CS615A -- Aspects of System Administration

HW#1: Setup your environment for EC2 and create an instance

Please carefully read this document in its entirety.


The objective of this assignment is for you to set up your working environment to make it easy for you to interact with the Amazon Compute Cloud. In addition to setting up your first instance, you will also familiarize yourself with some of the commands relating to filesystems, disks and storage as we will discuss in lecture #2.

This assignment is worth 20 points.

Review provided documentation

Make sure to carefully read through the following documentation:

Note: some of the documentation you may find on the internet may not be up to date, may use older tools, or be flat out wrong. Do not blindly follow the instructions, do not merely copy commands -- you need to show that you understood them.

Set up your environment

You need to set up your environment for interaction with the Amazon Cloud. You need to create a document outlining what steps you took to customize or update your setup, such as changes to your shell's startup files, environment variables etc. On linux-lab.cs.stevens.edu the Amazon EC2 and related cloud tools should already be installed; use the aws command found in /usr/local/bin -- see aws help.

(If the tools are not found in that location, please follow the user guide linked above to install them under your ~/.local/bin directory via pip.)

Please note that we will only focus on using the command-line tools for EC2. That is, nowhere in the process of setting things up should you have a need to refer to menu items, or which button to click. This class is command-line all the way.

Create an EC2 instance

Create an EC2 instance of NetBSD 7.x and start it. Once it is running, log in on the virtual host and run the required commands to:

  • display the partition table
  • display the currently mounted filesystems
  • display available disk space

Next, fill up all available disk space. How does your system handle this? Can you still log in? If not, why not?

Now clean up some disk space and then use up all available inodes. How does your system behave now - does this differ from the previous case? Can you still log in? If not, why not?

After you are done, remember to shut down your instance.


Please submit a plain text file containing any findings or notes about any issues you had to overcome. Then, please append the output of the following commands:

  • uname -a
  • whoami
  • date
  • w
  • ifconfig -a
  • netstat -na
  • the commands you determine to be used to display the partition table, currently mounted filesystems, disk space
  • a description of how you filled up the disk space and what the observed results were
  • a description of how you used up all inodes and what the observed results were

Please review the Homework Submission Guidelines and ensure that your submission meets these requirements.

Note: It is perfectly acceptable to publicly ask (and answer!) questions, for example in the AWS Forum or our course mailing list.

The due date for this assignment is 2019-02-04 16:00. Please attach a copy of the file named after your Stevens username to an email sent from your @stevens.edu email address to jschauma@stevens.edu with a subject of "[CS615] HW1".

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