SystemTap: Provisioning an AWS EC2-Based Docker Instance

In the first article in our SystemTap series, we learned how to install the powerful diagnostic tool, SystemTap, on an AWS EC2 instance and then wrote our very first “Hello World” script. We now need to explore some of the interesting (and more useful) scripts that come with SystemTap.

Building a SystemTap target environment

To make this article easier to read, we will split it into two parts. In this post, we will provide a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 platform container image with Docker on an AWS EC2 instance. After the SystemTap target environment is properly built, the final part will show how to run some serious scripts on a Docker container from its EC2 host to illustrate just how useful SystemTap can be.

Installing Docker on your AWS EC2 instance

To install Docker on an AWS EC2 instance, we’ll enable the “Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Extra(RPMs)” yum repository that, by default, is disabled.

$ sudo yum repolist disabled
Loaded plugins: amazon-id, rhui-lb
repo id                                                          repo name
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-debug-extras/7Server/x86_64              Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Extra Debug (Debug RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-debug-optional/7Server/x86_64            Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Optional Debug (Debug RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-debug-rh-common/7Server/x86_64           Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 RH Common Debug (Debug RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-debug-rhscl/7Server/x86_64               Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 RHSCL Debug (Debug RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-debug-supplementary/7Server/x86_64       Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Supplementary Debug (Debug RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-extras/7Server/x86_64                    Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Extra(RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-optional/7Server/x86_64                  Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Optional (RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-releases-source/7Server/x86_64           Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-rhscl/7Server/x86_64                     Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 RHSCL (RPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-source-extras/7Server/x86_64             Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Extra (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-source-optional/7Server/x86_64           Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Optional (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-source-rh-common/7Server/x86_64          Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 RH Common (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-source-rhscl/7Server/x86_64              Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 RHSCL (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-source-supplementary/7Server/x86_64      Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Supplementary (SRPMs)
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-supplementary/7Server/x86_64             Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Supplementary (RPMs)
repolist: 0

We’ll use the yum-config-manager to enable the repo:

$ sudo yum-config-manager --enable "Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7 Extra(RPMs)"

Next, you should search for the Docker package and install it. Yum will take care of its dependencies.

$ sudo yum search docker
Loaded plugins: amazon-id, rhui-lb
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-extras                                                                                    | 2.9 kB  00:00:00
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-releases                                                                                  | 3.7 kB  00:00:00
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-releases-debug                                                                            | 2.9 kB  00:00:00
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-rh-common                                                                                 | 3.8 kB  00:00:00
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-extras/7Server/x86_64/primary_db                                                          |  56 kB  00:00:00
rhui-REGION-rhel-server-extras/7Server/x86_64/updateinfo                                                          |  27 kB  00:00:00
========================================================== N/S matched: docker ==========================================================
docker-logrotate.x86_64 : cron job to run logrotate on docker containers
docker-python.x86_64 : An API client for docker written in Python
docker-registry.noarch : Registry server for Docker
docker-registry.x86_64 : Registry server for Docker
docker-selinux.x86_64 : SELinux policies for Docker
docker.x86_64 : Automates deployment of containerized applications
  Name and summary matches only, use "search all" for everything.
$ sudo yum -y install docker

Once the Docker-related packages are installed, you should enable and start the docker service.

$ sudo systemctl enable docker
ln -s '/usr/lib/systemd/system/docker.service' '/etc/systemd/system/'
$ sudo systemctl start docker
$ sudo systemctl status docker
docker.service - Docker Application Container Engine
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/docker.service; enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2015-09-16 02:02:26 EDT; 20ms ago
 Main PID: 10738 (docker)
   CGroup: /system.slice/docker.service
           └─10738 /usr/bin/docker -d --selinux-enabled --add-registry
Sep 16 02:02:00 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal systemd[1]: Starting Docker Application Container Engine...
Sep 16 02:02:00 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:00.179717121-04:00" level=inf...k)"
Sep 16 02:02:00 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:00.447391712-04:00""
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.342873074-04:00" level=war....10
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.360314551-04:00""
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.798683604-04:00" level=inf...t."
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.798853557-04:00" level=inf...e."
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.798869375-04:00" level=inf...on"
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal docker[10738]: time="2015-09-16T02:02:26.798882151-04:00" level=inf...7.1
Sep 16 02:02:26 ip-172-30-0-123.ap-southeast-1.compute.internal systemd[1]: Started Docker Application Container Engine.
Hint: Some lines were ellipsized, use -l to show in full.

In order to use Docker with the ec2-user normal user, we need to create a docker group and add ourselves in it.

$ sudo groupadd docker
$ sudo usermod -aG docker ec2-user
$ grep ^docker /etc/group

Provisioning Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 container with Docker

To provision our container with Docker, pull down the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 platform container image from Red Hat.

$ docker pull rhel7
Trying to pull repository ...
82ad5fa11820: Download complete
Status: Downloaded newer image for

Run docker images to list the container we have downloaded.

$ docker images
REPOSITORY                           TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE     latest              82ad5fa11820        6 days ago          158.3 MB

Let’s do a quick test to see if everything is working.

$ docker run -ti rhel7 /bin/bash
Usage of loopback devices is strongly discouraged for production use. Either use `--storage-opt dm.thinpooldev` or use `--storage-opt dm.no_warn_on_loop_devices=true` to suppress this warning.
[root@35f99cabc19a /]# cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 7.1 (Maipo)
[root@c8a8740808c0 bin]# df -h
Filesystem                                                                                          Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/docker-202:2-51421425-c8a8740808c0d41b7294f6f2906543740b7a9b54791b6f5bed6a150616b18dd5  9.8G  213M  9.0G   3% /
tmpfs                                                                                               497M     0  497M   0% /dev
shm                                                                                                  64M     0   64M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs                                                                                               497M   20K  497M   1% /run/secrets
/dev/xvda2                                                                                           10G  3.6G  6.5G  36% /etc/hosts
[root@c8a8740808c0 bin]#

So far so good! We are now ready to run some real troubleshooting scripts against our VMs…which we’ll describe in the final installment of this series.

If you want to learn more on Docker, this is your go-to course Introduction to Docker.

Introduction to Docker


Written by

Eugene Teo

Eugene Teo is a director of security at a US-based technology company. He is interested in applying machine learning techniques to solve problems in the security domain.

Related Posts

Patrick Navarro
Patrick Navarro
— January 22, 2020

Top 5 AWS Salary Report Findings

At the speed the cloud tech space is developing, it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s happening within the AWS ecosystem. Advances in technology prompt smarter functionality and innovative new products, which in turn give rise to new job roles that have a ripple effect on t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • salary
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— January 6, 2020

New on Cloud Academy: Red Hat, Agile, OWASP Labs, Amazon SageMaker Lab, Linux Command Line Lab, SQL, Git Labs, Scrum Master, Azure Architects Lab, and Much More

Happy New Year! We hope you're ready to kick your training in overdrive in 2020 because we have a ton of new content for you. Not only do we have a bunch of new courses, hands-on labs, and lab challenges on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, but we also have three new courses on Red Hat, th...

Read more
  • agile
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Linux
  • programming
  • red hat
  • scrum
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 24, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: Azure Best Practices, 6 Reasons You Should Get AWS Certified, Google Cloud Certification Prep, and more

Happy Holidays from Cloud Academy We hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and plenty of food. Here at Cloud Academy, we are thankful for our amazing customer like you.  Since this time of year can be stressful, we’re sharing a few of our latest article...

Read more
  • AWS
  • azure best practices
  • blog digest
  • Cloud Academy
  • Google Cloud
Guy Hummel
— December 12, 2019

Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecuti...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 10, 2019

New Lab Challenges: Push Your Skills to the Next Level

Build hands-on experience using real accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how pe...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • hands-on
  • labs
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 5, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: AWS Solution Architect Lab Challenge, Azure Hands-on Labs, Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security, and Much More

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the craziness of Black Friday has died down, it's now time for the busiest season of the year. Whether you're a last-minute shopper or you already have your shopping done, the holidays bring so much more excitement than any other time of year. Since our...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS solution architect
  • AZ-203
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • FCCS
  • Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
Cloud Academy Team
— December 4, 2019

Understanding Enterprise Cloud Migration

What is enterprise cloud migration? Cloud migration is about moving your data, applications, and even infrastructure from your on-premises computers or infrastructure to a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale. Why d...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Data Migration
Wendy Dessler
Wendy Dessler
— November 27, 2019

6 Reasons Why You Should Get an AWS Certification This Year

In the past decade, the rise of cloud computing has been undeniable. Businesses of all sizes are moving their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. This is partly because the cloud allows businesses and their employees to access important information from just about anywhere. ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
  • certified
Andrea Colangelo
— November 26, 2019

AWS Regions and Availability Zones: The Simplest Explanation You Will Ever Find Around

The basics of AWS Regions and Availability Zones We’re going to treat this article as a sort of AWS 101 — it’ll be a quick primer on AWS Regions and Availability Zones that will be useful for understanding the basics of how AWS infrastructure is organized. We’ll define each section,...

Read more
  • AWS
Dzenan Dzevlan
— November 20, 2019

Application Load Balancer vs. Classic Load Balancer

What is an Elastic Load Balancer? This post covers basics of what an Elastic Load Balancer is, and two of its examples: Application Load Balancers and Classic Load Balancers. For additional information — including a comparison that explains Network Load Balancers — check out our post o...

Read more
  • ALB
  • Application Load Balancer
  • AWS
  • Elastic Load Balancer
  • ELB
Albert Qian
Albert Qian
— November 13, 2019

Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

What are microservices? Let's start our discussion by setting a foundation of what microservices are. Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Microservices
Nisar Ahmad
Nisar Ahmad
— November 12, 2019

Kubernetes Services: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration platform that allows us to deploy and manage multi-container applications at scale. Businesses are rapidly adopting this revolutionary technology to modernize their applications. Cloud service providers — such as Amazon Web Ser...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Kubernetes