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Creating Sandboxes

In order to use a blueprint in the catalog, you need to create a sandbox for that blueprint. A sandbox is a live instance of the selected blueprint and once created, it is isolated from the blueprint. It is possible to either reserve an existing blueprint from the catalog or, if the feature is enabled, to start a new blank sandbox and pull resources in dynamically.

You can also use the sandbox to carry out operations on the active blueprint such as resource provisioning, access control, connectivity etc. Some provisioning may occur automatically as a part of the blueprint's setup process. However, any changes you make to the sandbox are not applied to the blueprint it is based on.

Note: Blueprints of type ‘view’ cannot be reserved.

In this article:

Reserving a blueprint

To create an immediate or future sandboxes:

  1. In the Blueprint Catalog, on the required blueprint tile, click Reserve. Alternatively, in the blueprint workspace, click the Reserve button.

    The Reserve dialog box is displayed.

    Note: The timezone for the sandbox is indicated in the title of the Reserve dialog box.

  2. In the Schedule field, you can set the required sandbox duration or specify the explicit start and/or end time. Use the Calendar button to set future dates.
  3. Note: If a maximum duration was set for the sandbox, the user will not be able to reserve for a duration beyond this setting.

  4. To have this sandbox repeat in a series, click Add Recurrence. If this option is missing, the admin needs to enable it using the EnableRecurringReservation key.

    The Recurrence page is displayed.

    1. To have the sandbox repeat on specific days, click the Pattern field and either select the days or select Daily to have the sandbox repeat on all days of the week.
    2. In the Range field, define the period in which the sandbox will repeat.
  5. Optionally change the Name of the sandbox. By default, the new sandbox name is the blueprint name.
  6. In the Blueprint field, you can see the blueprint on which the sandbox is based. Once reserved, it is not possible to change the blueprint for the active sandbox.
  7. To specify additional options, click the Advanced Form button.

    The advanced form enables you to configure the email notifications, permissions and other options.

    1. Optionally enter a Description. Otherwise, the description of the sandbox will default to the blueprint description.
    2. To define an owner for the sandbox, click the Owner and select the required user. By default, the user who initiated the scheduling action is set as the sandbox owner.

    3. Instead of changing the owner of the sandbox, you can permit additional users to use the sandbox. Click the Permitted Users section and select the users you wish to add.

    4. You can configure CloudShell to send email notifications to the owner of the sandbox and permitted users.

      Note: This capability requires the administrator to activate the email notifications feature using the ReservationEmail configuration keys.

      1. Click the Email Notifications field.

        The Email Notifications area expands.

      2. Configure the email notification settings.

        • On start - Sends notification as the sandbox starts.
        • Before end - Sends notification before the sandbox ends. The exact time is decided by the user. Toggling the before-end reminder on will reveal the duration inputs which can be set to specify the exact time to send the email relative to the sandbox end time.
        • On end - Sent when the sandbox ends.
  8. If the blueprint has inputs, you will be asked to provide them.
  9. Click Reserve.

    The sandbox is being reserved.

    If any resource is unavailable for the scheduled time slot, the Conflicts dialog box is displayed, proposing an alternative time slot, as described in Dealing with conflicts.

    The new sandbox is displayed in Diagram view with a blue Sandbox label at the top of the canvas and a green Active icon in the toolbar:

    To learn how to use the sandbox workspace, see Using the Sandbox Workspace.

Reserving blueprints that have published attributes

You can reserve blueprints that require users to key-in parameter values for services.

To reserve a blueprint that has a published attribute:

  1. In CloudShell Portal, select Lab Management > Blueprints.
  2. Reserve the blueprint.
  3. In the Reserve dialog box, you can modify the reservation parameters and specify the required values for the published attributes.
  4. Click Reserve.

    The sandbox is displayed in the Sandboxes dashboard.

Creating ad hoc sandboxes

This feature enables CloudShell users to start a new sandbox from scratch. You can base ad hoc sandboxes on existing blueprints or start a blank sandbox, to which you can add components such as resources and services.

This feature is disabled by default, but the administrator can enable it using the HideCreateNewEmptyReservation configuration key. For more information, see Enabling users to create ad hoc sandboxes.

Note: Apps based on a public cloud provider, such as AWS EC2 and Azure, cannot be used when creating an ad hoc sandbox. For additional information, see Add Apps.

To create an ad hoc sandbox:

  1. Click the Add New Sandbox button in the Sandboxes dashboard.
  2. Configure the sandbox settings, as explained in Reserving a blueprint above.

    Tip: It is recommended to select a blueprint that has the default setup and teardown scripts, which deploy and tear down Apps and connections in the sandbox.
  3. Click Reserve.

Reserving a resource from the inventory

It is possible to reserve a resource directly from the Inventory dashboard. This will create a sandbox containing only this resource (as well as its sub-resources if the resource is unshared by default). You can also choose to base the sandbox on an existing blueprint.

To reserve a resource from the Inventory:

  1. In the required resource row, click More Info.

    The More Info window pops up.

  2. Click Reserve 

    The Reserve dialog box is displayed.

  3. Enter the required sandbox details and click Reserve.

    A sandbox containing this resource is created.

Dealing with conflicts

If some of the resources, abstract resources, or connections in the sandbox are currently unavailable (because they are unshared in another sandbox, for example), the Conflicts dialog box is displayed, suggesting alternative time slots you can use.

For conflicts that are not time related, like when a resource in the blueprint is not in the current domain or matches for abstract resource requirements don't exist, an available time slot cannot be suggested and the Conflicts dialog box lists the conflicted resources without any possible actions for the user. In this case, ask your system administrator to add the required resources to the domain or make them available in CloudShell.

To find an available time slot:

  1. Click Load more slots to query for additional scheduling options.
  2. Select a suitable time slot.
  3. Click the Reserve button to create the sandbox.

Reserving with conflicts

If the option to create sandboxes with conflicts is enabled, you will also see a Reserve with conflicts link. Click this link to create a sandbox using the specified times regardless of the conflicts. The resources in conflict will not be available to use in the sandbox and the sandbox will appear with an alert indication in the Sandboxes dashboard:

While conflicting resources cannot be used within the sandbox, they are still included in it and if the resources once again become available (if the conflicting sandboxes complete, for example), you can try to reserve them again. In the sandbox diagram or Sandboxes dashboard, open the More Info menu and click the Resolve button next to the conflicts indication to try to reserve them again.

Reserving when available

If the option to create sandboxes when available is enabled, you will also see a Reserve when available link. Click this link to add the sandbox to a queue. The sandbox will automatically be scheduled when all resources will be available.

Resolving reservation conflicts per resource

Click the Browse conflicts link to review a list of conflicted resources. Details on the conflicting sandbox are displayed under the Status column (subject to user permissions).

To see all the resources in the sandbox, change the Show filter to All.

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