Hands-on labs: FAQ

Tags: ACG

Do hands-on labs cost extra?

There are no hidden fees. If you’re a part of a premium membership, you’ll have full access to the hands-on labs.

How many times can I go through a hands-on lab?

Feeling the need to brush up on a past lab or just want to solidify those skills? Awesome! You can take Hands-On Labs as many times as you want. Just revisit the page and start again.

Are hands-on labs scenario based?

They are! Our hands-on labs will typically come with a scenario to resolve, and include downloadable lab guides, and video lessons. This lets you follow along at your own pace and with your preferred learning method.

You'll be guided through the lab by an expert so you can see exactly how they do it. Then, once you’re comfortable, you can try the lab again on your own to see if you understand how it works. After all, practice makes perfect!

Note: Lightsail is not currently supported with hands-on labs. However, we are working hard to ensure you can get your Hands-On it as soon as possible.

What is Guided Mode?

All ACG labs are created with hands-on learner support. However some of our most popular labs allow you to check your progress (Guided Mode) and test your skills (Challenge Mode).

Guided mode gives you access to instructional videos, guides, and diagrams. It also gives you the ability to Run Progress Check to see if you’ve completed the objectives correctly during a lab.

Note: Run Progress Check is exclusive to Personal Plus and Business memberships. You can check your work an unlimited number of times, giving you the opportunity to retry any failed objectives. No score is provided at the end of a hands-on lab taken in Guided Mode.

What is Challenge Mode?

Challenge Mode allows you to test your knowledge and ability to apply your skills in hands-on labs without instructional videos and guides. You cannot check your work until you submit your lab. Once the lab is submitted, you'll see a results page showing your score overall as well as your Pass/Fail status by objective. Click Show Explanation for any failed objectives to see a brief explanation of why the objective wasn’t passed. Challenge Mode is currently available for our most popular labs, and we continue to add more to our library.

Note: Challenge Mode is exclusive to Personal Plus and Business memberships. Challenge Mode is currently only available for most popular labs, but we are continuously adding more to our library.

Why doesn't my hands-on lab have a lab guide?

Most hands-on labs are standalone and intended to be used to perform a specific exercise or task. Some, however, are intended to be completed while following along with a course video.

If you come across a hands-on lab with no lab guide, read the description very carefully. Then, go back to the course to see if there are videos that are meant to be followed instead of a lab guide.

Note: hands-on labs that are in the process of being updated and won't have a lab guide.

How long do hands-on labs last?

hands-on labs have a built-in timer. You can use the lab for as long as the timer lasts. This can be anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on the lab. After the timer expires, or if you complete the lab early, the lab will close, and the resources will be cleared. You can restart the lab from the beginning at any time by returning to the hands-on lab page.

How do I resume a hands-on labs?

All hands-on labs have a timer that starts to counting down immediately after starting the Lab. If the timer reaches 0 before completion, you'll need to restart the hands-on lab from the beginning.

However, if the timer has not reached 0 and you navigate away from the lab, the hands-on lab will still be active. You can continue right where you left off by clicking Resume Lab.

Why does my hands-on lab time out immediately?

This happens when your local system time is out of sync with the network time. If you force a re-sync, you'll be able to log back into the site and then successfully complete the hands-on lab.

To re-sync, follow these steps:

Windows 10

  1. Click your computer's clock and select Adjust date/time.
  2. Toggle on/off for Set Time Automatically.


  1. Open up your local terminal application
  2. Execute this command: "sudo ntpdate -u time.apple.com"

How do I prevent my terminal from timing out?

If you are connected to one of the cloud servers and your terminal session ends, you may receive the following message: "Write Failed: broken pipe".

This can occur after a period of non-use (about 5 minutes or so), causing the server to not receive the "KeepAlive" message from your terminal session.

To remedy this, follow these steps:

Windows Users

PuTTY users, are able to manually set the "KeepAlive" message by doing the following:

  1. Open PuTTY.
  2. Type your hostname or IP address in the field provided.
  3. On the left side of the screen, select Connection from the list of configuration options.
  4. Set the number of seconds between keepalives to 10.

macOS/Linux Terminals

Mac users can update the `~/etc/ssh/ssh_config` file to include:

Host *

ServerAliveInterval 120

>If you do not want to modify your `ssh_config` file, you can append your ssh command like so:

ssh -o ServerAliveInterval=120 user@ip.address

How do I connect to a network in the OpenStack lab?

When you log into the Horizon web GUI in an OpenStack Lab, you will not automatically see a network. You will need to select the correct tenant at the top after logging in.

When you log in, a project called invisible_to_admin is usually automatically selected. In order to connect to a network, you will need to use the dropdown and select demo, which has access to the networks needed for the lab.

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