What is Hermes?

Hermes is the name given to a cluster of Linux servers that provide java application servers and web servers for instructional use within the Volgenau School. We provide: Apache 2.0, Tomcat 5.5, JBOSS and J2EE/Glassfish. We do not have any support for Microsoft asp or IIS services within this cluster. Each class has it's own application server. The classname is included in the servers's hostname, for example is for the SWE645 class.

How do I get an account on Hermes?

Hermes cluster access is automatically enabled based on class enrolment, usually, by the second week of the semester. You are eligible for an account on the Hermes cluster only if you are enrolled in a course that requires you to do your course work on 'Hermes'.

What credentials do I use to login to Hermes?

The Hermes cluster systems now use your GMU email credentials.

How do I connect to Hermes from home?

Access to the Hermes cluster is restricted by the VS firewall. In order to connect to any system or service from off campus you must configure and use our OpenVPN client. Instructions can be found here.

You can login to the Hermes systems using a Secure Shell (ssh) client and the account credentials and server hostnames provided in the email you will receive when your account is activated. The ssh service uses the default port (22). If you do not already have Secure Shell installed, a copy can be obtained from the downloads page on the ITU Support website.

Content served by the application services and webserver is accessed using a web browser.

How do I upload my files?

The Hermes cluster systems mount your VS home directory. Files can be uploaded using a Secure Copy (scp) client or Secure File Transfer Protocol (stfp) client. The Windows SSH client provided by ITU includes a SFTP mode. UNIX/Linux and Macintosh users can use the command line scp or sftp commands. More detailed information on how to transfer files to your VS home directory can be found here: telecompute and transfer files.

Where do I put my HTML/PHP files?

There is one shared web server called On the hermes-web server you will own a directory called /data/hermes_web/user where user is your account username. Place web content in this directory and they will be visible at the following url:

Where do I put my java application files?

Each application server has a directory called /data. Under this directory there will be one or more subdirectories named tomcat, j2ee or jboss these are globally writeable directories with the "sticky bit" set and the application servers are configured to auto deploy applications placed in them. You will be able to copy your application files into these directories.

Some servers run more than one application service and therefore have more than one subdirectory. Your instructor will indicate which application service you are to use. Generally the application services run on port 8080. If there are more than one application service running, then the exact ports will be noted in the MOTD (message of the day) which is displayed when you login.

Some servers may have separate subdirectories set up for different sections, e.g: on apps-swe642 there are /apps/tomcat/swe64201 and /apps/tomcat /swe64202 directories.

The exact URL for your application will depend on how you configure it, however, the sample.war sample application for Apache Tomcat dropped in the /apps/tomcat directory on the apps-swe642 server would, for example, be referenced at the url:

How do I get access to the Oracle Database?

You can activate your Oracle Database account on a self service basis by following the instructions on this web page:

How to I view my application URLs from home?

Our servers are behind the VS firewall. In order to view any of the server URLs from off campus you must have our VPN client configured and active.

What do I do when I need help?

VS Labs Support will not help with coding questions or with basic unix system commands. Contact your TA or instructor for assistance with any problem not related to system access.

VS Labs Support can help if you have trouble logging in to the cluster systems. Before seeking assistance be advised that the passwords sent to you are all case sensitive and all non-alphanumeric characters, including punctuation marks are significant. If you have trouble connecting to the cluster from off campus, please review the instructions for setting up our OpenVPN client before contacting VS Labs Support. To contact VS Labs Support send email from your GMU email account to

How do I get help with basic UNIX commands?

George Mason University offers a free on-line tutorial designed to provide an introduction to basics unix/linux commands. It can be accessed though SkillPort at: