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Cyber Range Pool Model

The Virginia Cyber Range is dedicated to providing our users with the best experience while using our virtual machines in the exercise area. In an attempt to reduce the amount of time it takes to access a virtual machine for the first time, the Cyber Range developed the pool model concept. This article will briefly describe what the pool model is and how it may affect your course in the Cyber Range.

What is the Pool Model?

In short, the pool model is a pool (or group of) virtual machines that have been provisioned, and the cloud filesystem pre-warmed in the exercise area of the Virginia Cyber Range. This pool of pre-warmed VMs remain on standby until users of the Virginia Cyber Range begin pushing the power-on button for the very first time.

Normally, exercise environments take around 15-20 minutes to fully warm-up the first time they are powered up. However, the pool model helps to reduce the amount of time a user must wait before accessing a VM. Please keep in mind that the exercise environment pool is shared by users across all courses within the Virginia Cyber Range.

How Does the Pool Model Impact My Course?

Note

To prevent encountering this 15-20 minute warmup delay, Virginia Cyber Range suggests that instructors invite all students to the class before the first day they are to use their VMs for the first time, and then the night before (or a few hours before class begins) the Instructor starts up all student VM environments, as to avoid this 15-20 minute, first time, power up delay. By employing this simple best practice, your students will be guaranteed access to their VMs immediately at first power-up, instead of possibly waiting for the provisioning and warm-up period to complete.

The exercise environment pool is shared by all users of the Virginia Cyber Range. With this in mind, instructors should consider the time of day they plan on having their students start up their VMs for the very first time.

For example, if large classes of students start their courses at the same time and begin powering on their VMs for the first time (e.g. first day of school), the exercise environment pool may become depleted and student access delays incurred.

Students impacted would need to wait the full 15-20 minutes for their VMs to complete the warmup process. When the pool is emptied of pre-warmed VMs, it may become apparent due to the fact that some students were able to access their VMs immediately while other students are having to wait for the warmup process to complete. It is also why we suggest that instructors power on all student VMs an hour or more before their first class.

Note

Instructors and students should keep in mind that it may take around 15-20 minutes for a non-warmed virtual machine to fully warm up the first time it is powered on. This is because the VM has not technically been built and synced in our cloud infrastructure yet. However, after a system has been warmed, users will not need to wait the 15-20 minute period on subsequent startups.

Have a Question? Contact Support

We're here to help you. If you still have questions after absorbing 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.