CompTIA Server+

Certification Exam Objectives

Exam SK0-004

Version 1.0

The CompTIA Server+ certification is an international vendor-neutral credential. The CompTIA Server+ exam is a validation of “foundation-level” server skills and knowledge, and is used by organizations and IT professionals around the globe.

This exam will certify that the successful candidate has the knowledge and skills required to:

  • Build, maintain, troubleshoot, secure and support server hardware and software technologies, including virtualization
  • Identify environmental issues
  • Understand and comply with disaster recovery and general security procedures
  • Be familiar with industry terminology and concepts
  • Understand server roles and their interaction in a dynamic computing environment

1.0 Server Architecture

1.1 Explain the purpose and function of server form factors.

  • Rack mount
    • Dimensions (1U, 2U, 4U)
    • Cable management arms
    • Rail kits
  • Tower
  • Blade technology
    • Blade enclosure
      • Backplane/midplane
      • Power supply sockets
      • Network modules/switches
      • Management modules
    • Blade server

1.2 Given a scenario, install, configure and maintain server components.

  • CPU
    • Multiprocessor vs. multicore
    • Socket type
    • Cache levels: L1, L2, L3
    • Speeds (Core, Bus, Multiplier)
    • CPU stepping
    • Architecture (x86, x64, ARM)
  • RAM
    • ECC vs. non-ECC
    • DDR2, DDR3
    • Number of pins
    • Static vs. dynamic
    • Module placement
    • CAS latency
    • Timing
    • Memory pairing
  • Bus types, bus channels and expansion slots
    • Height differences and bit rate differences
    • PCI
    • PCIe
    • PCI-X
  • NICs
  • Hard drives
  • Riser cards
  • RAID controllers
  • BIOS/UEFI (CMOS battery)
  • Firmware
  • USB interface/port
  • Hotswap vs. non-hotswap components

1.3 Compare and contrast power and cooling components.

  • Power
    • Voltage (110v vs. 220v vs. -48v, 208v vs. 440v/460v/480v)
    • Wattage
    • Consumption
    • Redundancy
    • 1-phase vs. 3-phase power
    • Plug types (NEMA, Edison, Twist lock)
  • Cooling
    • Airflow
    • Thermal dissipation
    • Baffles/shrouds
    • Fans
    • Liquid cooling

2.0 Server Administration

2.1 Install and configure server operating systems.

  • Determine server role/purpose
  • Update firmware
  • BIOS/UEFI configuration (Boot order)
  • Disk preparation
    • RAID setup
    • Partitioning
    • Formatting
    • File system type
      • Ext 2, 3, 4
      • NTFS
      • FAT32
      • ReiserFS
      • UFS
      • VMFS
      • ZFS
    • Swap
  • Configure host name
  • Local account setup
  • Connect to network
  • Join domain/directory
  • Address security concerns (Patching, OS hardening, Compliance to company procedures/standards)
  • Enable services
  • Install features/roles/applications/drivers
  • Performance baseline
    • Server optimization
    • Swap or pagefile optimization 
  • Unattended/remote installations
    • Deploying images and cloning
    • Scripted installs
    • PXE boot
    • TFTP

2.2 Compare and contrast server roles and requirements for each.

  • Web server
  • Application server
  • Directory server
  • Database server
  • File server
  • Print server
  • Messaging server
  • Mail server
  • Routing and remote access server
  • Network services server (DHCP, DNS/WINS, NTP)

2.3 Given a scenario, use access and control methods to administer a server.

  • Local hardware administration (KVM, Serial, Virtual administration console)
  • Network-based hardware administration (KVM over IP, ILO, iDRAC)
  • Network-based operating system administration (RDP, SSH, VNC, Command line/shell)

2.4 Given a scenario, perform proper server maintenance techniques.

  • Change management
  • Patch management
    • Operating system updates
    • Application updates
    • Security software updates
    • Firmware updates
    • Device drivers updates
    • Compatibility lists (Operating systems, Hardware, Applications)
    • Testing and validation
  • Outages and service level agreements
    • Scheduled downtime
    • Unscheduled downtime
    • Impact analysis
    • Client notification
    • MTTR
  • Performance monitoring
    • CPU utilization
    • Memory utilization
    • Network utilization
    • Disk utilization
    • Disk IOPS
    • Storage capacity
    • Comparison against performance baseline
    • Processes and services monitoring
    • Log monitoring
  • Hardware maintenance
    • Check system health indicators (LEDs, Error codes, Beep codes, LCD messages)
    • Replace failed components (Fans, Hard drives, RAM, Backplanes, Batteries)
    • Preventive maintenance (Clearing dust, Check proper air flow)
    • Proper shut down procedures
  • Fault tolerance and high availability techniques
    • Clustering (Active/active, Active/passive)
    • Load balancing (Round robin, Heartbeat)

2.5 Explain the importance of asset management and documentation.

  • Asset management
    • Licensing
    • Labeling
    • Warranty
    • Life cycle management (Procurement, Usage, End of life, Disposal/recycling)
    • Inventory (Make, Model, Serial number, Asset tag)
  • Documentation
    • Service manuals
    • Network diagrams
    • Architecture diagrams
    • Dataflow diagrams
    • Recovery documentation
    • Baseline documentation
    • Change management policies
    • Service level agreement
    • Server configuration
  • Secure storage of sensitive documentation

2.6 Explain the purpose and operation of virtualization components.

  • Hosts and guests
  • Management interface for virtual machines
  • Hypervisor (Type I, Type II, Hybrid)
  • Hardware compatibility list
    • BIOS/UEFI compatibility and support
    • CPU compatibility support
    • AMD-V/Intel VT
  • Resource allocation between guest and host
    • CPU
    • Storage
    • Memory
    • Network connectivity
      • Direct access (bridging) vs. NAT
      • Virtual NICs
      • Virtual switches
    • Video

3.0 Storage

3.1 Given a scenario, install and deploy primary storage devices based on given specifications and interfaces.

  • Disk specifications
    • RPM
    • Dimensions/form factor
    • Capacity
    • Bus width
    • IOPS
    • Seek time and latency
    • Hotswap vs. non-hotswap components
  • Interfaces (SAS, SATA, SCSI, USB, Fibre channel)
  • Hard drive vs. SSD

3.2 Given a scenario, configure RAID using best practices.

  • RAID levels and performance considerations (0, 1, 5, 6, 10)
  • Software vs. hardware RAID (Performance considerations)
  • Configuration specifications (Capacity, Bus types, Drive RPM)
  • Hotswap support and ramifications
  • Hot spare vs. cold spare
  • Array controller (Memory, Battery backed cache, Redundant controller)

3.3 Summarize hardware and features of various storage technologies.

  • DAS
  • NAS (CIFS/SMB, NFS)
  • SAN (iSCSI, FCoE, Fibre channel, LUN and LUN masking, HBAs and fabric switches)
  • JBOD
  • Tape (Drive, Libraries)
  • Optical drive
  • Flash, compact flash and USB drive

3.4 Given a scenario, calculate appropriate storage capacity and plan for future growth.

  • Base10 vs. Base2 disk size calculation (1000 vs. 1024)
  • Disk quotas
  • Compression
  • Capacity planning considerations
    • Operating system growth (Patches, Service packs, Log files)
    • Temporary directories
    • Databases
    • Application servers
    • File servers
    • Archival

4.0 Security

4.1 Compare and contrast physical security methods and concepts.

  • Multifactor authentication
    • Something you have
    • Something you know
    • Something you are
  • Security concepts
    • Mantrap
    • RFID chip
    • ID card
    • Biometric
    • Keypad
    • Access list
    • Security guard
    • Security camera
    • Keys and locks (Cabinet, Rack mount, Server)
    • Safe

4.2 Given a scenario, apply server hardening techniques.

  • OS hardening
    • Stopping unneeded services/closing unneeded ports
    • Install only required software
    • Install latest operating system patches
  • Application hardening
    • Install latest patches
    • Disabling unneeded services/roles/features
  • Endpoint security (HIDS, Anti-malware)
  • Remediate security issues based on a vulnerability scan
  • Hardware hardening
    • Disabling unneeded hardware and physical ports/devices
    • BIOS password
    • Disable WOL (Wake on LAN)
    • Setup boot order
    • Chassis locks/intrusion detection

4.3 Explain basic network security systems and protocols.

  • Firewall (Network-based, Host-based)
  • Port security/802.1x/NAC
  • Router access list
  • NIDS
  • Authentication protocols (LDAP, RADIUS, TACACS, TACACS+)
  • PKI (Private key, Public key, Certificate authority, SSL/TLS)
  • VPN
  • IPSec
  • VLAN
  • Security zones (DMZ, Public and private, Intranet and extranet)

4.4 Implement logical access control methods based on company policy.

  • ACLs
    • Users
    • Groups (Roles)
  • Resources
    • File system
    • Network ACLs
    • Peripheral devices
    • Administrative rights
    • Distribution lists
  • Permissions
    • Read
    • Write/modify
    • Execute
    • Delete
    • Full control/superuser
    • File vs. share

4.5 Implement data security methods and secure storage disposal techniques.

  • Storage encryption (File level encryption, Disk encryption, Tape encryption)
  • Storage media
    • Soft wipe (File deletion)
    • Hard wipe (Zero out all sectors)
    • Physical destruction
    • Remote wipe

4.6 Given a scenario, implement proper environmental controls and techniques.

  • Power concepts and best practices
    • UPS
      • Runtime vs. capacity
      • Automated graceful shutdown of attached devices
      • Periodic testing of batteries
      • Maximum load
      • Bypass procedures
      • Remote management
    • PDU
      • Connect redundant rack PDUs to separate circuits
      • Capacity planning (PDU ratings, UPS ratings, Total potential power draw)
      • Multiple circuits (Connect redundant power supplies to separate PDUs)
  • Safety
    • ESD procedures
    • Fire suppression
    • Proper lifting techniques
    • Rack stability
    • Floor load limitations
    • Sharp edges and pinch points
  • HVAC
    • Room and rack temperature and humidity
    • Monitoring and alert notifications
    • Air flow
    • Rack filler/baffle/blanking panels
    • Hot aisle and cold aisle

5.0 Networking

5.1 Given a scenario, configure servers to use IP addressing and network infrastructure services.

  • IPv4 vs. IPv6
  • Default gateway
  • CIDR notation and subnetting
  • Public and private IP addressing
  • Static IP assignment vs. DHCP
  • DNS (FQDN, Default domain suffix/search domain)
  • WINS
  • NetBIOS
  • NAT/PAT
  • MAC addresses
  • Network Interface Card configuration
    • NIC teaming
    • Duplexing (Full, Half, Auto)
    • Speeds (10/100/1000 Mbps, 10 Gbps)

5.2 Compare and contrast various ports and protocols.

  • TCP vs. UDP
  • SNMP 161
  • SMTP 25
  • FTP 20/21
  • SFTP 22
  • SSH 22
  • SCP 22
  • NTP 123
  • HTTP 80
  • HTTPS 443
  • TELNET 23
  • IMAP 143
  • POP3 110
  • RDP 3389
  • FTPS 989/990
  • LDAP 389/3268
  • DNS 53
  • DHCP 67/68

5.3 Given a scenario, install cables and implement proper cable management procedures.

  • Copper
    • Patch cables (Crossover, Straight through, Rollover)
    • CAT5
    • CAT5e
    • CAT6
  • Fiber (Single mode, Multimode)
  • Connectors (ST, LC, BNC, SC, SFP, RJ-45, RJ-11)
  • Cable placement and routing (Cable channels, Cable management trays, Vertical, Horizontal)
  • Labeling
  • Bend radius
  • Plenum cables
  • Cable ties

6.0 Disaster Recovery

6.1 Explain the importance of disaster recovery principles.

  • Site types (Hot site, Cold site ,Warm site)
  • Replication methods (Disk-to-disk, Server-to-server, Site-to-site)
  • Continuity of operations
    • Disaster recovery plan
    • Business continuity plan
    • Business impact analysis (Who is affected, What is affected, Severity of impact)

6.2 Given a scenario, implement appropriate backup techniques.

  • Methodology
    • Full/normal (Copy)
    • Incremental
    • Differential
    • Snapshot
    • Selective
    • Bare metal
    • Open file
    • Data vs. OS restore
  • Backup media
    • Linear access (Tape)
    • Random access (Disk, Removable media, Optical media)
  • Media and restore best practices
    • Labeling
    • Integrity verification
    • Test restorability
    • Tape rotation and retention
  • Media storage location
    • Offsite
    • Onsite
    • Security considerations
    • Environmental considerations

7.0 Troubleshooting

7.1 Explain troubleshooting theory and methodologies.

  • Identify the problem and determine the scope
    • Question users/stakeholders and identify changes to the server/environment
    • Collect additional documentation/logs
    • If possible, replicate the problem as appropriate
    • If possible, perform backups before making changes
  • Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious)
    • Determine whether there is a common element of symptom causing multiple problems
  • Test the theory to determine cause
    • Once theory is confirmed, determine next steps to resolve problem
    • If theory is not confirmed, establish new theory or escalate
  • Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and notify impacted users
  • Implement the solution or escalate as appropriate
    • Make one change at a time and test/confirm the change has resolved the problem
    • If the problem is not resolved, reverse the change if appropriate and implement new change
  • Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventative measures
  • Perform a root cause analysis
  • Document findings, actions and outcomes throughout the process

7.2 Given a scenario, effectively troubleshoot hardware problems, selecting the appropriate tools and methods.

  • Common problems
    • Failed POST
    • Overheating
    • Memory failure
    • Onboard component failure
    • Processor failure
    • Incorrect boot sequence
    • Expansion card failure
    • Operating system not found
    • Drive failure
    • Power supply failure
    • I/O failure
  • Causes of common problems
    • Third-party components or incompatible components
    • Incompatible or incorrect BIOS
    • Cooling failure
    • Mismatched components
    • Backplane failure
  • Environmental issues
    • Dust
    • Humidity
    • Temperature
    • Power surge/failure
  • Hardware tools
    • Power supply tester (multimeter)
    • Hardware diagnostics
    • Compressed air
    • ESD equipment

7.3 Given a scenario, effectively troubleshoot software problems, selecting the appropriate tools and methods.

  • Common problems
    • User unable to log on
    • User cannot access resources
    • Memory leak
    • BSOD/stop
    • OS boot failure
    • Driver issues
    • Runaway process
    • Cannot mount drive
    • Cannot write to system log
    • Slow OS performance
    • Patch update failure
    • Service failure
    • Hangs no shut down
    • Users cannot print
  • Cause of common problems
    • User Account Control (UAC/SUDO)
    • Corrupted files
    • Lack of hard drive space
    • Lack of system resources
    • Virtual memory (misconfigured, corrupt)
    • Fragmentation
    • Print server drivers/services
    • Print spooler
  • Software tools
    • System logs
    • Monitoring tools (resource monitor, performance monitor)
    • Defragmentation tools
    • Disk property tools (usage, free space, volume or drive mapping)

7.4 Given a scenario, effectively diagnose network problems, selecting the appropriate tools and methods.

  • Common problems
    • Internet connectivity failure
    • Email failure
    • Resource unavailable
    • DHCP server misconfigured
    • Non-functional or unreachable
    • Destination host unreachable
    • Unknown host
    • Default gateway misconfigured
    • Failure of service provider
    • Cannot reach by host name/FQDN
  • Causes of common problems
    • Improper IP configuration
    • VLAN configuration
    • Port security
    • Improper subnetting
    • Component failure
    • Incorrect OS route tables
    • Bad cables
    • Firewall (misconfiguration, hardware failure, software failure)
    • Misconfigured NIC, routing/switch issues
    • DNS and/or DHCP failure
    • Misconfigured hosts file
    • IPv4 vs. IPv6 misconfigurations
  • Networking tools
    • ping
    • tracert/traceroute
    • ipconfig/ifconfig
    • nslookup
    • net use/mount
    • route
    • nbtstat
    • netstat

7.5 Given a scenario, effectively troubleshoot storage problems, selecting the appropriate tools and methods.

  • Common problems
    • Slow file access
    • OS not found
    • Data not available
    • Unsuccessful backup
    • Error lights
    • Unable to mount the device
    • Drive not available
    • Cannot access logical drive
    • Data corruption
    • Slow I/O performance
    • Restore failure
    • Cache failure
    • Multiple drive failure
  • Causes of common problems
    • Media failure
    • Drive failure
    • Controller failure
    • HBA failure
    • Loose connectors
    • Cable problems
    • Misconfiguration
    • Improper termination
    • Corrupt boot sector
    • Corrupt file system table
    • Array rebuild
    • Improper disk partition
    • Bad sectors
    • Cache battery failure
    • Cache turned off
    • Insufficient space
    • Improper RAID configuration
    • Mismatched drives
    • Backplane failure
  • Storage tools
    • Partitioning tools
    • Disk management
    • RAID array management
    • Array management
    • System logs
    • Net use/mount command
    • Monitoring tools

7.6 Given a scenario, effectively diagnose security issues, selecting the appropriate tools and methods.

  • Common problems
    • File integrity issue
    • Privilege escalation
    • Applications will not load
    • Cannot access network file/shares
    • Unable to open files
    • Excessive access
    • Excessive memory utilization
  • Causes of common problems
    • Open ports
    • Active services
    • Inactive services
    • Intrusion detection configurations
    • Anti-malware configurations
    • Local/group policies
    • Firewall rules
    • Misconfigured permissions
    • Virus infection
    • Rogue processes/services
  • Security tools
    • Port scanners
    • Sniffers
    • Cipher
    • Checksums
    • Telnet client
    • Anti-malware