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Looking Glass: Cisco IOS XR configuration and tips.

Cisco IOS XR support is rather straightforward thanks to the tasks mechanism.

Security and user access

As security by least privilege is quite efficient, using a restricted user to execute the commands is advised.

A root-system access is not necessary, a read-only-tg user is not sufficient though. So it is better to define a new group of users with access to specific commands to restrict the looking glass user to what it actually needs (no more, no less). This is done using taskgroup and usergroup.

Configuration: Task and User Groups

Log in your Cisco router and type the following commands:

RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config)# taskgroup looking-glass
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-tg)#description "Looking Glass required tasks"
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-tg)#task read bgp
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-tg)#task read basic-services
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-tg)#task write basic-services
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-tg)#task execute basic-services
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config)#usergroup looking-glass
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-ug)#description "Looking Glass users"
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-ug)#taskgroup looking-glass
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config)#username <username>
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-un)#group looking-glass
RP/0/0/CPU0:router(config-un)# password <password>

Here is the formal configuration for simple copy/paste.

taskgroup looking-glass
taskgroup looking-glass task read bgp
taskgroup looking-glass task read basic-services
taskgroup looking-glass task write basic-services
taskgroup looking-glass task execute basic-services
taskgroup looking-glass description "Looking Glass required tasks"
usergroup looking-glass
usergroup looking-glass taskgroup looking-glass
usergroup looking-glass description "Looking Glass users"
username <username>
username <username> group read-only-tg
username <username> group looking-glass
username <username> secret <password>

SSH pubkey based authentication is preferred too even if it is pretty boring to setup with IOS XR.

The first thing to do is checking the size of the key to use. There are limitations depending on the hardware. ASR router supports 1024 bit key size or smaller contrary to what the manual says (supporting up to 2048 bit).

Supposing that the key is located in ~/.ssh/, a binary base64 file of the key must be created to be imported inside the router.

cut -d" " -f2 ~/.ssh/ | base64 -d >|

This file can be uploaded on the router in order to be imported. Here is how to do this :

RP/0/0/CPU0:router(admin)#crypto key import authentication rsa username lg

And to check that the key has been imported properly:

RP/0/0/CPU0:router(admin)#show crypto key authentication rsa username lg
Key label: lg
Type     : RSA public key authentication
Size     : 1024
Imported : 00:00:00 UTC Tue Oct 11 2016
Data     :

And that should be enough.


Test the SSH connection from the server where the looking glass is installed and you should see some outputs in your logs. Be careful to potential SSH connections rate limit if you do heavy testing.


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