Redhat RHCSA

One of my objectives for 2016 is to pass the RHCSA exam.  One of the problems of this is cost, while I can’t afford to take a course I some how need to create myself a lab where I can install multiple copies of the OS to play with.  I’m lucky enough to have subscribed to the RH Developer program so I have access to RHEL but don’t currently have the hardware.  So I’m looking at one of these c03760135














It’s a HP microserver and should meet my needs.  I’ll set it up as a KVM host which will then allow me to install as many VM’s as I want [assuming it’s got enough ram and cpu power]

Does any one else have a lab?  What kit do you have, is there anything better than a microserver that’s cheap and will do the job?

I’m going to start blogging my progress with the RHCSA so that if you’re thinking of doing it yourself or in the future, you can join me in my quest.



15 thoughts on “Redhat RHCSA

  1. I like the idea of a dedicated system for VMs. However, I bought an i7 Lenovo T450s, maxed it out with 24G RAM and plunked a Samsung SSD in for good measure. Now I can take my lab on the road without the hassle of finding a plug nor do I feel sluggish when I am running 4+ VMs. The system will last me many many years so the initial investment is always worth it to me.


  2. Both at work and on blogs whenever I talk to people studying for this course or the Cisco or Microsoft equivalents, they always end up scouring ebay for server equipment to set up a lab. For the stuff you need to know to pass the test – especially the Red Hat one – could you not just do it by setting up a network of RH VMs? Does it need to be on actual server hardware?


  3. Hello,
    I think you will find that the HP MicroServer will have too few processor cores. If you look on HP’s web site for this server all the models boast only 2 CPU cores. For comfortable virtualisation you need at least 4 CPU cores.

    I use a system built by a UK firm (, which uses an 8 CPU core AMD FX 8350. This allows me to run 3 VMs using virt-manager comfortably with only 8GB of RAM. If you go with a multi-core AMD processor, you should find that the overall system cost will be much lower, whilst providing you with more cores and hence flexibility.


  4. Hello Paul,

    I use Linux Academy they are really good and the provide a lab with enough servers to learn. I’ve sen you a referral link to sign up to your email, if you plan to sign up would be great if you use my referral link.



  5. I’ve been using a self-built box with a Gigabyte board, Intel i7 960 CPU, 16GB Corsair memory, a Samsung 120GB SSD for the OS (whatever is the latest Fedora) and 2x Seagate 2TB in software RAID1 (mdadm) for my data. This setup has been working fine for about 5 years now and can run a bunch of VMs. It wasn’t as cheap as a low-end Dell or HP desktop when I bought the parts but it was pretty fast and it’s still running 24/7 after 5 years (and counting).

    Looking at the specs of a couple of HP Microserver models they don’t seem to have a very powerful cpu (Celeron) and not a lot of memory (2GB). I recommend to get a box with at least 4GB memory and a more powerful cpu also helps.

    Ebay sells a ton of Dell, HP, etc. desktops with suitable specs. Just get a tower model (for extra data disks if needed), maybe some extra ram (not from the vendor) and off you go.

    There are a number of really good books available that will teach you all the stuff to pass your RHCSA exam (note that the last two books have not yet been released):

    RHCSA & RHCE Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7: Training and Exam Preparation Guide (EX200 and EX300), Third Edition 3rd Edition
    by Asghar Ghori

    Red Hat RHCSA/RHCE 7 Cert Guide: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (EX200 and EX300) (Certification Guide) 1st Edition
    by Sander van Vugt

    RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide, Seventh Edition (Exams EX200 & EX300) 7th Edition
    by Michael Jang (Author), Alessandro Orsaria (Author)
    RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Practice Exams with Virtual Machines, Second Edition (Exams EX200 & EX300) 2nd Edition
    by Michael Jang (Author), Alessandro Orsaria (Author)

    If I were on a limited budget then I would get one of these books and get a Amazon AWS Free Usage Tier (credit card required). You could use that to install a CentOS7 image and do as much from the book as possible.

    Good luck getting your RHCSA!


  6. Hi, good luck for your exam! Personally, I think your hardware is a good choice. But why not consider OpenStack for the software? I’ve a single host deployment on my mac mini (with RDO packstack), and it’s a marvelous sandbox, really efficient.


  7. My humble opinion as someone who just found your website and have a lot of experience with proliant micro servers (have been using them since the N36L as cheap entry level small business clients), it only worth it buying this GEN8 if you buy the cheapest version of it and spend some quality hardware hands-on time with him… You should buy the cheapest model, upgrade the processor to the E3-1230V2, fill him with RAM, 4 3TB surveillance seagate HDD (cheapest than the RED, almost the same quality), one 64GB thumbs drive to run as OS HDD and extra coolers complementing the single fan airflow profile of this server (four ADDA AD2005MB-G70 was my choice and didn’t let me down). After it my server when smoothly even in the summer in Rio de Janeiro, with days with almost 42ºC


  8. You will find that the Intel NUC is underpowered and overpriced.

    I run Proxmox VE4.2 as the Host OS for easy GUI remote management of VMs on 3 AMD machines.

    You will find that 8 Gig and 6 cores is the comfortable minimum.
    If I was buying today I would pick 8 AMD cores and 16 Gig.

    I also run oVirt (Upstream for RedHat Virtualisation Manager) on 3 retired HP 1u Intel dual quads.

    You could look at that too if you are interested in RHEVM.

    Good Luck! 🙂


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