Academic year 2013-14

Operating Systems Administration

Degree: Code: Type:
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science 21435 Optional subject
Bachelor's Degree in Telematics Engineering 21774 Optional subject
Bachelor's Degree in Audiovisual Systems Engineering 22677 Optional subject


ECTS credits: 4 Workload: 100 hours Trimester: 3rd


Department: Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies
Coordinator: Jorge Lobo
Teaching staff:

Jorge Lobo,  Windhya Rankothge



Building: Communication campus - Poblenou



The subject Operating Systems Administration is an elective and is part of the Computer Engineering and Telematics Engineering programs. It can be taken in the third or fourth year. The course has a dual goal. First, it seeks to familiarize students with different organizations of large computing systems. Examples of such systems are farms of web-servers, grids and cloud servers. In parallel it will look at the different management and administrative needs required by such systems with respect to concepts such as performance, fault tolerance, growth and security.

The theory and seminar sessions of this course will be organized both as seminar presentations to discuss seminal publications as well as more recent publications on distributed system organizations with emphasis on methods and tools for their administration. Each topic discussed in class will have assigned one or two champions. These champions will be the students in charge of making the presentation and leading the discussion during class. A list of subjects to be discussed will be distributed during the first day of class. Because of time constraints we might not be able to cover all possible topics, but is expected that starting from tools and techniques used to administer computer systems organized using a LAN or WAN network architecture like in medium size datacenters, progress to discuss work related to more complex systems such as Grids, virtual machines and cloud systems and its implications in the management of systems and methodologies for administration such as Autonomic Computing, Content Delivery Networks and Software Defined Networks.

Along with the seminars there will also be laboratory sessions where students will undertake projects of installation and management of particular instances of some of the types of systems studied in class.



The material covered in the courses: (1) Network and Services, and (2) Operating Systems


Associated competences

Transferable skillsSpecific competences


INS1: Ability to analyze and summarize

INS3: Ability to apply the knowledge into the analysis of situations and the problem resolution .

INS6: Ability to communicate orally and written in Catalan and Spanish (and English), in front of both expertise and non - expertise audiences .



SIS1: Ability to apply with flexibility and creativity the knowledge acquired and adapt them to new context and situations .

SIS2. Ability to progress in the knowledge and learning processes in a autonomous and continuous way.

Specific in the field of Informatics

1. Ability to learn in an autonomous way new computer services architectures.

2. Ability to understand the tasks needed to manage and admister these new service architectures.

3. Ability to design methods and techniques appropriate to manage and administer computing services and systems.





The evaluation in this class has three components:

1) the work as a champion that will cover 15% of the grade. It is likely that this part of the work will require the student to cover reference material outside the material in the paper(s) presented. If there are two champions assigned to the same topic they will get the same grade.

2) An on-going evolution of the papers presented in the seminars. All the students are required to read the papers before the presentation. There will be a written assignment related to each topic presented in class due around the date of the presentation. The evolution of these assignments will cover 55% of the final grade.

3) The other 30% will come from the lab work.

Neither the evaluation of champion's work nor the evolution of the lab work can be deferred to July. Only three written assignments can be deferred. You need to get at least half of the grade in each part to pass this course. There is no final exam. Because the course is organized around the presentations participation is important. There will be penalties to the final grade for missing classes and a student will fail the class if he or she does not attend at least 60% of the sessions.




Block 1: Traditional Systems Adminstration

Block 2: Load balancing in Web Services

Block 3: Content Delivery Networks

Block 4: Autonomic Computing

Block 5: Grid Computing

Block 6: Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Block 7: Large scale datacenters

Block 8: Sofware Defined Networks

Block 9: Content Centered Networking


There will be around 3 hours dedicated to each block with an extra hour for organizational matters that will cover 18 hours of theory and 10 hours of seminars (recall that theory and seminar hours will be considered the same).  There will be 8 hours of lab work for a total of 36 hours in the classroom.  It is expected that the students will need around 44 hours outside the classroom to prepare for the semianars and 20 hours for lab work.



This is a participatory course:
– The material covered in the class will be drawn from research papers and chapter books
– The instructor will provide a short introduction to the topic but will mostly be a moderator
– A team consisting of two or three students will do a presentation in each class based on a couple papers in a related topic
– Presentations can be in English, Catalan or Spanish but all the material used in the presentation must be in English
– All students will read the assigned papers before class
– In addition to paper presentations there are going to be four lab sessions

The homework for each class will be to bring one page with:
– A 500 to 600 word commentary about the papers. This could be in the form of a criticism, or highlighting good points of the work, or both
– Two or three questions that you might like to ask the presenters or the instructor
– This is an individual homework



The exact list of papers to cover in class will be decided during the first to lecutures. A subset of that list is the following:

Foster, Ian, Carl Kesselman, and Steven Tuecke. "The anatomy of the grid: Enabling scalable virtual organizations." International journal of high performance computing applications 15.3 (2001): 200-222.

Saroiu, Stefan, et al. "An analysis of internet content delivery systems." ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review (2002): 315.

Cardellini, Valeria, et al. "The state of the art in locally distributed Web-server systems." ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR) 34.2 (2002): 263-311.

Kephart, Jeffrey O., and David M. Chess. "The vision of autonomic computing."Computer 36.1 (2003): 41-50.

Barham, Paul, et al. "Xen and the art of virtualization." ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review. Vol. 37. No. 5. ACM, 2003.

Fox, Armando, and R. Griffith. "Above the clouds: A Berkeley view of cloud computing." Dept. Electrical Eng. and Comput. Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, Tech. Rep. UCB/EECS 28 (2009).

Lantz, Bob, Brandon Heller, and Nick McKeown. "A network in a laptop: rapid prototyping for software-defined networks." Proceedings of the Ninth ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks. ACM, 2010.