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A Brief History of Demo Mode for Policy Editor and SmartDashboard

Consider this a bit of a Throwback Thursday post.

How many of you remember logging to Policy Editor as follows:

This was the way you activated Demo Mode before it was even exposed in Policy Editor (precursor to SmartDashboard) in NG FP2.

Here's a snapshot from R55:

Anyone happen to remember the first version this was added to? 

And did anyone realize that *local continued to work until R80?

One thing that was nice about demo mode pre-R80 was that you could run it on your local PC with no network connectivity.

Some features were not available as a result of that, but it was enough to show basic configuration and usability.

If you wanted, you could even edit a few of the files, such as:

  • rules.fws : Contains all defined rulebases. It is exactly the same format as $FWDIR/conf/rulebases.fws on the management console.

  • objects.fws : Contains all users and services. It is exactly the same format as $FWDIR/conf/objects.C on the management console.

  • users.fws : Contains users and groups for the demo rulebases. Note that this file is of a different format than $FWDIR/conf/fwauth.NDB. To get a feel for the format, create some users in *local mode and view the file.

  • lv_recs.fws : Contains demonstration log entries.

I used Demo Mode for a lot of the screenshots in my books Smiley Happy

Due to the significant changes in the management backend on R80, a local demo now requires a full VM of Gaia running.

As that can be resource-intensive, there is also a Cloud Demo for R80.10 where you connect to a VM hosted in the cloud versus on a local machine.

More details here: Cool Feature in R80.10: Cloud-Based Demo Mode

On the plus side, this means almost all features can be demonstrated short of a full policy installation.

2 Replies
Employee Alumnus
Employee Alumnus

Benefits of linux-based demo mode in R80.10:

The following features only used to work with a "real server" aka buy a license if you want to see for sure, but with R80.10, because even the demo environment is a full-blown operating system with validations and processes, you can run the following IN DEMO MODE:

1. Multiple users having different permission profiles to view/edit aspects of SmartConsole

2. Packet mode search on the rulebase

3. Compliance security alerts

4. Command line validation support - everything is safe when changing via command line

5. Interaction from configuration and logs - add exceptions, view relevant logs for rule, create hosts from logs.

6. You can share your demo environment with others, using your demo ID. So you can create a customized view and have others work on it as well.


1. You need Internet connectivity to reach the Management demo which is on AWS.

2. Alternatively, in the future: you will need more resources at your local computer with a local virtualization demo coming soon.

We hope that the benefits are worth the drawbacks. 

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You get a more "real" experience with R80.x Demo Mode.

Demo Mode in R77.x and earlier had numerous features that were "not available" because you were working with a subset of the configuration.

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