Schedule a Rich UC Lab

Rich UC labs are scheduled through the public Sandbox portal. Users of the portal can login and select from a range of topologies, choosing one to suit their requirements and development cycle time frame.

Once a topology is selected and the scheduled reservation period commences, clean instances of the specific Unified Communications (UC) servers are cloned and placed in a private Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN). It normally takes about an hour to provision a private Rich UC lab and once it is ready, the user is notified by email and provided with login credentials.

The dedicated Rich UC Lab is available for a single user's use for the duration of the reservation period and is accessed by logging-in through the Sandbox portal. At the end of the reservation period, the user can arrange for the servers to be backed up for future use.

Schedule a Rich UC Lab now!

If you already know what lab topology you need, click here to schedule time in a Rich UC lab now

The required steps and functions are described below:

  1. Accessing the Portal and Getting Credentials
  2. Viewing and Selecting a Topology
  3. Scheduling a Lab Topology
  4. VPN Automation and Emails
  5. Accessing the Servers in the Private Environment
  6. Cancelling a Session
  7. Editing a Session
  8. Snapshot a Session

Accessing the Portal and Getting Credentials

  • Fill in the information and click "Submit".
  • You will receive an email confirming that your account information has been submitted. It will take up to 24 hours for your information to be checked and verified.
  • When your account is ready, you will receive another email with login Credentials. You are now ready to login and reserve a lab.

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Viewing and Selecting a Topology

  • Once logged in, click on the topologies tab on the left hand side to view a list of labs with various topologies

    Topology Tabs

  • Click on the "Action" dropdown menu for a chosen lab, and select "View" or "Reserve"
    • "View" shows a network diagram and more detailed information about what the topology comprises
    • "Reserve" shows the scheduling page and this is explained in more detail below

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Scheduling a Lab Topology

  • Select "Reserve" on the chosen lab "Action" drop down menu to open the lab scheduling page

    Lab Scheduling Page 1

  • Select time, date and duration for the reservation for the desired development cycle. The duration is limited to 14 calendar days but can sometimes be extended on request.
  • Leave "Misc." check box un-ticked
  • Select "Schedule"

    Lab Scheduling Page 2

  • The results of the scheduler are then presented. Depending on demand, there is sometimes a delay before a lab becomes available.
  • Give the session a unique name and select "Reserve" to confirm

    Lab Scheduling Page 3

  • The session will initially show the "Confirmed" state. When it is due to start, this will change to "Setting up" which means the servers are being cloned and added into the lab environment in a private VLAN

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VPN Automation and Emails

As part of the topology reservation process, the Sandbox portal also automates the VPN access to the Rich UC lab. This information is provided in an automated email sent out to the user when the session begins. This email provides information on:

  • Downloading the Cisco Anyconnect VPN client
  • VPN credentials
  • Further information about the lab in an attachment to the email

To see an example of the automated email, click here

Dear User,

Your Unified Communications Sandbox is now ready. Please follow the instructions below to access your environment:

  • Browse to https://x.x.x.x/XXXXX
  • Accept the download and installation of Anyconnect, Cisco's VPN Software.
  • Use 'xxxxx/xxxxxxxx'. when prompted for a VPN username and password. The VPN will establish automatically and you will still have access to your local LAN resources while connected to the VPN.
  • Go to http://sandboxlabs.cisco.com and login using your credentials (as above).
  • Go to your running session and select "Join" from the dropdown menu.
  • From the resources tab, select the server to be accessed, then from "Applications", select Launch Web GUI. This can be performed for each of the servers. Note that the VPN needs to be established before these servers can be accessed.

While a session is in the "Confirmed" or "Running" state you will be able to apply to extend your session, or can cancel it to end it by selecting "Stop" in the session "Action" menu. Cancelling a session will delete the servers. There is a "Snapshot" option to save your server settings and lab configuration. The snapshot only applies to the Cisco components of the lab and not any Application servers that may be connected via a hardware VPN router.

Follow the guidance set out on the Schedule a Lab page at http://solutionpartner.cisco.com/web/collaboration-developer/sandbox/schedule-a-lab.

Notes:

  • No UC configuration support is available during the lab reservation period
  • VPN connection support can be requested by emailing sandbox-vpn-support@cisco.com
  • If Hardware VPN is required this should have been indicated during the lab sign up process. If you need a Router for your Hardware VPN access, Cisco Partners can acquire one through the Not For Resale (NFR) scheme.
  • Alternatively, apply to borrow a Cisco Router for a period up to 14 days. On dispatching a Router on loan, we'll "pre-authorize" a $999 charge against your credit card for security, We'll only charge for devices that are lost, stolen or broken. You are responsible for returning the device at the end of the loaner period and will need to arrange, and pay for, the return carriage. International return carriage costs can be quite high. Additionally, Cisco ships loaners to international destinations as "Delivery Duty Unpaid" so any taxes and import duties are the responsibility of the recipient, although there should be no taxes or import duties for returned devices.

Finally, please review the attached document that contains a detailed description and information about your lab.

Regards,

The Sandbox Team

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Accessing the Servers in the Private Environment

  • Once the session is in the "Running" state, you can access the servers in your lab. From the session dropdown menu select "Join".

    Accessing Servers 1

  • Go to the "Resources" tab where a list of the servers is displayed
  • Click on the server to be accessed

    Accessing Servers 2

  • Click on the ""Applications" sub tab

    Accessing Servers 3

  • A list of the available connection options is displayed. In the example above, the server is a Cisco Unified Communications Manager, so the "Launch Web GUI" action would be used.

Note: Servers can only be accessed once VPN connectivity is established.

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Cancelling a Session

  • A session in the "Confirmed" or "Running" state can be cancelled by selecting "Stop" from the session "Action" dropdown menu.

    Cancelling a session 1

  • A further screen is displayed to verify the cancellation.

Note: Stopping the session will delete all the servers. If anything should be saved, a "snapshot" of the session should be captured.  See Snapshot a session.



Cancelling a session 2

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Editing a Session

  • A "Running" session can be edited to change the timeframe, duration, name and other variables by selecting the "Edit" option on the session  "Action" dropdown menu.
  • The parameters shown below can be changed.  Note: it will only be possible to extend a session if the lab has not already been allocated to serve another party's development testing needs.

    Edit Session 1

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Snapshot a Session

  • The portal allows users to create a snapshot of their servers and save any configuration. The snapshot only applies to the Cisco components of the lab and not any Application servers that may be connected via a hardware VPN router. To invoke these save functions, select the snapshot option from the session "Action" dropdown menu

    Snapshot Session 1

  • The user can name the snapshot. All other options can be left at the default setting.
  • The snapshot typically takes about 15 minutes to complete, depending on the size of the servers. During this time, the servers will not be available.
  • Servers are switched off at the end of a session. When a user logs back in, an option to reload the saved servers, with the entire original configuration, is offered.

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