F5 BIG IP – 201 exam – TMOS administration (Tips and tricks)

Yesterday, I cleared my F5 BIG IP 201 exam and am now a F5 BIG IP certified administrator.

Honestly, the f5 certification is very different than the other vendors exam. It is not easy, there are no books in market but once you cross the river, you would feel proud of yourself.

If you need the tips and tricks for F5 BIG IP 101 exam Application delivery fundamentals, refer to my other blog F5 BIG IP – 101 Exam Application delivery fundamentals

Below are some tips and tricks required to crack this F5 BIG IP 201 exam (TMOS administration)  :

  1. Stop searching for book on the internet. I tried a lot but could not find one single book which covers all the topics of 201 exam.
  2. Refer the F5 BIG IP 201 – study guide for preparation. Do not forget to go through the links given in this guide. This is the only and main material which covers most of the part of this exam.
  3. Videos at CBT nuggets can help to speed up your learning the F5 LTM product. But just watching the videos and doing tutorial in the lab may not be sufficient to pass this exam.
  4. Do you know what is BIG-IQ ? If not, read it. There were 2-3 questions on it. Do not leave any topic assuming it to be not important.
  5. Get used to seeing the network map screen, nodes, pool or pool member screen. There are several questions with the snapshot taken from these screen.
  6. Understand the status symbols and when will the node/pool member etc will get the traffic or not.
  7. Try the backup and restore command multiple times via the command line so that you know the syntax.
  8.  About 3-4 questions were based on priority and ratio in virtual servers. So it is important to understand the division of load with priority and ration set.
  9. Few questions will have log files snippets. Fortunately the information in the logfiles snippets are not difficult to interpret. The options given in such questions are very easy. So it is quite simple to get to the right answer.
  10. Read about the priority and what you will be providing to the F5 support. For example, if you are suspecting some hardware failure, you would give the F5 EUD log files. If you created a new virtual server and it is not passing the traffic, this should be opened as priority 3 incident case with the F5 BIG IP. I hope this will give hint as what kind of questions to expect 😉
  11. There are good number of questions on HA sync issue or software updates.
  12. Which port is required to fetch the logs from the mgmt GUI by the admin ?? Oops such tricky questions may appear where you have to use logic at that moment only.
  13. Tick tick tick….watch out the time. You may run out of it. There are some questions with story in it and many questions with the screenshots. Such question can eat your time. If you stuck, move ahead.

I hope the above tips and tricks may help. Unlike F5 101 exam, in the 201 exam, it is quite simple to rule out the wrong options. So if you can get to the right answer by just reading the question, try removing the worng answer.

All the very best for the exam and would love to hear the feedback from you 🙂

 

Update 27 Jan 2017 : Here are the tips from Avi. Thanks Avi for sharing

order of virtual servers
port used for GUI
priority and ration based algorithm
where does system error files get saved.
when to provide EUD.

 

Update 27Feb 2017 : Below are the tips from NG. Thanks NG for sharing

  • there are total two guides – StudyGuide_201_TMOS_OfficialF5 and Certification_Study_Guide_201_v2
  • go through all links in both guides. which are mostly Ask5 and some Devcentral… they have very good information from both exam and knowledge point of view
  • hands-on practice is very helpful
  • questions on VS selection with order of preference
  • Pool member status, which pool member will be selected..timeout,2-3 IQ questions,Analytics,Cookie persistence…VS types,monitors and their settings,load balancing…
  • keep watch on time and if question is more descriptive then mark and go to next question and do this in last

 

Update 20 May 2017 : Below tips are shared by Ed. Thanks a lot for sharing as I am sure it would be helpful for other.

– Get used to reading the configurations in text mode as well, some question will show you a fragment of the config (in text) and ask based on that
– Make sure to understand the difference between status of a node and pool member. For example what happens if pool member reports status OK and node monitor down. Practice all the possible combinations in your own lab
– if a fan speed is slow where the log is reported? /var/log/messages is not an option 🙂
– Watch the BIG-IQ video on F5 University (under v11 Overview Modules > Getting Started with F5 Products). It will give you a great summary of what you need for the exam in less than 30 minutes
– Understand user roles and what permissions have each of these.
– make sure to understand when to use troubleshooting tools such as ping, netstat, curl, etc. sounds simple, but in some questions you might thing in two possible answers, you need to thing the BEST.
– tcpdump, they will describe scenarios and you need to understand where is the best interface/vlan to run this tool
– Assuming there is a UCS locally stored, from what directories the bigip.conf can be pulled (Think of two options)
– Test and read port lockdown and how to give admin access to a self IP
– Get used to common default settings. Some questions say “assuming default settings…”
– Study Guide is not enough… Go through the links and have additional reading.
– few questions (for not saying none) of iRules and SSL Profiles, actually these are not part of the blue print
– Good number of questions of clustering (SYNC, configuration groups, etc) make sure to read “Managing Configuration Synchronization” in the clustering guide https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/manuals/product/bigip-device-service-clustering-admin-11-4-0.html
– All the topics for the exam are on the Study guide, do not spend time searching for exam dumps or additional non-F5 material

 

Update 24 July 2017 : Below tips are shared by Ramesh :

  • If you have F5 Partner account, then please go through all the LTM video trainings, practice Vlab, study all Veritable Networks links.
  • Practice in Vlab( how to create user account in cli, curl command, tcpdump, nslookup, dig, how to analyze network map, dashboard gauge statistics output?, how to generate qkview file in cli, how to upload and save ucs files).

Update 11 Apr 2018 : Below tips are shared by Vmal :

  • Read about SNAT, Address and port translation options on VS configuration(understand when to use and what is correct way to use this )
  •  logs of power failure will be saved in /var/log/ltm or /var/log/sys or /etc
  • couple of questions on health monitor (ex half tcp-open) playing with advanced configuration options on these monitors
  • understand when to use server SSL and client SSL. especially error clients may get when using or not using server SSL
  • order of Packet processing on F5(self ip ,VIP,NAT etc)
  • packet filter rules vs multiple VS address selection priority in scenario questions
  •  how should EUD file should be taken out of a production device when F5 case is opened
  • multiple scenario based issues when virtual server options are incorrectly or correctly configured like SNAT, all vlan & tunnel options , address & port translation ,fastl4,auto last hop
  • persistence mask required in certain scenario
  • Failover and software upgrade scenario
  • different type of scenario questions on vlan ,self ip and interface in respect to production environment and how it effects client return traffic
  • compression offloading from server
  •  node vs member load balancing method under certain situation#
  • logs snippet which contains TMM,HA etc
  • resource provisioning along with licensing (one question)
  • user role and learn few tmsh commands for user creation and UCS

Learn the basics from available study guide and have hand on experience or atleast go through each configuration items in VS,monitor and other ltm configuration items and how it affects traffic when enabled or disabled.

Time is the real problem. Almost all question we need to spend time in thinking and understanding the scenario . So knowing each & every aspect of LTM or f5 configuration can go a long way.

57 thoughts on “F5 BIG IP – 201 exam – TMOS administration (Tips and tricks)”

    1. Good luck Waqar. It will be helpful for other if you can share the latest topics and sample questions after appearing in it.

    1. All the best Ashish and will be helpful if you can also share the questions after the exam on this platform

    1. Congratulations Avi,
      Do you remeber any topics or questions which can be helpful for the future aspirants.

      1. order of virtual servers
        port used for GUI
        priority and ration based algorithm
        where does system error files get saved.
        when to provide EUD.
        personally I won’t suggest CBT videos rather go for F5 university videos which covers most of the things.

  1. ..Cleared 201 Today….Thank You…I am sooo happy..prepared for 1 month…Used official guides ..there are total two guides.. StudyGuide_201_TMOS_OfficialF5 and Certification_Study_Guide_201_v2….go through all links in both guides. which are mostly Ask5 and some Devcentral… this have very good information from both exam and knowledge point of view .hands-on practice is very helpful ..this is more that sufficient… questions on VS selection with order of preference.. ,Pool member status, which pool member will be selected..timeout,2-3 IQ questions,Analytics,Cookie persistence…VS types,monitors and their settings,load balancing…. Amlost touch all topics in official guide…keep watch on time and if question is more descriptive then mark and go to next question and do this in last ……do well…now time for 3XX ….

  2. Thanks for the post FunZune, just passed 201 yesterday. In addition to your notes, here are my two cents according with own experience:

    – Get used to reading the configurations in text mode as well, some question will show you a fragment of the config (in text) and ask based on that
    – Make sure to understand the difference between status of a node and pool member. For example what happens if pool member reports status OK and node monitor down. Practice all the possible combinations in your own lab
    – if a fan speed is slow where the log is reported? /var/log/messages is not an option 🙂
    – Watch the BIG-IQ video on F5 University (under v11 Overview Modules > Getting Started with F5 Products). It will give you a great summary of what you need for the exam in less than 30 minutes
    – Understand user roles and what permissions have each of these.
    – make sure to understand when to use troubleshooting tools such as ping, netstat, curl, etc. sounds simple, but in some questions you might thing in two possible answers, you need to thing the BEST.
    – tcpdump, they will describe scenarios and you need to understand where is the best interface/vlan to run this tool
    – Assuming there is a UCS locally stored, from what directories the bigip.conf can be pulled (Think of two options)
    – Test and read port lockdown and how to give admin access to a self IP
    – Get used to common default settings. Some questions say “assuming default settings…”
    – Study Guide is not enough… Go through the links and have additional reading.
    – few questions (for not saying none) of iRules and SSL Profiles, actually these are not part of the blue print
    – Good number of questions of clustering (SYNC, configuration groups, etc) make sure to read “Managing Configuration Synchronization” in the clustering guide https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/manuals/product/bigip-device-service-clustering-admin-11-4-0.html
    – All the topics for the exam are on the Study guide, do not spend time searching for exam dumps or additional non-F5 material

    Good luck!

    … and thank you for all others who shared some tips!

    1. Many thanks Ed for sharing tips.
      I will update my blog so that it is easier for the candidates to find your shared tips and hints.

  3. Many thanks for sharing this Tips and tricks.
    Today I passed TMOS 201 exam.
    Tips->
    If you have F5 Partner account, then please go through all the LTM video trainings, practice Vlab, study all Veritable Networks links.
    Practice in Vlab( how to create user account in cli, curl command, tcpdump, nslookup, dig, how to analyze network map, dashboard gauge statistics output?, how to generate qkview file in cli, how to upload and save ucs files).

  4. thanks for this page. good info. just passed my 201. just used the guide and suggestions from this blog. the 201 exam took me a bit longer that I thought, almost the full 90 minutes, but wasn’t too bad. on this exam, I would say on most questions…2 of the answers were totally ridiculous if you have a good F5 background, so mostly left 2 answers to choose from.

  5. hi evry body,

    who test the new platform of F5 practice exams portal-v5.examstudio.com/ that are designed to help candidates gauge preparedness for the production exams. It contain the same number of items, time constraints, and difficulty and simulate the proctored, production exam experience. It is delivered via the web and allow candidates to test knowldge’s before passed the real exam via Pearson VUE.

    If any test it please share her experience.

    1. i have went through examstudio demo exam for 101 the questions are with same difficulty as like real exam . you can go through this exam to gain some confidence probably 🙂 . even i got some question in the real exam which was asked in demo exam.

      just passed 101.. heading to 201 .. best of luck

  6. managed to pass 201 today. most topics are covered here.
    some study resources:
    youtube: search “F5 201” someone uploaded training videos by Eric Mitchell, it is really good to start with.
    F5 University: they have training videos,vLAB with lab guide. really helpful on handon experience, if you don’t deal with it at work.
    LTM VM: get it from F5 support with 90 days license. it is nice keep it around while reading the study guide.

    Thanks everyone who shared their experience.

    1. Congratulations Lincoln and thanks for sharing the tips.
      I was not aware of the F5 201 video but already sounds useful and interesting.

  7. I will go to exam on 2 April, but I have many doubts about questions (receiver verify non repudiation with private or public key for instance…), mininum objects for load balancing (pool, pool member (node+port), health check and virtual server (with virtual address))????….

  8. Just passed 201, mostly watching CBT nuggets and just went over the topics in your lab, break the lab and recreate it several tmes, that should be enough, after all the passing score is just 69%, which points that F5 is willing to accept your mistakes.

  9. Following are some tips which will be very useful in addition to above topics:

    *Read about SNAT, Address and port translation options on VS configuration(understand when to use and what is correct way to use this )
    * logs of power failure will be saved in /var/log/ltm or /var/log/sys or /etc
    *couple of questions on health monitor (ex half tcp-open) playing with advanced configuration options on these monitors
    *understand when to use server SSL and client SSL. especially error clients may get when using or not using server SSL
    * order of Packet processing on F5(self ip ,VIP,NAT etc)
    *packet filter rules vs multiple VS address selection priority in scenario questions
    * how should EUD file should be taken out of a production device when F5 case is opened
    *multiple scenario based issues when virtual server options are incorrectly or correctly configured like SNAT, all vlan & tunnel options , address & port translation ,fastl4,auto last hop
    *persistence mask required in certain scenario
    *Failover and software upgrade scenario
    *different type of scenario questions on vlan ,self ip and interface in respect to production environment and how it effects client return traffic
    *compression offloading from server
    * node vs member load balancing method under certain situation
    *logs snippet which contains TMM,HA etc
    *resource provisioning along with licensing (one question)
    *user role and learn few tmsh commands for user creation and UCS

    Learn the basics from available study guide and have hand on experience or atleast go through each configuration items in VS,monitor and other ltm configuration items and how it affects traffic when enabled or disabled.

    Time is the real problem. Almost all question we need to spend time in thinking and understanding the scenario . So knowing each & every aspect of LTM or f5 configuration can go a long way.

    1. Many Thanks Vmal for sharing the tips.
      I have updated in the blog and am sure would be helpful for the upcoming exam takers.

    2. Hey Vmal,

      I wasn’t sure what you meant by “packet filter rules vs multiple VS address selection priority in scenario questions”

  10. Hey Vmal,

    I wasn’t sure what you meant by “packet filter rules vs multiple VS address selection priority in scenario questions”

  11. which task can a BIG-IQ device perform?

    a). clear the lcd logs
    b). monitor virtual server traffic
    c). deploy software images
    d). create custom dashboards

  12. a big-ip device has a pool configured with the default http monitor applied. all members pass the health check, but some users report that they are getting a generic apache website instead of the desired intranet page.

    what should the big-ip administrator do to ensure that users are not directed to the default website?

    a) apply cookie persistence to the pool
    b) assign a new http monitor with receive string defined
    c) change the timeout value of the monitor to 45 seconds
    d)change teh action on the service down setting to reselect.

  13. I passed the 201 EXAM yesterday, I found this site helpful with what to expect and addition to CBT Nuggets/F5 University Labs. It helps to run your own lab so that you can play with the configuration all you want.
    I can recall 1 or 2 questions for BIG-IQ, which were very general. Know the difference when you are is bash [~ #] or tmos [(tmos)#], they will try to trip you up on where to start from.
    Question or two on Severity levels, determine the status of Network Map, VIPS, Members, Nodes, and monitors. Restoring/backing up UCS commands, what are UCS are used for. Manage software images in CLI, create users in CLI and know the roles.
    F5 provisioning, licensing questions, 1 or 2 questions on iApps Analytics. Know how to ready log files, and best way to troubleshoot (ping, tcpdump “capture”, nslookup, traceroute). Port lockdown on selfip’s and know how to configure.
    Questions on, persistence and Oneconnect, know how it can help. Question on Trunking, and a question on virtual address list (know how it’s configured after you create a VIP).
    Know where logs would go for hardware. EUD questions. https://support.f5.com/csp/article/K175
    What to provide to support when your hardware has failed. Load Balance algorithms, how a packet it processed one it arrives at device. Order of precedence and priority-based activation. Where the bigip.conf and snmpd.conf can be located.

  14. Failed the 201 exam yesterday, appreciate if i can get more insights into the exam from guys here, just like the 101.

  15. I passed the 201 on last week, trust me I was expecting to be failed.

    Tips:

    1. Practice the 201 LAB – https://media.readthedocs.org/pdf/f5-201-certification/latest/f5-201-certification.pdf
    – use the vlab and practice
    2. Read the study guide
    3. Read the certification guide
    4. Watch the 201 videos in youtube / CBT
    5. Take a practice test and make sure that you see the “green” cross (X)
    6. Get familiar with log files in var log (restart of demon output in a log file / HDD failure )
    7. LACP – how the single appliance is connected to two switches.
    8. See the virtual server configuration CLI and understand with is missing
    9. Back and recover UCS in CLI – see other options like (no-license / remove the ssh keys / remove certificate keys )
    10. F5 upgrade and hotfix – GUI and CLI
    11. Virtual server order of precedent
    12. How to mirror the connection – virtual server level / SNAT / persistence level
    13. Persistence level and what is can performance (universal persistence )
    14. check for http monitor config and understand the send and received string
    15. pool and node manual resume
    16. tcpdump / ssldump
    17. understand the node and pool level indications (dark gray)
    18. how the dashboard look when you have the iRule under virtual server.
    19. F5 support levels
    20. user account creation in cli and role (admin / operator ) , function that operator can preform in platform

    Wish you all the best with 201.

  16. Hi guys thank you so much for the tips very helpful, looking for a study partner anyone interested let me know would appreciate that planning to take 201 next week friday, thank you

  17. Today, I cleared my F5 BIG IP 201 exam. Thanks all for sharing the experience. A lot of scenario-based question. Few what I can remember

    – Upgrade/downgrade process
    – how to save ucs and restore ucs file
    – different persistence method
    – packet filtering
    – order of precedence of the packet
    -location of UCS EUD
    – EUD
    – LACP in F5
    – tcpdump syntax

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