Read this article to understand how to plan and host an event with multiple sessions on Cisco dCloud, for events such as a training class, road show, or trade show.
- Event Scheduling in Cisco dCloud
- Best Practices for Hosting Multiple Concurrent Sessions
- Limitations and Restrictions for Multiple Concurrent Sessions
- Give Users Access to an Active Session Without Sharing
- Schedule Multiple Concurrent Sessions
Event Scheduling in Cisco dCloud
Cisco employees and Partners can submit a request to schedule 6 to 30 concurrent dCloud sessions for use during an event or training. The Request Submitter can own and manage the sessions or can define another employee or Partner as the Session Owner.
A request for multiple concurrent sessions should be submitted at least 30 days before the sessions’ start time. Sessions for up to 6 separate events or trainings can be requested on 1 request form. All requests are managed by Cisco dCloud Support and responded to within 2 business days. Actions taken by Support on a request are communicated by emails from Support and by automated emails triggered by changes to an internal support case that tracks the request.
Approval of a request depends on data center capacity and business justification. If capacity is not available to run all requested sessions in the requested dCloud data center at the requested time, Support schedules the total number of sessions at the requested time but spread across multiple data centers. Notification emails to the Session Owner include links to the dCloud data centers that will host the sessions.
All sessions started for an approved request will be active and available for use at the start date and time specified in the request.
Best Practices for Hosting Multiple Concurrent Sessions
- Before Submitting Your Request
- Pre-Event Preparation
- When the Sessions are Scheduled
- While the Sessions are Active
Before Submitting Your Request
The form you use to request multiple concurrent sessions looks like this in Cisco dCloud:
Figure 1. Form to Request Multiple Concurrent Sessions
These activities will give you the detailed information you need to submit the form for yourself or someone else.
- Determine the number of required sessions. Request the minimum number of sessions that will meet your objectives. You can request up to 30 concurrent sessions per event. dCloud resources are shared among all users and the number of concurrent sessions available for events is limited.
- Decide if you want multi-day sessions to run continuously or to restart daily. If you want users to modify the same session over several days, as is common in trainings, you can request only one set of sessions that start on day 1 and end on the final day. Alternately, if you want to let people use and modify unmodified sessions over several days, perhaps during a road show or trade show, you can request a separate set of sessions to start each day to ensure that session changes made one day do not interfere with the next day’s use. You can request up to 6 sets of sessions in a single multiple-session request.
- Determine the start and end times for the sessions. Define a session schedule that starts before and ends after you expect the sessions to be used. Starting sessions several hours earlier than needed gives you time to work with them or share them with users. Stopping sessions a few hours later than needed gives users additional time to work with them if needed. The Session Owner can cancel scheduled sessions and stop active sessions any time that the sessions are no longer needed.
- Define session needs for additional events. If you plan to host different events or trainings that require sessions, you can determine the number of sessions, multi-day needs, and start/end times for each and submit the session requests in a single form. The multiple-session request form allows you to request the scheduling of 6 separate sets of sessions.
The Event Session Owner can perform these preparation steps before the sessions are approved or scheduled, and should complete these steps before the sessions become active.
- Confirm that users with whom you plan to share sessions have Cisco.com credentials. You can share a session only with users who have Cisco.com credentials. Users who do not have credentials can create a Cisco.com account to get credentials that they can use to log in to dCloud.
As an alternate to sharing a session, you can give users without a Cisco.com account access to an active session by giving them the Cisco AnyConnect URL for the data center hosting the active session and a user ID and password unique to the session. For details, see Give Users Access to Active Sessions Without Sharing.
- Test all network connections. Before the session start date, test your network connection to the data center that will run the sessions, send requests for remote connection tests from the hosting data center to all other people who will access the sessions, and review all connection tests to check for and resolve issues.
When the Sessions are Scheduled
After the sessions are scheduled, the Event Session Owner can see each session in My Dashboard > My Sessions and can work with a scheduled session in these ways:
Figure 2. Scheduled Sessions in My Dashboard > My Sessions
- Rename sessions and reset schedules. The Edit Session Details button opens a Session Management window in which you can rename sessions in any way you choose and modify the start and end date and time of scheduled sessions.
Figure 3. Session Management Window
- Cancel unneeded sessions. Cancel all sessions that you do not need as soon as possible. Cancelling unneeded sessions returns allocated capacity to the data center and frees up the resources for other dCloud users.
- Share the scheduled sessions with event co-instructors and assistants. Sharing sessions with co-instructors, assistants, and other users gives them the same access that you have, after the sessions are active, to view session information and documentation, add routers, and connect to, start, and stop workstations and servers in the session. Added users cannot cancel, stop, save, or extend the shared session.
- Share the scheduled sessions with users. If the users are known, you can share each scheduled session with one or more of them. For example, a trainer may share one session with each student in a training class as a virtual workspace for doing exercises and exploring solution features. If the users are not yet known, you can share sessions with them at the beginning of the event as they arrive. Users with whom you share a session will receive email notification that the session is shared with them.
While the Sessions are Active
While the sessions are active, the Event Session Owner can see each active session in My Dashboard > My Sessions and can work with an active session in these ways:
Figure 4. Active Sessions in My Dashboard > My Sessions
- Download details for all active sessions. The Download All Session Details button lets you save active session details in a csv file. The saved content includes AnyConnect credentials and lists of users with whom each session is shared. The information can help trainers and event owners make and track session and credential assignments for students and event participants. For details, refer to Download Session Details.
Figure 5. Active Session Details Opened in Microsoft Excel
- Rename sessions and reset schedules. The Edit Session Details button opens a Session Management window in which you can rename sessions in any way you choose and modify the end date and time of the active sessions.
- View an active session. Access and work with an active session, and review the topology, session details, and documentation for the session.
- Share the active sessions. Share each active session with one or more users at any time during an event or training.
- Save and end a session. Save the current running instance of the session. Saving a session stores the current state of the session, including all modifications, and then stops the session. The saved version is available in the My Dashboard > My Custom Content list of the Event Session Owner and can be scheduled and started from that list.
- End a session. Stop the session to return allocated capacity to the data center resource pool. Stop all sessions that you do not need as soon as possible. A stopped session cannot be restarted.
- Extend a session. Change the end time to extend the duration of the active session. You can extend a session up to 5 consecutive days as long as there is capacity in the data center. To conserve data center resources, extend a session only if necessary, and only for as long as it is needed.
- Endpoint Routers. Add routers to or remove them from the session.
Only the Event Session Owner can save, end, and extend an active session. Users with whom a session is shared cannot perform these operations.
Limitations and Restrictions for Multiple Concurrent Sessions
- Do not stop or restart VMs in an active session unless documentation specifically states that a VM must be stopped at some point. Stopping and restarting VMs may interrupt essential session services, disrupt expected data flows, and break the session for the user.
- Do not stop a session unless it is no longer needed. A stopped session cannot be restarted.
- Changes made in one session do not impact or appear in other sessions. Each session is a separate instance of the demonstration, lab, or sandbox used to start it.
- The Session Requester cannot see or manage the set of sessions in dCloud if he is not also the Event Session Owner.
- Only the Event Session Owner can see and manage all of the scheduled or active sessions in My Dashboard > My Sessions.
- The Event Session Owner can share a session only with Level 3 or 4 users who have Cisco.com credentials. For details on session sharing, refer to Share a Session.
As an emergency measure, dCloud Support can add users to the data center hosting the sessions if you open a dCloud Support request that includes the user names, their Cisco.com IDs, and the data center where you need them added.
- Users with whom a session is shared cannot save, end, or extend the shared session.
- The Event Session Owner can extend sessions up to 5 consecutive days if the original session request asked for sessions to run less than 5 days. To extend sessions longer than 5 days, the Owner must submit an extension request to Cisco dCloud Support that includes the data center running the sessions and the IDs of the sessions that require extension.
- If the maximum of 30 multiple concurrent sessions was requested and started, the Event Session Owner cannot start additional sessions of any dCloud content during the multiple-session period. If a few additional sessions are needed during the multiple-session period, another dCloud user, such as another Cisco employee or co-instructor or a student participating in a training, can schedule and start the sessions.
The Event Session Owner can also open a dCloud Support request to get help to start additional sessions.
Give Users Access to Active Sessions Without Sharing
The Event Session Owner can give users access to active sessions without sharing the sessions with them in dCloud. To do this, you manually assign each person a user ID deployed by default in one of the active sessions. This approach is useful if you want to give a user with no Cisco.com credentials access to a session or if you have more users than active sessions.
To give users access to an active session without sharing it in dCloud:
- In dCloud, open My Dashboard > My Sessions to view your list of sessions.
- Click Download All Session Details and download the csv file into your preferred application. For details, refer to Download Session Details.
Figure 6. Active Session Details Opened in Microsoft Excel
- Get the Host URL to which users can browse and then log in and access the active sessions.
- Click View under any one of the active sessions.
- Click Review Session Info or open the Session Details drop-down menu.
- From the AnyConnect Credentials section, copy the Host URL into the csv file for later reference and use.
Figure 7. Host URL in Session Details Drop-Down Menu
All users will access the active sessions by logging in to the dCloud data center through the Host URL. Before logging in, users must install Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client software on their machines if prompted. The Host URL allows Cisco AnyConnect VPN access into the dCloud data center.
- Manually assign one of the active sessions to each person to each person in your event or training. Track the assignments by adding each person’s name to the active session row in the downloaded csv file.
Assign only one person to a session if you have enough sessions to give everyone a separate session. If you have more people than sessions, you can allow several people to use one session by giving each a different Username and the same session password. Be aware that a person logged in to a session can see and modify the work of others logged in to the same session.
- To let your users access the active sessions, give them the Host URL, one of the Usernames associated with their assigned session, and the Password for the session. Also tell them to use the credentials to download and install Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client software if prompted to do so when they open the Host URL.