Report and assignments from the All-Russian Olympiad on Linux system administration


    On November 19, the final round of the Linux Administration Olympiad was held among students and young professionals. I have been conducting such Olympics for several years: the first 4 olympiads were just about administering mixed systems, but for the last 2 years we have focused on Linux.

    The last olympiad was quite unusual. Firstly, instead of one standard remote qualifying round, we made two stages - simple and more complicated. Secondly, as I promised in the announcement, we prepared a special dish for the finals: 27 participants in the finals had to set up a combat cluster and integrate it into the company's infrastructure simulated on a simulator.

    Below there will be tasks with answers, a description of the practical task and details, but for now meet the winners:

    Vladimir, Anna and Vyacheslav
    • I place - Vyacheslav Karpukhin from St. Petersburg (last year he took III place).
    • II place - Anna Martynova from Moscow.
    • III place - Vladimir Dovgelevich from Krasnodar.

    First tour

    The Olympics consisted of three rounds: qualifying, theoretical and practical. A little less than 500 people registered for the qualifying round. For all questions of this tour, answers were offered, from which it was necessary to choose the right ones. The greatest difficulties were caused by questions in which there were several correct answers and all had to be indicated.

    Here are the tasks of the first round with the answers .

    Second round

    In the second round, we selected participants who showed the best 100 results in the qualification selection. On this tour, most of the questions were open, that is, you had to write the answer yourself in the text box.

    And in the first and second rounds, there was very little time for reflection - here you either know or do not know. But, understanding that everyone perfectly knows how to use the search on the Internet, we decided to further complicate the lives of the participants. We replaced all the Latin characters in the commands and their conclusions with the Cyrillic alphabet when their spelling matches. For example, these are the letters "a", "e", "o", "s". Thus, “punching” quickly the text from the screen in Google has become somewhat difficult. I think this gave a little advantage to those who know the system well.

    The link contains the tasks of the second round with answers .

    Third round

    In the final round, we invited 30 people who scored the highest points in the second round. Of these, 18 were not from Moscow. I had to correct the list of participants in the finals several times, because some could not come, others indicated incorrect data during registration, and others simply did not provide them ... As a result, we lost a lot of time on organizational issues. We apologize to those participants who had to book tickets to Moscow at the last moment and plan a trip.

    In the final, the guys had a practical task, similar to those tasks with which the specialists of the integrator company had to have a real life business. These were not scattered problems affecting different areas of Linux, but one multi-stage task to build a working complex.

    Final Tour Hall

    Finalists needed to set up a highly reliable cluster of two virtual machines in 5 hours, link their storage with synchronous replication at the block level, and then organize a file service that authenticates users through the Active Directory domain. Of course, we are talking about Samba + CTDB, and DRBD was supposed to be used as a means of replication. On top of the replicated block devices, it was necessary to configure a clustered file system, and here the participants had carte blanche (for example, you could put either gfs2 or ocfs2), because We checked this task functionally: through one node we created temporary files, and then from the second node we checked that they were accessible from it.

    In addition, it was necessary to ensure the automatic creation of user home directories at the first connection - with the necessary rights. And domain administrators had to be given the opportunity to log in to the cluster nodes via ssh with their credentials. It also required the creation of home directories, if they did not already exist. To complete this part, the participants had to correctly include the clustered Samba in the domain, configure the NS service and PAM modules.

    And for a snack it was proposed to get this whole complex working with SELinux, which is turned on in Enforcing mode.

    Here are the finale assignments .

    Finals results

    I must say that no one completed all the tasks in 5 hours. But many have dealt with DRBD and the clustered file system. According to participants, the greatest difficulties arose when the cluster was included in the MS infrastructure. The main problem, of course, was the time limit. On the Internet there are a lot of documents on this topic, but it was not easy to find an exhaustive one. Accordingly, participants had to choose between fruitless searches and attempts to experiment themselves. As a result, the task was solved by someone through shamanistic dances, and by someone - as a whole, as intended.

    The result was a wonderful practical problem, and according to our statistics, most of the people who come to us for interviews in their admin practice had to solve this problem sooner or later.

    Some statistics

    Almost all finalists in one way or another came across work administration. Yes, and it was difficult to reach the final without good practice. And it could be received only by those who constantly administer Linux-systems either during training at the university, or after work after.

    Here is the distribution of all participants in the first round of qualification:
    • 59% have experience working as an IT specialist.
    • 25% do not have experience, but they learn a lot of things themselves.
    • 7% understand the level of the university program
    • 9% of newcomers, and they participated to understand where to develop.

    By gender, of course, the guys had a huge margin, but two girls went to the finals - and one of them, Anna Martynova, entered the top three for the first time in our history of administration contests (and took second place).

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