This article discusses the bridge function (sometimes called "bridge mode") that helps enterprise users whose corporate firewall blocks them from using hands-on labs. This feature is available in enterprise accounts; however, you must have it enabled by your Customer Success Manager. You should try creating firewall rules to allow access to the hands-on labs before requesting this solution.
This article contains the following sections:
- Bridge Function for Hands-on Labs
- How to Enable the Bridge Function
- How to Start the Bridge Function
- How to Transfer Information Across Bridge Mode
- How to Stop the Bridge Function
- How to Report Problems
Bridge Function for Hands-on Labs
Firewall restrictions or filtered networks can block some Cloud Academy enterprise users from accessing hands-on labs. Creating firewall rules to allow access to the hands-on labs is the best solution, but if you cannot update your firewall for some reason, or if some other corporate networking issue cannot be resolved, the bridge function can help.
The bridge offers a secure way to access hands-on labs. By logging in to virtual machine "bridge" first, users can then log in to the hands-on labs tools.
The bridge runs on a virtual machine inside a virtual private cloud, and your users access it only through a browser window over HTTPS. Even if a user were to download malware onto the virtual machine, it would not be a risk to your network.
Important: The virtual machine is approved by your organization for use with Cloud Academy hands-on labs. Any other use of the virtual machine should also comply with your organization’s policies.
How to Enable the Bridge Function
To enable bridge for your account, contact your Customer Success Manager. Your Customer Success Manager will set up a meeting to go through the activation and enablement process.
How to Start the Bridge Function
Once bridge is enabled in your account, it starts automatically when you start a hands-on lab. When you click Start Lab, the system takes a moment to initiate the lab environment.
The Start Lab button changes to a Starting Lab button with a loading icon to show that it is working.
If you have the bridge enabled, you can notice a Bridge Connection message near the bottom of the left navigation bar.
You may need to wait a few moments for the bridge connection to finish loading. The system is busy creating a Windows Virtual Machine. Important: DO NOT reload the page.
When the process is done, a message appears to tell you the bridge is ready.
Also, the loading message on the Bridge Connection button changes to a ready message.
Click the Bridge Connection button and a new browser tab appears where you are logged in to the virtual machine.
When you get to a step in the lab that you otherwise cannot complete due to your corporate firewall, you can come back to this virtual machine. From here, you can open a remote desktop, execute programs like Putty and SSH, and open other browser windows.
Important: Notice the Cloud Academy folder on the virtual machine desktop. This folder is created when the virtual machine starts and contains useful information and the keys for connecting lab instances. Please browse the README file in this folder before getting started.
How to Transfer Information Across Bridge Mode
File transfer functionality is not available in the enterprise bridge function. If you need to transfer information from your local machine to the virtual machine, you can use copy and paste. Most browsers have clipboard functionality, though there may be a size limit on what you can transfer to the clipboard. Our testing has shown a 130 kB limit to be typical.
We use Apache Guacamole to power the enterprise bridge function. In the unlikely event your browser does not have clipboard functionality, Guacamole offers a special clipboard panel. Press CTRL-ALT-SHIFT (on Windows) or CMD-ALT-SHIFT (on Mac) to open the panel. The same 130 kB limit applies.
How to Stop the Bridge Function
To stop the bridge, you can simply close the tab in your browser. No other action is required.
How to Report Problems
Report any issues or suggestions by submitting a ticket with Customer Support. In your ticket, please specify that it regards the bridge function.