Dissecting the CompTIA Server+ Exam
To demonstrate how Server+ is accepted and recognized, I need only mention that this credential plays a role in certification programs from HP and Microsoft, among others, either as a prerequisite to or an elective for credentials like the HP Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) and the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). With major server vendors serving as Cornerstone Partners for the Server+, including companies like HP, IBM and Intel, it wouldn’t be surprising to see similar prerequisites or recommendations popping up elsewhere.
Given the importance of server technology in IT nowadays, Server+ coverage can fairly be characterized as both broad and intermediate in depth. Designed to identify candidates with 18 to 24 months of significant, focused server experience and knowledge of the Industry Standard Server Architecture (ISSA), this exam covers a lot of highly technical ground. In fact, as CompTIA exams go, it’s more advanced than many.
Server+ Content Overview
The content for the exam is stable and falls into the seven domains listed in Table 1. At the most fundamental level, success with the Server+ exam depends on knowledge of the following subjects:
- Server hardware and subsystems, including motherboards, power supplies, various types of storage media and buses (disks, RAID arrays, optical devices and so forth, plus SCSI versus EIDE/ATA) and hardware replacement and redundancy techniques.
- Server architecture and performance enhancement elements, including caching, memory (and memory management) and bus architectures (speeds and feeds).
- Management protocols, including basic attributes, functions and performance issues.
- Advanced server performance and availability technologies, including clustering, mirroring and high-availability subsystems such as adaptive fault tolerance and adapter load balancing.
- Disaster prevention and recovery tools, techniques and strategies, including routine backup and restore, backup strategies, business continuity issues, hot and cold backup siting and general disaster recovery topics.
- Physical server issues, such as server rooms, physical security, climate and environmental issues, rack-mount versus stand-alone systems and so forth.
- The knowledge and skills necessary to install, configure, manage and troubleshoot server hardware and software.
Although A+ and Network+ are not formal prerequisites for Server+, CompTIA recommends that candidates obtain these credentials or that they possess equivalent knowledge and experience. Likewise, a minimum of 18 to 24 months of on-the-job server support or administration experience is also recommended.
Table 1: Server+ Certification Domains and Weighting