 - Describe the purpose, advantages, use cases, and challenges associated with hardware-based application delivery platforms and virtual machines
- Objective 5.02 - Describe the purpose of the various types of advanced acceleration techniques.
Application Performance Optimization
So there you have it. Everything you need to pass the F5 Application Delivery Fundamentals exam, and probably more. If you use this study guide, please comment and let me know if it was helpful and how you did on the test.
Postscript. - I just noticed something interesting about the exam blueprint. If you add up the various sections (33 + 33 + 17 + 11 + 7), you get 101%. F5... going above and beyond. :-)