Please find the anwers inline:
1. What is not clear to me is what is the purpose of the below folders in alfresco-content-services-distribution-5.2.3 folder. Do I need to copy the files in the below folder to any place within tomcat?
alf_data - contains the actual contentstore, deleted contentstore in terms of bin files, the keystore , db configurations, and most importantly solr4 - index content and the model
bin is mostly having the batch files or executable jar to run commands to apply install, or uninstall the amps
amps is for placing the repo amps
and amp_share for the share amps
solr4 is for the models,configurations etc.
You Need to copy the files in the below folder and not in tomcat folder.
In your alfresco-global.properties , you have all the configurations which point to a path of the above.
Tomcat has the webapps, conf and libraries from alfresco that I have copied and pasted into respective folder. Do I need to modify an files in the above folder for the initial bare bones setup of alfresco? - You dont need to as they have default share and alfresco and solr wars used for alfresco application.
2. I tried following the above two links to startup my alfresco instance on tomcat but I get the error that keystore is missing. Please can you advise what could be the issue? Do I need to place the keystore in the alf_data folder anywhere?
Check the keystore files are available at path
Alfresco Content Services Certified Engineer (ACSCE)