Cisco DCNM Security Configuration Guide, Release 4.2
Configuring AAA
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Configuring AAA

Contents

Configuring AAA

This chapter describes how to configure authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) on Cisco NX-OS devices.

Information About AAA

This section includes information about AAA on Cisco NX-OS devices.

AAA Security Services

The AAA feature allows you to verify the identity of, grant access to, and track the actions of users managing a Cisco NX-OS device. Cisco NX-OS devices support Remote Access Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) or Terminal Access Controller Access Control device Plus (TACACS+) protocols.

Based on the user ID and password combination that you provide, Cisco NX-OS devices perform local authentication or authorization using the local database or remote authentication or authorization using one or more AAA servers. A preshared secret key provides security for communication between the Cisco NX-OS device and AAA servers. You can configure a common secret key for all AAA servers or for only a specific AAA server.

AAA security provides the following services:

Authentication
Identifies users, including login and password dialog, challenge and response, messaging support, and, depending on the security protocol that you select, encryption.

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of the person or device accessing the Cisco NX-OS device, which is based on the user ID and password combination provided by the entity trying to access the Cisco NX-OS device. Cisco NX-OS devices allow you to perform local authentication (using the local lookup database) or remote authentication (using one or more RADIUS or TACACS+ servers).

Authorization
Provides access control.

AAA authorization is the process of assembling a set of attributes that describe what the user is authorized to perform. Authorization in the Cisco NX-OS software is provided by attributes that are downloaded from AAA servers. Remote security servers, such as RADIUS and TACACS+, authorize users for specific rights by associating attribute-value (AV) pairs, which define those rights with the appropriate user.

Accounting
Provides the method for collecting information, logging the information locally, and sending the information to the AAA server for billing, auditing, and reporting.

The accounting feature tracks and maintains a log of every management session used to access the Cisco NX-OS device. You can use this information to generate reports for troubleshooting and auditing purposes. You can store accounting logs locally or send them to remote AAA servers.


Note


The Cisco NX-OS software supports authentication, authorization, and accounting independently. For example, you can configure authentication and authorization without configuring accounting.


Benefits of Using AAA

AAA provides the following benefits:


  • Increased flexibility and control of access configuration

  • Scalability

  • Standardized authentication methods, such as RADIUS and TACACS+

  • Multiple backup devices

Remote AAA Services

Remote AAA services provided through RADIUS and TACACS+ protocols have the following advantages over local AAA services:


  • It is easier to manage user password lists for each Cisco NX-OS device in the fabric.

  • AAA servers are already deployed widely across enterprises and can be easily used for AAA services.

  • You can centrally manage the accounting log for all Cisco NX-OS devices in the fabric.

  • It is easier to manage user attributes for each Cisco NX-OS device in the fabric than using the local databases on the Cisco NX-OS devices.

AAA Server Groups

You can specify remote AAA servers for authentication, authorization, and accounting using server groups. A server group is a set of remote AAA servers that implement the same AAA protocol. The purpose of a server group is to provide for fail-over servers in case a remote AAA server fails to respond. If the first remote server in the group fails to respond, the next remote server in the group is tried until one of the servers sends a response. If all the AAA servers in the server group fail to respond, then that server group option is considered a failure. If required, you can specify multiple server groups. If the Cisco NX-OS device encounters errors from the servers in the first group, it tries the servers in the next server group.

AAA Service Configuration Options

The AAA configuration in Cisco NX-OS devices is service based, which means that you can have separate AAA configurations for the following services:


  • Console login authentication

  • 802.1X authentication

  • User management session accounting

  • 802.1X accounting

You can specify the following authentication methods for the AAA services:

All RADIUS servers

Uses the global pool of RADIUS servers for authentication.

Specified server groups

Uses specified RADIUS or TACACS+ server groups you have configured for authentication.

Local

Uses the local username or password database for authentication.

None

Uses only the username.


Note


If you specify the all RADIUS servers method, rather than a specified server group method, the Cisco NX-OS device chooses the RADIUS server from the global pool of configured RADIUS servers, in the order of configuration. Servers from this global pool are the servers that can be selectively configured in a RADIUS server group on the Cisco NX-OS device.


This table shows the AAA authentication methods that you can configure for the AAA services.
Table 1  AAA Authentication Methods for AAA Services

AAA Service

AAA Methods

Console login authentication

Server groups, local, and none

User login authentication

Server groups, local, and none

802.1X authentication

Server groups only

User management session accounting

Server groups and local

802.1X accounting

Server groups and local


Note


For console login authentication, user login authentication, and user management session accounting, the Cisco NX-OS device tries each option in the order specified. The local option is the default method when other configured options fail.


Authentication and Authorization Process for User Login

This figure shows a flow chart of the authentication and authorization process for user login.
Figure 1. Authorization and Authentication Flow for User Login

The following list explains the process:


  • When you log in to the required Cisco NX-OS device, you can use the Telnet, SSH, or console login options.

  • When you have configured the AAA server groups using the server group authentication method, the Cisco NX-OS device sends an authentication request to the first AAA server in the group as follows:


    • If the AAA server fails to respond, then the next AAA server is tried and so on until the remote server responds to the authentication request.

    • If all AAA servers in the server group fail to respond, then the servers in the next server group are tried.

    • If all configured methods fail, then the local database is used for authentication.

  • If the Cisco NX-OS device successfully authenticates you through a remote AAA server, then the following possibilities apply:


    • If the AAA server protocol is RADIUS, then user roles specified in the cisco-av-pair attribute are downloaded with an authentication response.

    • If the AAA server protocol is TACACS+, then another request is sent to the same server to get the user roles specified as custom attributes for the shell.

    • If the user roles are not successfully retrieved from the remote AAA server, then the user is assigned with the vdc-operator role.

  • If your username and password are successfully authenticated locally, the Cisco NX-OS device logs you in and assigns you the roles configured in the local database.


Note


"No more server groups left" means that there is no response from any server in all server groups. "No more servers left" means that there is no response from any server within this server group.


Virtualization Support for AAA

All AAA configuration and operations are local to the virtual device context (VDC), except the default console methods and the AAA accounting log. The configuration and operation of the AAA authentication methods for the console login apply only to the default VDC. The AAA accounting log is only in the default VDC. You can display the contents from any VDC but you must clear it in the default VDC.

For more information on VDCs, see the Cisco DCNM Fundamentals Configuration Guide, Release 4.2.

Prerequisites for AAA

Remote AAA servers have the following prerequisites:


  • Ensure that at least one RADIUS or TACACS+ server is reachable through IP.

  • Ensure that the Cisco NX-OS device is configured as a client of the AAA servers.

  • Ensure that the secret key is configured on the Cisco NX-OS device and the remote AAA servers.

  • Ensure that the logging level for AAA in the Cisco NX-OS software is set to 5 using the command-line interface (CLI).

    switch# configure terminal
    switch(config)# logging level aaa 5
    switch(config)# logging logfile messages 5 
    switch(config)# logging event link-status default
    
    
  • Ensure that the remote server responds to AAA requests from the Cisco NX-OS device.

Licensing Requirements for AAA

The following table shows the licensing requirements for this feature:

Product

License Requirement

Cisco DCNM

AAA requires no license. Any feature not included in a license package is bundled with the Cisco DCNM and is provided at no charge to you. For a complete explanation of the Cisco DCNM licensing scheme, see the Cisco DCNM Fundamentals Configuration Guide, Release 4.2.

Cisco NX-OS

AAA requires no license. Any feature not included in a license package is bundled with the Cisco NX-OS system images and is provided at no extra charge to you. For a complete explanation of the Cisco NX-OS licensing scheme, see the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Licensing Guide, Release 4.2.

AAA Guidelines and Limitations

AAA has the following guidelines and limitations:


  • The Cisco NX-OS software does not support all numeric usernames, whether created with TACACS+ or RADIUS, or created locally, and does not create local users with all numeric names. If an all-numeric username exists on an AAA server and is entered during login, the Cisco NX-OS device does log in the user.

  • If you have a user account configured on the local Cisco NX-OS device that has the same name as a remote user account on an AAA server, the Cisco NX-OS software applies the user roles for the local user account to the remote user, not the user roles configured on the AAA server.

Configuring AAA

This section describes the tasks for configuring AAA on Cisco NX-OS devices.

This figure shows the AAA Rules pane.
Figure 2. AAA Rules Pane

Changing an AAA Authentication Rule Method

You can change an AAA authentication rule method.

The methods include the following:

Group
RADIUS server groups
Local
Local database on the Cisco NX-OS device
None
Username only

The default method is local.

The rules are applied in the sequence order. If all methods fail, the device uses the default local method.


Note


The configuration and operation of the AAA for the console login apply to the default VDC.


Before You Begin

Configure RADIUS or TACACS+ server groups, as needed.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   Double-click Authentication Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 3   Click the rule to which to add a method.
Step 4   Click the rule to change.

The Authentication Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   From the Authentication Rules tab, click the method to change.
Step 6   Double-click the method cell under Type and choose the method type from the drop-down list.
Step 7   If you chose the Group method type, double-click the method cell under Server Group Name and choose a server group name from the drop-down list. Click OK.
Step 8   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Adding an AAA Authentication Rule Method

You can change an AAA authentication rule method.

The methods include the following:

Group
RADIUS server groups
Local
Local database on the Cisco NX-OS device
None
Username only

The default method is local.

The rules are applied in the sequence order. If all methods fail, the Cisco NX-OS device uses the default local method.


Note


The configuration and operation of the AAA for the console login only apply to the default VDC.


Before You Begin

Configure RADIUS or TACACS+ server groups, as needed.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Authentication Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule to which to add a method.

The Authentication Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   Right-click on a method and click Add Method from the pop-up menu.

A new rule displays at the end of the list with a sequence number and blank fields.

Step 6   Double-click the cell under Type in the new method and choose the method type from the drop-down list.
Note   

If you chose None for the method type, it must always be the last method in the list.

Step 7   If you chose the Group method type, double-click the method cell under Server Group Name and choose a server group name from the drop-down list. Click OK.
Step 8   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Rearranging an AAA Authentication Rule Method

You can rearrange the sequence of the methods for an AAA authentication rule.


Note


The None method must always be the last method in the list.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Authentication Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule which has the method that you want to rearrange.
Step 5   The Authentication Rules tab appears in the Details pane with the list of methods.
Step 6   Click the method that you want to rearrange.
Step 7   Right-click and click Move Up or Move Up from the pop-up menu.
Step 8   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Deleting an AAA Authentication Rule Method

You can delete an AAA authentication rule method.


Note


An AAA authentication rule must have at least one method. You can only delete a method when the rule had more than one method.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Authentication Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule from which to delete a method.

The Authentication Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   Click the method that you want to delete.
Note   

You can only delete a method with sequence number 2 or greater. To delete the rule with sequence number 1, you must first rearrange the methods.

Step 6   Right-click and click Delete Method from the pop-up menu.

The rule disappears from the list and the sequence numbers are updated.

Step 7   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Changing an AAA Accounting Rule Method

You can change an AAA accounting rule method. The device supports TACACS+ and RADIUS methods for accounting, which report user activity to TACACS+ or RADIUS security servers in the form of accounting records.

You can specify the following accounting methods:

Server group
Uses a specified RADIUS or TACACS+ server group for accounting.
Local
Uses the local username or password database for accounting.

The default method is local.


Note


If you have configured server groups and the server groups do not respond, by default, the local database is used for authentication.


Before You Begin

Configure RADIUS or TACACS+ server groups, as needed.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Accounting Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule to change.

The Accounting Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   From the Accounting Rules tab, click the method to change.
Step 6   Double-click the method cell under Type and choose the method type from the drop-down list.
Step 7   If you chose the Group method type, double-click the method cell under Server Group Name and choose a server group name from the drop-down list. Click OK.
Step 8   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Adding an AAA Accounting Rule Method

You can add an AAA accounting rule method.

The methods include the following:

Group
RADIUS server groups
Local
Local database on the Cisco NX-OS device

The default method is local.

The rules are applied in the sequence order. If all methods fail, the device uses the default local method.

Before You Begin

Configure RADIUS or TACACS+ server groups, as needed.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Accounting Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule to which to add a method.

The Accounting Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   Right-click a method to add the new method after and click Add Method from the pop-up menu.

A new method displays at the end of the list with a sequence number and blank fields.

Step 6   If the new method is after a method with type Local, right-click the new method and click Move Up from the pop-up menu.
Note   

You cannot add methods after a method with type Local.

Step 7   Double-click the cell under Type in the new method and click Group from the drop-down list.
Step 8   Double-click the new method cell under Server Group Name.
Step 9   Enter the server group name or choose a server group name from the drop-down list and click OK.
Step 10   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Rearranging an AAA Accounting Rule Method

You can rearrange the sequence of the methods for an AAA accounting rule.

Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Accounting Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule that has the method that you want to rearrange.

The Accounting Rules tab appears in the Details pane with the list of methods.

Step 5   Click the method that you want to rearrange.
Step 6   Right-click and click Move Up or Move Up from the pop-up menu.
Step 7   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Deleting an AAA Accounting Rule Method

You can delete an AAA accounting rule method.


Note


An AAA accounting rule must have at least one method. You can only a delete method when the rule has more than one method.


Procedure
Step 1   From the Feature Selector pane, choose Security > AAA > Rules.
Step 2   From the Summary pane, double-click the device.
Step 3   Double-click Accounting Rules to display the list of accounting rules.
Step 4   Click the rule from which to delete a method.

The Accounting Rules tab appears in the Details pane.

Step 5   Click the method that you want to delete.
Note   

You can only delete a method with sequence number 2 or greater. To delete the rule with sequence number 1, you must first rearrange the methods .

Step 6   Right-click and click Delete Method from the pop-up menu.

The rule disappears from the list and the sequence numbers are updated.

Step 7   From the menu bar, choose File > Deploy to apply your changes to the device.

Using AAA Server VSAs with Cisco NX-OS Devices

You can use vendor-specific attributes (VSAs) to specify Cisco NX-OS user roles and SNMPv3 parameters on AAA servers.

About VSAs

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft standard specifies a method for communicating VSAs between the network access server and the RADIUS server. The IETF uses attribute 26. VSAs allow vendors to support their own extended attributes that are not suitable for general use. The Cisco RADIUS implementation supports one vendor-specific option using the format recommended in the specification. The Cisco vendor ID is 9, and the supported option is vendor type 1, which is named cisco-av-pair. The value is a string with the following format:

protocol : attribute seperator value *

The protocol is a Cisco attribute for a particular type of authorization, the separator is = (equal sign) for mandatory attributes, and * (asterisk) indicates optional attributes.

When you use RADIUS servers for authentication on a Cisco NX-OS device, the RADIUS protocol directs the RADIUS server to return user attributes, such as authorization information, along with authentication results. This authorization information is specified through VSAs.

VSA Format

The following VSA protocol options are supported by the Cisco NX-OS software:

Shell
Protocol used in access-accept packets to provide user profile information.
Accounting
Protocol used in accounting-request packets. If a value contains any white spaces, put it within double quotation marks.

The following attributes are supported by the Cisco NX-OS software:

roles

Lists all the roles assigned to the user. The value field is a string that stores the list of group names delimited by white space. For example, if you belong to roles network-operator and vdc-admin, the value field would be network-operator vdc-admin. This subattribute is sent in the VSA portion of the Access-Accept frames from the RADIUS server, and it can only be used with the shell protocol value. These examples use the roles attribute:

shell:roles=network-operator vdc-admin 
shell:roles*network-operator vdc-admin

The following examples show the roles attribute as supported by FreeRADIUS:

Cisco-AVPair = shell:roles=\network-operator vdc-admin\ 
Cisco-AVPair = shell:roles*\network-operator vdc-admin\ 


Note


When you specify a VSA as shell:roles*"network-operator vdc-admin" or "shell:roles*\"network-operator vdc-admin\"", this VSA is flagged as an optional attribute and other Cisco devices ignore this attribute.


accountinginfo
Stores accounting information in addition to the attributes covered by a standard RADIUS accounting protocol. This attribute is sent only in the VSA portion of the Account-Request frames from the RADIUS client on the switch, and it can only be used with the accounting protocol-related PDUs.

Specifying Cisco NX-OS User Roles and SMNPv3 Parameters on AAA Servers

You can use the VSA cisco-av-pair on AAA servers to specify user role mapping for the Cisco NX-OS device using this format:

shell:roles="roleA roleB …"

If you do not specify the role option in the cisco-av-pair attribute, the default user role is network-operator.

You can also specify your SNMPv3 authentication and privacy protocol attributes as follows:

shell:roles="roleA roleB..." snmpv3:auth=SHA priv=AES-128 

The SNMPv3 authentication protocol options are SHA and MD5. The privacy protocol options are AES-128 and DES. If you do not specify these options in the cisco-av-pair attribute, MD5 and DES are the default authentication protocols.

Field Descriptions for AAA

This section describes the fields for configuring AAA in the Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM).

Security: AAA: Rules: Summary Pane

Table 2 Security: AAA: Rules: Summary Pane

Field

Description

Name

Rule name. The name for all rules is default.

Service

Service type.

Sub Service

Subservice type.

Methods

Methods for the rule.

Security: AAA: Rules: device: Authentication Rules: Rule: Authentication Rules Tab

Table 3  Security: AAA: Rules: Device: Authentication Rules: Rule: Authentication Rules Tab

Field

Description

Rule name

Rule name. The name for all rules is default.

Service Type

Service type.

Sub Service Type

Subservice type.

Methods

Sequence

Sequence number that determines the order in which the methods are executed.

Type

Method type.

Server Group Name

Server group name

Security: AAA: Rules: device: Accounting Rules: Rule: Accounting Rules Tab

This tab allows you to configure an AAA accounting rule.

Table 4  Security: AAA: Rules: Device: Accounting Rules: Rule: Accounting Rules Tab

Field

Description

Rule name

Name of rule. The name for all rules is default.

Service Type

Type of service.

Notify

Unused.

BroadCast

Unused.

Methods

Sequence

Sequence number that determines the order in which the methods are executed.

Type

Type of method.

Server Group Name

Name of the server group.

Additional References for AAA

This section includes additional information related to implementing AAA.

Related Documents

Related Topic

Document Title

Cisco NX-OS Licensing

Cisco Nexus 7000 Series NX-OS Licensing Guide, Release 4.2

Cisco DCNM Licensing

Cisco DCNM Fundamentals Configuration Guide, Release 4.2

Standards

Standards

Title

No new or modified standards are supported by this feature, and support for existing standards has not been modified by this feature.

MIBs

MIBs

MIBs Link


  • CISCO-AAA-SERVER-MIB

  • CISCO-AAA-SERVER-EXT-MIB

To locate and download MIBs, go to the following URL:

http://www.cisco.com/public/sw-center/netmgmt/cmtk/mibs.shtml

Feature History for AAA

This table lists the release history for this feature.
Table 5  Feature History for AAA

Feature Name

Releases

Feature Information

AAA

4.1(2)

No change from Release 4.1.