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Persistent and Non-Persistent Exercise Environments

Instructors have the option of adding a “persistent” or “non-persistent” environment feature while provisioning environments.

Persistent Environments

Persistent environments are best suited for tasks that require multiple days to complete or courseware materials that make sequential changes to the system and hinge upon previous steps. Once a user has joined the exercise, they retain the backing resources of the exercise environment(s) for the duration of the course. They can leave the range and later come back to resume their exercises without the loss of data or configurations. The persistence status can be found in the "Details" section of a provisioned exercise environment, as shown in the screenshot below:

The Details section of an exercise environment is shown listing in descending order: Availability, Creation, and the Session type which is currently Persistent.


Under the "Details" section of the environment, you may see an "Accessibility" option found below the rest of the environment-specific details. Currently, screen reader accessibility is only available for select environments, but we are working to make more environments accessible to everyone. If you wish to learn more, please see the article titled Accessibility Statement.

Non-Persistent Environments

Non-persistent environments are ideal for single session, isolated tasks. When a user joins a session, they are given a two-hour window to utilize the resources with the opportunity to extend the session once for up to one additional hour. After the session ends, by either the time expiration or user termination, the backing resources are destroyed and are no longer accessible. The next time the user joins their exercise, they will receive a freshly provisioned exercise and a new timed session. Non-persistent environments have a maximum of twenty hours per team per calendar month UTC.

Non-persistent environment can help the Cyber Range optimize exercise environment costs by limiting uptime and removing idle exercise environment resources between sessions.


When instructors provision environments, the best persistent option is recommended for you by default.

A description of the environment persistent options is shown, and below it are the buttons for selecting your persistent option.

A non-persistent exercise environment can be re-launched and run up to a total of twenty hours per calendar month. If a student's team/environment ever approaches this limit, they will receive a warning on the exercise environment page under their team environment indicating that they are approaching their monthly limit for that specific environment. The displayed team is currently active, and on the right of the team block shows an in progress message and that 5 hours remain for the month.

The exercise environment controls will be disabled once the runtime limit for the month is reached. The displayed team has zero minutes remaining for the month, and the exercise controls are greyed out and unable to be clicked.


The session time will remain running for the selected time period (two hours + up to one extended hour) even if the user leaves or stops the exercise. Leaving or stopping the exercise is different from terminating the session which is explained below. If a user leaves or stops the exercise, they will be able to re-enter the same exercise if they return before the end of the time period. However, terminating the exercise stops the session early and does not save the user's work within the exercise. The twenty-hour monthly amount will continue to be consumed unless the user clicks "Terminate" the exercise.

Environment Time Remaining

The session time is displayed at the top of the web interface and begins to count down once the user joins the environment. In the exercise environment, the environment time remaining is shown at the top as eight minutes, with an extend session button to the right and a terminate button to its right.

Within the last ten minutes of the two-hour period, users are allowed to extend the session time for up to one hour by clicking the EXTEND SESSION button. If there is less than one hour remaining of the twenty hour limit for the calendar month, the session time will be extended by the remaining time. For example, if a user begins a session with two hours and thirty minutes remaining for the month, if they try to extend the session after the two-hour session, thirty minutes will be added on. In the same environment, the extend session button has been clicked, and in place of the button is a spinning wheel and the word Extending…

Once the session time is extended, the Environment time remaining will be updated, and you will see a confirmation that your session has been extended by an hour. In the same environment, the extension has been completed, now showing the message “Your session has been extended by an hour,” and environment time remaining is now one hour and eight minutes.

Non-persistent environment session duration can only be extended once. After the session is extended, the EXTEND SESSION button will no longer be visible. After the session time runs out, the session will end, and any saved work will be lost as the exercise environment will be terminated. In the same environment, and the extend session button is gone. The terminate button is the only button on the right.


If the time difference between the user’s clock and the environment clock is more than one minute, a warning will be displayed. For more information on this issue, please see the article section titled PC/Laptop System Clock (Time & Date) Skew.


Users will see a “Terminate” button that can shut down and end the session. Once selected, a confirmation dialog will be displayed.

A dialog box is shown that asks if you want to terminate the exercise environment. A confirmation checkbox is under the text, a cancel button is in the bottom right, and the terminate button is to its right.

After checking the confirmation box for terminating the session, the dialog will disappear. Users will see a message at the top of the environment stating their session has ended and they will no longer be able to complete any actions within the environment at this stage. The exercise environment is shown with a greyed-out screen and a message that says that the session has ended.

Have a Question? Contact Support

We're here to help you. If you still have questions after reviewing the information above, please feel free to submit a ticket with our support team and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.