Frequently Asked Questions

General

Why offer a self-service labs platform when many VMs are free or have a trial period, not to mention there are tools such as Virtual Box and Vagrant that streamline some of this already?

Simplicity and ease of use.  Our goal is to make technology easier to consume.  We’ve found engineers spend a considerable amount of time on setup before they even get to what they really want test or demo!

Thus, we offer on-demand infrastructure that can be spun up in minutes leveraging the power of public cloud infrastructure offering infinite scale.  While we do love Virtual Box and Vagrant too, for multi-node and complex topologies, we believe you should be able to start your tests immediately focusing on what’s really important without the hassle of downloads, plug-ins, and compatibility/OS issues, etc.

What platforms are supported?

We currently offer topologies using the following virtual machines:  Cisco NX-OSv (7K), Cisco CSR 1000V, Cisco ASAv, Arista vEOS, Juniper vSRX, and Juniper vMX.  We’ve already tested F5, Palo Alto Networks, and Cumulus VX, so our goal is to get them added soon.  We are always adding more, but if you’re looking for a specific vendor/platform, please let us know at labs@networktocode.com and we’ll do our best to get it added.

What about non-network platforms?

If you have a request, please let us know at labs@networktocode.com, but our initial focus is on network infrastructure and network services.

How long does it take to start a topology?

Topologies take between 10-15 minutes to start.  When the topology is fully started, you’ll see a new link in your dashboard which will offer direct console and SSH access to each network device in your lab, in addition to the Ubuntu jump host.

Can I use the on demand labs for more than network automation?

Absolutely.  If the device supports a particular feature, use it.  We just hope you’re automating it :).

Can multiple topologies be started at the same time?

Absolutely.  If you choose not to use the jump host, you can do some pretty great multi-vendor automation testing this way.

Is it possible to get a custom topology?

Yes.  If you’re interested in a specific topology, let us know at labs@networktocode.com.

Can labs be stopped and re-started?

Yes.  They can be stopped and re-started up until there is 2 hours left.  Note every time you stop and re-start, time is taken from total time left.

Is it possible to have labs go beyond 500 hours?

Yes.  If you’re looking to have a specific time interval, let us know at labs@networktocode.com.


Pricing

Is there discount or bulk pricing?

If you need to purchase in bulk, yes, we can work on discount pricing.  This is quite common for vendors and VARs who want to use our platform for demos as well as for teams that exist within a given Enterprise.  In fact, this is also true who want to use our platform for Continuous Integration (CI) tests.  For bulk purchases, we offer promotion codes that can be purchased using a Purchase Order (PO) or credit card.

Why is the pricing so different between vendor platforms?

Resources, we are using the actual virtual appliances you would use in production and some nodes require quite a bit of CPU and Memory to run.  As resource constraints are lowered, pricing will be reduced.


 Vendors

I don’t see my product listed.  Can it be added?

Yes.  Please email us at labs@networktocode.com.

I see my product on your site, but our companies aren’t partners yet.  Can we offer labs at no cost together?

Yes.  Please email us at labs@networktocode.com.  We offer strategic partnerships in that vendors/VARs get rich content generated on our Tutorials page as well as receive a given number of promotion codes per month that they can give out to their SEs, Engineers, and customers.


Technical

Do I need to use the jump host?

No.  Every device in every lab is accessible via a public IPv4 address and a private IPv4 address via the jump host.  You also get console access to every device!

I can’t ping the public IP address of a device in the lab.  What’s up?

If the lab just started, the device may still be booting.  Check the console for that particular device.

The console doesn’t seem to be working. What’s the issue?

The only known device where that will be an issue is the NX-OSv.  You need to press CTL+ALT+2  on the console to be redirected to the typical console of the switch.  When you click the console  link in your dashboard for all other devices, you should see the console output right away from the devices.

Is there an issue with CDP/LLDP running between these devices?

What we’ve found is that CDP/LLDP works great when running between the same platform/OS or when the device is a “production” node, but for example, NX-OSv does not seem see any LLDP neighbors that aren’t other NX-OSv devices.

I got disconnected from my RDP session to the Jump host and Firefox doesn’t seem to work anymore. What’s up?

You can kill your Firefox session using the command ‘sudo killall firefox’ and then re-open FireFox.

The Cisco CSR 1000V router came up without a configuration.  Is that normal?

No, but it’s common.  It’s a known issue and happens about 5-10% of the time.  Luckily, we’ve pre-positioned a backup configuration on the router that is persistent.  To restore the config, you can issue the command ‘copy csrN.cfg run’ to re-load it, where N is equal to the router number in the dashboard.  For example csr1 would be ‘copy csr1 run’.