How to check the entries in fstab without system reboot

/etc/fstab contains information about the disks. It has the details about where the partitions and storage devices should be mounted. We usually configure automount, disk quota, mount points etc in this fstab.

Inorder to test the entries or modifications in fstab without restart the following commands will be helpful

mount -a

The above command will mount all the filesystems mentioned in the fstab. This is just like a refresh command to activate the entries in fstab.

mount -fav

The above command will help if you don’t want to apply the modifications in the fstab and want to validate the entries only.  This will just fake the entries in the fstab without applying the changes. This is a very useful command.



Recovering a corrupted EC2 instance

Amazon Web Services is one of the most popular cloud service providers. I am a customer of Amazon. I like the services provided by Amazon very much. Compared to other cloud service providers AWS is simple, secure and advanced. I use EC2 machines for my project related activities as well as my personal experiments. Since I mostly work on open source software, 99.99 % of my EC2 instances are Linux instances. The only way to access these instances is through ssh. I use putty as the ssh client. If something happens to the ssh server, we will not be able to access the server. Sometimes the ssh server crashes due to overload. This can be resolved by rebooting the instance.

Sometimes because of wrong configs in the sshd config file, the ssh server may stop. The ssh server will not start until we make that file proper and restart the service. But for making these changes we have to access the machine.

By default we don’t have direct root login into the machine. We usually login to one user which is a sudo user and using sudo privileges, we access the root. If something happens to the sudoers file or if some wrong entry made in sudoers file, the root access will be revoked.

These are some of the commonly occurred situations where users loose access or super user privilege in the ec2 machine. Most of the users terminate and leave the instance in this situation.

If the instance is an EBS backed instance, we don’t have to terminate and leave the machines in this kind of situations. We can recover these instances. It is simple and can be done in few steps. If the instance is with ephemeral storage, we cannot do anything, because shutting down will clear all the data in the instance.

  1. Start a new instance in the same availability zone as that of the EBS of the broken machine. Micro or nano instance type is fine. If you already have an instance, no need of this instance.
  2. Stop the broken machine. Note down the mount locations
  3. Detach the EBS from the instance.
  4. Attach the EBS to the second EC2 instance (The newly launched one)
  5. Mount the EBS to some directory in the second EC2 instance.
  6. Navigate through the files and directories and make the required changes.
  7. Unmount the EBS
  8. Detach the EBS from the second instance
  9. Attach the EBS to the first instance
  10. Use the same mount location as that of the orginal
  11. Start the instance.

This should fix the problem.

Hue Error – DatabaseError: database is locked

You may face this error in Hue while using Impala or Hive. This is because of the lock happening in the backend database used in Hue. Hue uses a backend database to store all the metadata and history. By default it uses sqlite, which is not suitable for multiuser environments. The usage of the sqlite causes this issue.

We can resolve this by using mysql, postgresql or oracle database as the metastore for hue.

The detailed steps are explained in this document