Linux decrypted: How this CCIE fast-tracked his Linux ambitions
The Digital Landscape Is Brutal
If we learned anything from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian (because it's such an educational experience), it was the answer to the legendary question, "What is best in life?" Here's how Conan put it: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" In short, survival of the fittest.
I'm pretty sure Conan subsequently recommended Linux certification as a means to achieve this lofty goal. Why? Because after 20-plus certifications, I've come to realize that the digital landscape is brutal, and only the strongest survive. As such, I always knew Linux certification was a must have, for a whole lot of reasons, but past attempts to decrypt its mysteries simply evaded me.
Linux Relevance Turning Into Dominance
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Linux is run on 28 percent of all physical servers vs. Windows at 50 percent. According to TOP500, all of the top 10 and 96 percent of all Supercomputers run Linux. Many of the NetGear, Linksys, IoMega and other consumer electronic "appliances" for NAS storage, wireless and other functions use Linux as their base operating system. All other functionality is scripted and programmed on top of it. And, as a world leader in Cloud hosted virtual desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), I can tell you that dinCloud.com is about to launch Linux virtual desktops sometime in the summer or fall of 2014. Linux is not only relevant, it is becoming downright dominant.
Linux Training Isn't Medieval — Anymore
I've sat in RedHat, Sun and many other types of trainings from various vendors to try to learn Linux. In my opinion, the instructors were far short of "Linux gurus" and for my $2,000-plus fee all I got was a couple of workbooks and summary instructions to immediately begin lab exercises for the entire week. I had no idea why I was doing these lab exercises, nor was there a method behind the madness. By contrast, many successful vendors like Cisco use a method whereby the student is given some background, configuration examples, validation techniques, troubleshooting/debugging methods — all of which are explained — and all of which inevitably teach the proper resolution for every scenario using every command.
The Linux Professional Institute (LPI)
LPI is the premier organization focused on evangelizing the worldwide training and certification of those seeking the holy grail of information technology enlightenment via Linux. LPI's partner network delivers online, self-study and instructor-led training. There are three levels of certification: LPIC1, LPIC2 and LPIC3. I personally used the self-study materials off the lpi.org website, and they were terrific! A student is taught the origin of Linux, as well as why there are different flavors (branches) of Linux. The student learns similarities and differences between branches with command examples, detailed analysis of commands, tools, scripting, variables and so many other things which make Linux great. You get labs but you also get a flow within the curriculum that makes sense, covering the file structure, security mechanisms, networking and other things you must know to be successful in Linux.
To spin up a Linux server and begin your studies is as simple as using dinCloud, or if you have Windows 8.1 Pro, then Hyper-V is built-in and you can virtualize all the Linux servers/desktops you want — without having to muck with dual boot or other messy techniques on your favorite desktop/laptop. Linux is resource-light yet powerful, so even older gear you may have lying around may be suitable. In the Cloud, we use KVM virtualization extensively plus host Linux servers and virtual desktops alike. In a brutal digital landscape where only the strong survive, Linux certification is a must have skill to ensure your future success!