Skip to content

Using Amazon Web Services to Teach System Administration

    • Brad Fowler, Georgia College
    • Bryan Marshall, Georgia College


    Universities have always struggled to provide students with a hands-on environment to learn proper and up-to-date information technologies. Universities have had to balance a safe work environment for the students with the security and resource needs of the university. The key is to give the students enough leeway to work in an environment that is safe for the university yet still open enough for the students to really experiment with how systems work. In the past, students would build and maintain servers locally. Recently, with the popularization of virtualization, students have been learning to build and manage virtual machines (Marshall, 2011). This virtualized environment allowed for students to have more freedom to experiment, however, providing these environments still requires significant financial investments by the university (Vollrath, 2004). Lately, with the maturity of the cloud, familiarizing students with cloud-based servers has become an important exercise in preparation for careers in information systems (Callender et al, 2015). Thus, the purposes of this presentation are (1) demonstrate how students can use cloud services from Amazon (AWS) to build, maintain and deploy servers in the cloud, and (2) show how the AWS environment is a “safe” environment for students to learn without putting pressure on university security policies and resources. The presentation will include a discussion of how students currently use AWS to meet the objectives of the system administration course and get AWS certifications with little to no resources from the university.

    Keywords: AWS, Amazon Web Services, IT, Information Technology, System Administration

    APA Citation: Fowler, B. & Marshall, B. (2018, October 2). Using Amazon Web Services to Teach System Administration. Paper presented at the 58th Annual International Association of Computer Information Systems.