System and Network Administration
CSE 265
Spring 2016 Syllabus

Course Web page
The course Web page is Lecture notes, assignments, and announcements will be available there.
System and Network Administration will be taught by Prof. Brian D. Davison. My homepage is My office is in Packard 514C, and my office hours and contact information are posted on my homepage. All other meetings should be by appointment.
Lab will be held Wednesdays, from 1:10-3pm and 3:10-5pm in Packard 112, and class on Mon/Fri 1:10-2:00pm in Mohler 355.
Two required texts: UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4th Ed., by Nemeth, Snyder, Hein and Whaley (Prentice Hall, 2010) and The Practice of Cloud System Administration, by Limoncelli, Chalup and Hogan (Addison-Wesley, 2015). One recommended text: The Practice of System and Network Administration, 2nd Ed., by Limoncelli, Hogan and Chalup (Addison Wesley, 2007). All are or will be available from the university and online bookstores.

In addition, you may find additional references (especially on using UNIX/Linux, scripting, etc.) to be helpful; online versions of books on Apache, Perl, DNS and BIND, Linux, MySQL, NFS and NIS, SSH, TCP/IP Network Administration, Samba, UNIX, and more are available through the Lehigh library's electronic books (via Safari and the eBrary Academic Collection). For using UNIX, I particularly like Harley Hahn's Guide to Unix and Linux.

CSE 17 (or equivalent) is the only course prerequisite. However, familiarity with UNIX or Linux (as a command-line user) will also be assumed. Those who have taken courses such as networking (CSE 342), operating systems (CSE 303), and programming in C and UNIX (CSE 271) may have some small advantage.
Expected grading: homeworks, quizzes, labs, and class participation will be worth 25%; projects 20%; hourly exam 1 - 15%; hourly exam 2 - 15%; and final exam 25%. Exams will be open book and open notes, but offline.

Attendance is strongly encouraged and pop quizzes may occur at any time. You are responsible for everything that occurs in class as well as assigned readings. A grade may be changed up to two weeks after an assignment, program, or exam is returned. After the final exam, no grades may be contested.

A late project or homework will be docked 10% of its total value for each 24 hour period for which it is late. No work will be accepted more than three days late, nor for assignments for which a solution has been posted or presented in class.

Topics to be covered
What does a sysadmin do? Desktops, servers, services; booting; being root; processes; filesystems; user management; backups; disaster recovery; logging; networking; DNS; NFS; email; security; web hosting; software installation, maintenance, and upgrades; printing; performance analysis; helpdesk and customer care; policies; ethics.
The general concepts covered in this course apply to the administration of all kinds of systems. However, in order to ground the ideas presented, we will focus primarily on one -- Linux, a popular UNIX-like OS for which we can provide facilities and is easily available to anyone with a PC.
In addition to in-class lectures and textbook readings, this course will include assignments and exercises to be performed as the system administrator (e.g., with complete control) of a Linux installation. The Sandbox lab (PL112) provides a facility in which you can be root, make changes to the OS, and safely make mistakes. We will provide each student with a hard drive to enable the use of the PCs in the Sandbox lab. The lab is open six days a week (see the lab monitor schedule for exact times) so you can work here outside of class. However, you'll also have to avoid coming during times that the sandbox lab is used for classes.
Policy on Academic Integrity and Collaboration
All work, unless explicitly stated in the problem definition, is to be an individual effort. You are encouraged to discuss assignments with one another, your friends, and with the instructors and graders of the course. Indeed, this may be the most effective method of learning. You may share concepts, approaches and strategies for producing a solution. However all work submitted in your name must be your own. If necessary, violations will be considered as cases of academic dishonesty.

It is sometimes difficult to know where to draw the line between educationally useful sharing of ideas and the educationally destructive copying of ideas. Please refer to the "Collaboration Policy" statement for more examples of what is and what is not unfair collaboration.

Policy on Disabilities
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact both your instructor and the Office of Academic Support Services, Williams Hall, Suite 301 (610-758-4152) as early as possible in the semester. You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services office before accommodations can be granted.
Other Relevant University Policies
  • Religious Holidays
  • Lehigh Computer Usage
  • Academic Integrity

  • This page is
    Last revised: 26 January 2016, Prof. Davison.