Cisco Nexus User Roles using TacPlus

I previously wrote a post about the Nexus Roles and how they integrate with a TACACS server.

Cisco Documentation shows the following format to issue multiple roles from a TACACS/RADIUS server.:

shell:roles="network-admin vdc-admin"

We are using Shrubbery TACPLUS, instead of the Cisco ACS software. Last week I noticed that only one role was assigned when multiples should be assigned. Multiple roles are required when using one TACACS server to issue roles for VDC and non-VDC Nexus switches since they need different default User-Roles.

This was tested on a Nexus 5000, a Nexus 7000 and VDC on the same Nexus 7000. Different codes were tried. This was not a NX-OS bug.

Upon further investigation it was obvious, that the syntax above as provided by Cisco was specific their TACACS software, being the ACS software. But I still required multiple Roles to be assigned for my single TACACS configuration to work across multiple Nexus devices. First attempt was the lazy method. Ask uncle Google for any such encounters with a solution. That yielded no practical results. I then contacting Shrubbery for the solution, after that it became clear that possibly nobody else have experienced this problem before.

So the hunt began to find out exactly what was so different in the AAA response from the Cisco ACS software to the TACPLUS software that it did not yield the required results.

Continue reading “Cisco Nexus User Roles using TacPlus”

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RBAC with AAA Authentication

A earlier post introduced the Cisco Nexus concept of User Roles, which is a local command authorization method. There are some default system user roles.

RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) is the name/ability to create custom user roles locally on a Cisco Nexus. This gives the administrator the flexibility to define a group of certain commands to be allowed or denied for a selected role. Users can then be designated to belong to certain user roles. This designation can either be done locally on each switch or by using TACACS.

As discussed in the earlier post, AAA authorization and the user roles are mutually exclusive, since AAA Authorization overrides the permissions allowed with user roles. But using RBAC along with AAA Authentication (not Authorization), does bring some neat options to the table, depending obviously on a given network design and requirements.

How does RBAC work?

Custom user roles are defined by giving the role a name and by creating rules within the role. Each rule has a number, to decide the order in which the rules are applied. Rules are applied in descending order. I.e., rule 3 is applied before rule 2, which is applied before rule 1. This means a rule with a higher number overrides a rule with a lower number. Each role may have up to 256 rules configured. All the rules combined within a role determine what operations the role allows the associated user to perform.

Rules can be applied for the following parameters:

  • Command — A command or group of commands defined in a regular expression.
  • Feature — Commands that apply to a function provided by the Cisco Nexus switch.
  • Feature group — Default or user-defined group of features.

Continue reading “RBAC with AAA Authentication”