CS615 -- System Administration

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

Please carefully read this document in its entirety. Following the instructions as noted is part of the assignment, as System Administrators need to be able to act on documentation provided to them.


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 via the command-line. 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 EC2 using the AWS Command-Line Interface. You will want to create a document for yourself outlining what steps you took to customize or update your setup, such as changes to your shell's startup files, environment variables etc.

Please note that -- initial AWS account creation aside -- we will only focus on using the command-line tools for EC2. You should rarely have a need to use the browser to access AWS at all! This class is command-line all the way.

You may want to carefully review our video lecture, AWS Alias setup, and this blog post while completing this assignment.

Create an EC2 instance

Start an EC2 instance of a NetBSD AMI. Make sure it comes up as a dual-stack system with both an IPv4 and an IPv6 address! Once it is running, log in on the virtual host using SSH from the command-line (note: not the AWS Cloud Shell!) 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

Then, append as well:

  • 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

When submitting commands and their output, copy the plain text from the terminal; do not take screenshots or attach any documents or binary files.

You may use the script(1) utility to create a transcript of your commands, but please make sure to clean that output from any control characters.

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 2023-01-30 16:00 Eastern. Please attach a single plain text file named after your Stevens username (e.g., jschauma.txt, if your Stevens username was 'jschauma') to an email sent from your @stevens.edu email address to jschauma@stevens.edu with a subject of "[CS615] HW1".

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