Authenticate to vApp ‘dsa’ user ID via ssh private key

The Symantec (CA) Identity Suite includes the Symantec (CA) Directory. This component is installed under the ‘dsa’ service ID. On the virtual appliance, this ‘dsa’ service ID does not have a password defined, and therefore no login is allowed.

As an enhancement, we would like to add in a SSH private key to allow authentication to the ‘dsa’ service ID from other virtual appliances and desktop usage with various tools, e.g. Putty, MobaXterm, WinSCP, etc. This enhancement will allow for a streamlined process to address out-of-sync Directory DATA DSAs with scp/Rsync copies without intermediate file shares or use of other service IDs.


The virtual appliance of Symantec (CA) Identity Suite r14.3 is built on CentOS 6.4. The OpenSSH services on this OS apparently do not use a private key format that can be used by desktop tools or the PuttyGen (keygen conversion tool). However, the private key may be used between vApp servers if using the FQDN (full qualified domain name). We noted that during testing, that localhost is not allowed due to localhost not defined in the SSHD “AllowedUsers” property file.

On newer virtual appliances vApp r14.4 with CentOS 8 Stream, this challenge does not exist, and we can use the OpenSSH private key, id_rsa, with the desktop tools as-is.

To assist with challenge and streamlining this process we have the following three (2) options:

Option 1: On newer OS, use OpenSSH process

After creating the private key, ./ssh/id_rsa, cat this file out to notepad, and save for use with the desktop tools

Generate this OpenSSH private/public key. The final command will help to validate this private key may be used for server to server communication.

echo y | ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -N Password02 -C "$USER@$HOSTNAME" -f .ssh/id_rsa ; ls -lart .ssh ; cat .ssh/id_rsa ; cat .ssh/ >> .ssh/authorized_keys ; chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys ; ssh -v -i .ssh/id_rsa $USER@`hostname`

Option 2: Skip the OpenSSH process, use PuttyGen

On any OS (new/old) just use Putty-Gen tool to generate the private key. Update key comment/passphrase. After the private key is created, copy the TEXT “Public Key for pasting into OpenSSH authorized_keys file”. Just like it says, and then you may use the associated private key, id_rsa.ppk, with the desktop tools for the ‘dsa’ service ID.

Option 3: Combination of processes/tools

Important: .ssh/authorized_keys is updated and not overwritten.

Be kind to your auditors – Streamline Adhoc Reports

One of the challenges that IAM/IAG teams may have every few months is delivery or access for internal/external auditors to validate access within the IAM/IAG system and their managed endpoints.

Usually, auditors may directly access the 100’s system/endpoints/applications and randomly select a few or export the entire directory structure to review access. This effort takes time and possible 100’s of entitlements to grant temporary/expiry access to view. Auditors also prefer Excel or CSV files to review rather than fixed documents (PDF) to allow them to filter and isolate what interests them.

One process that may have value for your team is various tools with export functionality to CSV/XLS and the ability to query the 100’s-1000’s of systems from a single entry point.

A tool that we have found valuable over the years is SoftTerra LDAP Browser.

The multiple benefits from this tool for IAM/IAG are:

  1. It is a read-only tool, so no mistakes can be made by granting too much access.
  2. It has the ability to save queries that are popular and can be copied from other tools.
  3. It has the ability to export the queries to CSV/XLS formats (plus others)
  4. It can be used to pull reports from an IAM/IAG solution via their directory ports.
  5. It can be used to pull reports from the managed applications (on-prem or SaaS) via the IAM provisioning directory ports.
  6. The tool is free from SoftTerra, it is a limited version of their Administration tool
Example of the SoftTerra LDAP Browser tool used to query Active Directory, LDAP user stores, and Provisioning User Store & managed endpoints/applications.

A view to export Service Now (SNOW) accounts via the CA/Symantec Identity Manager Provisioning Server/Service (TCP 20390) via the LDAP/S protocol.

Why? The provisioning server may be viewed as a virtual directory/pass-through directory to the managed endpoints via its connector tier.

The below image shows SoftTerra LDAPBrowser used to connect to the Provisioning Server (TCP 20390). Then navigate to a Service Now (SNOW) managed endpoint, to query on all accounts and their respective profiles & entitlements. This same report/extract process may be done for mainframe/AS400 and client-server applications, e.g Active Directory, Unix, Databases, etc.

Enhance this process with defense-in-depth

We will not use the primary default administration account of the provisioning tier, “etaadmin”. Since this account has full access to change data.

Within the IAM/IAG solution, create an auditor account.

In the example below we create a new Global User, with the name “auditor”, a description, password, and a local “read-only admin profile” with an expiration date. This will allow the auditors to use the account as they wish (or you may grant this “read-only admin profile directly to their existing Global User ID). The account may still follow the same password reset expiration processes. If the account is marked as “restricted” in the CA/Symantec IM solution, then this account is limited how it may be changed to avoid any unexpected sync challenges to managed endpoints (if it was correlated to other accounts).

After the new Global User is created (or existing ID is added to the Admin Profile “ReadAdministrator”), update SoftTerra Credentials for the Provisioning Service. Below the new DN with “auditor” is shown in the credentials for login ID, e.g. “eTGlobalUserName=auditor,eTGlobalUserContainerName=Global Users,eTNamespaceName=CommonObjects,dc=im,dc=eta”

Now, the auditors may run as many reports as they would like, and export to spreadsheets or PDF files using a read-only account with a read-only tool.

Honorable mentions for other query tools.

Jxplorer is a useful & free java-based tool for reports, but this is a full edit tool & only exports out to LDIF format.

Apache Directory Studio is another very useful & free java-based tool for reports. This is a full edit tool. It does have the ability to export to many different formats. Since this tool does NOT need an MS Windows installer, and if the Desktop prevent installation, this is typically our 2nd choice to use. Extract and use the current java on the MS Windows OS or download AdoptOpenJDK and extract it to use with Apache Directory Studio. &

SoftTerra LDAP Administrator is a paid and full edit tool. It has the same look-n-feel of the SoftTerra LDAP Browser tool. It is typically used by administrators of various LDAP solutions. We recommend this tool for your larger sites or if you would like a fast responsive tool on MS Windows OS.

If you have other recommendations, please leave a response.

Bonus Feature – SoftTerra AD Authentication

Both the SoftTerra tools allow binding using your existing authentication (on your desktop/laptop) into Active Directory. No need to create additional user ID for the auditors or yourself.

Perhaps the O365 or Outlook contacts process is not robust or too slow or perhaps you wish you had a more detail view of your internal active directory to view a manager’s direct reports. You can use this feature to view the the non-privacy attributes of your domain of all accounts with a read-only tool.

Step 01: Open a command-line prompt on your desktop/workstation after you have authenticated to your Active Directory domain & type set | findstr LOGONSERVER

Step 02: Install SoftTerra LDAP Browser Tool & Create a new profile

Step 03: Type the name of the Active Directory LOGONSERVER (aka Domain Controller) into the following fields & ensure “Use Secure Connection (SSL)” is selected (to avoid query issues).

Step 04: Click Next until you see “User Authentication Information” then select the radio button for “Currently logged on user (Active Directory)”, then click Finish button.

Step 05: After the profile is built, now click on the profile and watch it expand into a tree display of Active Directory. Select the branch that you believe has the list of users you would like to view, then select an individual user account, to see the values populated.

Step 06: If you wish to export this data to a spreadsheet (CSV/XLS), right click on the left object and select export option.

Step 07: You will have a series of options to export to & the file name it will write to.

Step 08: Advance search and export process. Select the branch that holds all the users you wish to view and export. Note: If the branch has 10,000 objects, this process may take minutes to complete depending on the query.

Step 09: The follow search windows will appear to help you create, save, and export your queries. Note that if you start to type in the field name, the list of the fields will start to appear.

Step 10: Ensure the FILTER is properly formed (use google to assist), and which attribute you wish to view or export is defined, then click search. If you are satisfied with your search, use the “Save Results” to export to a spreadsheet (CSV/XLS) or other format.

WAN Latency: Rsync versus SCP

We were curious about what methods we can use to manage large files that must be copied between sites with WAN-type latency and also restrict ourselves to processes available on the CA Identity Suite virtual appliance / Symantec IGA solution.

Leveraging VMware Workstation’s ability to introduce network latency between images, allows for a validation of a global password reset solution.

If we experience deployment challenges with native copy operations, we need to ensure we have alternatives to address any out-of-sync data.

The embedded CA Directory maintains the data tier in separate binary files, using a software router to join the data tier into a virtual directory. This allows for scalability and growth to accommodate the largest of sites.

We focused on the provisioning directory (IMPD) as our likely candidate for re-syncing.

Test Conditions:

  1. To ensure the data was being securely copied, we kept the requirement for SSH sessions between two (2) different nodes of a cluster.
  2. We introduce latency with VMware Workstation NIC for one of the nodes.

3. The four (4) IMPD Data DSAs were resized to 2500 MB each (a similar size we have seen in production at many sites).

4. We removed data and the folder structure from the receiving node to avoid any checksum restart processes from gaining an unfair advantage.

5. If the process allowed for exclusions, we did take advantage of this feature.

6. The feature/process/commands must be available on the vApp to the ‘config’ or ‘dsa’ userIDs.

7. The reference host/node that is being pulled, has the CA Directory Data DSAs offline (dxserver stop all) to prevent ongoing changes to the files during the copy operation.


SCP without Compression: Unable to exclude other files (*.tx,*.dp, UserStore) – This process took over 12 minutes to copy 10,250 MB of data

SCP with Compression: Unable to exclude other files (*.tx,*.dp, UserStore) – This process still took over 12 minutes to copy 10,250 MB of data

Rsync without compression: This process can exclude files/folders and has built-in checksum features (to allow a restart of a file if the connection is broken) and works over SSH as well. If the folder was not deleted prior, then this process would give artificial high-speed results. This process was able to exclude the UserStore DSA files and the transaction files (*.dp & *.tx) that are not required to be copied for use on a remote server. Only 10,000 MB (4 x 2500 MB) was copied instead of an extra 250 MB.

Rsync with compression: This process can exclude files/folders and has built-in checksum features (to allow a restart of a file if the connection is broken) and works over SSH as well. This process was the winner, and; extremely amazing performance over the other processes.

Total Time: 1 min 10 seconds for 10,000 MB of data over a WAN latency of 70 ms (140 ms R/T)

Now that we have found our winner, we need to do a few post steps to use the copied files. CA Directory, to maintain uniqueness between peer members of the multi-write (MW) group, have a unique name for the data folder and the data file. On the CA Identity Suite / Symantec IGA Virtual Appliance, pseudo nomenclature is used with two (2) digits.

The next step is to rename the folder and the files. Since the vApp is locked down for installing other tools that may be available for rename operations, we utilized the find and mv command with a regular xpression process to assist with these two (2) steps.

Complete Process Summarized with Validation

The below process was written within the default shell of ‘dsa’ userID ‘csh’. If the shell is changed to ‘bash’; update accordingly.

The below process also utilized a SSH RSA private/public key process that was previously generated for the ‘dsa’ user ID. If you are using the vApp, change the userID to config; and su – dsa to complete the necessary steps. You may need to add a copy operation between dsa & config userIDs.

Summary of using rsync with find/mv to rename copied IMPD *.db files/folders
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ dxserver status
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-main started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-notify started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-co started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-inc started
ca-prov-srv-03-imps-router started
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ dxserver stop all > & /dev/null
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ du -hs
9.4G    .
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ eval `ssh-agent` && ssh-add
Agent pid 5395
Enter passphrase for /opt/CA/Directory/dxserver/.ssh/id_rsa:
Identity added: /opt/CA/Directory/dxserver/.ssh/id_rsa (/opt/CA/Directory/dxserver/.ssh/id_rsa)
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ rm -rf *
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ du -hs
4.0K    .
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ time rsync --progress -e 'ssh -ax' -avz --exclude "User*" --exclude "*.dp" --exclude "*.tx" dsa@ $DXHOME/data
FIPS mode initialized
receiving incremental file list
  2500000000 100%  143.33MB/s    0:00:16 (xfer#1, to-check=3/9)
  2500000000 100%  153.50MB/s    0:00:15 (xfer#2, to-check=2/9)
  2500000000 100%  132.17MB/s    0:00:18 (xfer#3, to-check=1/9)
  2500000000 100%  130.91MB/s    0:00:18 (xfer#4, to-check=0/9)

sent 137 bytes  received 9810722 bytes  139161.12 bytes/sec
total size is 10000000000  speedup is 1019.28
27.237u 5.696s 1:09.43 47.4%    0+0k 128+19531264io 2pf+0w
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ ls
ca-prov-srv-01-impd-co  ca-prov-srv-01-impd-inc  ca-prov-srv-01-impd-main  ca-prov-srv-01-impd-notify
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ find $DXHOME/data/ -mindepth 1 -type d -exec bash -c 'mv  $0 ${0/01/03}' {} \; > & /dev/null
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ ls
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-co  ca-prov-srv-03-impd-inc  ca-prov-srv-03-impd-main  ca-prov-srv-03-impd-notify
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ find $DXHOME/data -depth -name '*.db' -exec bash -c 'mv  $0 ${0/01/03}' {} \; > & /dev/null
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ dxserver start all
Starting all dxservers
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-main starting
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-main started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-notify starting
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-notify started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-co starting
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-co started
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-inc starting
ca-prov-srv-03-impd-inc started
ca-prov-srv-03-imps-router starting
ca-prov-srv-03-imps-router started
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$ du -hs
9.4G    .
[dsa@pwdha03 ~/data]$

Note: An enhancement has been open to request that the ‘dsa’ userID is able to use remote SSH processes to address any challenges if the Data IMPD DSAs need to be copied or retained for backup processes.

Example for vApp Patches:

Note: There is no major different in speed if the files being copied are already compressed. The below image shows that initial copy is at the rate of the network w/ latency. The value gain from using rsync is still the checksum feature that allow auto-restart where it left off.

vApp Patch process refined to a few lines (to three nodes of a cluster deployment)

# On Local vApp [as config userID]
mkdir -p patches  && cd patches
curl -L -O
curl -L -O
screen    [will open a new bash shell ]
patch_vapp CP-VA-140300-0002.tar.gpg           [Patch VA prior to any solution patch]
patch_vapp CP-IMV-140300-0001.tgz.gpg
exit          [exit screen]
cd ..
# Push from one host to another via scp
IP=;scp -r patches  config@$IP:
IP=;scp -r patches  config@$IP:
# Push from one host to another via rsync over ssh          [Minor gain for compressed files]
IP=;rsync --progress -e 'ssh -ax' -avz $HOME/patches config@$IP:
IP=;rsync --progress -e 'ssh -ax' -avz $HOME/patches config@$IP:
# Pull from one host to another via rsync over ssh          [Minor gain for compressed files]
IP=;rsync --progress -e 'ssh -ax' -avz config@$IP:./patches $HOME

# View the files were patched
IP=;ssh -tt config@$IP "ls -lart patches"
IP=;ssh -tt config@$IP "ls -lart patches"

# On Remote vApp Node #2
IP=;ssh $IP
cd patches
screen    [will open a new bash shell ]
patch_vapp CP-VA-140300-0002.tar.gpg
patch_vapp CP-IMV-140300-0001.tgz.gpg
exit          [exit screen]
exit          [exit to original host]

# On Remote vApp Node #3
IP=;ssh $IP
cd patches
screen    [will open a new bash shell ]
patch_vapp CP-VA-140300-0002.tar.gpg
patch_vapp CP-IMV-140300-0001.tgz.gpg
exit          [exit screen]
exit          [exit to original host]

View of rotating the SSH RSA key for CONFIG User ID

# CONFIG - On local vApp host
ls -lart .ssh     [view any prior files]
echo y | ssh-keygen -b 4096 -N Password01 -C $USER -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
cp -r -p .ssh/ .ssh/authorized_keys
rm -rf /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar
tar -cvf /tmp/`/bin/date -u +%s`.$USER.ssh-keys.tar .ssh
ls -lart /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar
eval `ssh-agent` && ssh-add           [Enter Password for SSH RSA Private Key]
IP=;scp `ls /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar`  config@$IP:
IP=;scp `ls /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar`  config@$IP:
USER=config;ssh -tt $USER@ "tar -xvf *.$USER.ssh-keys.tar"
USER=config;ssh -tt $USER@ "tar -xvf *.$USER.ssh-keys.tar"
IP=;ssh $IP `/bin/date -u +%s`
IP=;ssh $IP `/bin/date -u +%s`
IP=;ssh -vv $IP              [Use -vv to troubleshoot ssh process]
IP=;ssh -vv $IP 				[Use -vv to troubleshoot ssh process]

Avoid locking a userID in a Virtual Appliance

The below post describes enabling the .ssh private key/public key process for the provided service IDs to avoid dependency on a password that may be forgotten, and also how to leverage the service IDs to address potential CA Directory data sync challenges that may occur when there are WAN network latency challenges between remote cluster nodes.


The CA/Broadcom/Symantec Identity Suite (IGA) solution provides for a software virtual appliance. This software appliance is available on Amazon AWS as a pre-built AMI image that allows for rapid deployment.

The software appliance is also offered as an OVA file for Vmware ESXi/Workstation deployment.


If the primary service ID is locked or password is allowed to expire, then the administrator will likely have only two (2) options:

1) Request assistance from the Vendor (for a supported process to reset the service ID – likely with a 2nd service ID “recoverip”)

2) Boot from an ISO image (if allowed) to mount the vApp as a data drive and update the primary service ID.


Add a standardized SSH RSA private/pubic key to the primary service ID, if it does not exist. If it exists, validate able to authentication and copy files between cluster nodes with the existing .SSH files. Rotate these files per internal security policies, e.g. 1/year.

The focus for this entry is on the CA ‘config’ and ‘ec2-user’ service IDs.

An enhancement request has been added, to have the ‘dsa’ userID added to the file’/etc/ssh/ssh_allowed_users’ to allow for the same .ssh RSA process to address challenges during deployments where the CA Directory Data DSA did not fully copy from one node to another node.

AWS vApp: ‘ec2-user’

The primary service ID for remote SSH access is ‘ec2-user’ for the Amazon AWS is already deployed with a .ssh RSA private/public key. This is a requirement for AWS deployments and has been enabled to use this process.

This feature allows for access to be via the private key from a remote SSH session using Putty/MobaXterm or similar tools. Another feature may be leveraged by updating the ‘ec2-user’ .ssh folder to allow for other nodes to be exposed with this service ID, to assist with the deployment of patch files.

As an example, enabling .ssh service between multiple cluster nodes will reduce scp process from remote workstations. Prior, if there were five (5) vApp nodes, to patch them would require uploading the patch direct to each of the five (5) nodes. With enabling .ssh service between all nodes for the ‘ec2-user’ service ID, we only need to upload patches to one (1) node, then use a scp process to push these patch file(s) from one node to another cluster node.

On-Prem vApp: ‘config’

We wish to emulate this process for on-prem vApp servers to reduce I/O for any files to be uploaded and/or shared.

This process has strong value when CA Directory *.db files are out-of-sync or during initial deployment, there may be network issues and/or WAN latency.

Below is an example to create and/or rotate the private/public SSH RSA files for the ‘config’ service ID.

An example to create and/or rotate the private/public SSH RSA files for the ‘config’ service ID.

Below is an example to push the newly created SSH RSA files to the remote host(s) of the vApp cluster. After this step, we can now use scp processes to assist with remediation efforts within scripts without a password stored as clear text.

Copy the RSA folder to your workstation, to add to your Putty/MobaXterm or similar SSH tool, to allow remote authentication using the public key.

If you have any issues, use the embedded verbose logging within the ssh client tool (-vv) to identify the root issue.

ssh -vv userid@remote_hostname


config@vapp0001 VAPP-14.1.0 ( > eval `ssh-agent` && ssh-add
Agent pid 5717
Enter passphrase for /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa:
Identity added: /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa (/home/config/.ssh/id_rsa)
config@vapp0001 VAPP-14.1.0 ( >
config@vapp0001 VAPP-14.1.0 ( > ssh -vv config@
OpenSSH_5.3p1, OpenSSL 1.0.1e-fips 11 Feb 2013
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: Applying options for *
debug2: ssh_connect: needpriv 0
debug1: Connecting to [] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/identity type -1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/identity-cert type -1
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type '-----BEGIN'
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type 'Proc-Type:'
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type 'DEK-Info:'
debug2: key_type_from_name: unknown key type '-----END'
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa type 1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/config/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_5.3
debug1: match: OpenSSH_5.3 pat OpenSSH*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_5.3
debug2: fd 3 setting O_NONBLOCK
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1,diffie-hellman-group1-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit:,,,,ssh-rsa,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,blowfish-cbc,cast128-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-sha1,,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-ripemd160,,hmac-sha1-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-sha1,,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-ripemd160,,hmac-sha1-96
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none,,zlib
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit:
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit:
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: ssh-rsa,ssh-dss
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc,
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-sha1,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: hmac-sha1,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: none
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit:
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit:
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: first_kex_follows 0
debug2: kex_parse_kexinit: reserved 0
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-sha1
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-sha1 none
debug2: mac_setup: found hmac-sha1
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-sha1 none
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REQUEST(1024<2048<8192) sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_GROUP
debug2: dh_gen_key: priv key bits set: 141/320
debug2: bits set: 1027/2048
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_INIT sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_DH_GEX_REPLY
debug1: Host '' is known and matches the RSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/config/.ssh/known_hosts:2
debug2: bits set: 991/2048
debug1: ssh_rsa_verify: signature correct
debug2: kex_derive_keys
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 0
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug2: service_accept: ssh-userauth
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug2: key: /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa (0x5648110d2a00)
debug2: key: /home/config/.ssh/identity ((nil))
debug2: key: /home/config/.ssh/id_dsa ((nil))
debug2: key: /home/config/.ssh/id_ecdsa ((nil))
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic,password
debug1: Next authentication method: gssapi-keyex
debug1: No valid Key exchange context
debug2: we did not send a packet, disable method
debug1: Next authentication method: gssapi-with-mic
debug1: Unspecified GSS failure.  Minor code may provide more information
Improper format of Kerberos configuration file

debug1: Unspecified GSS failure.  Minor code may provide more information
Improper format of Kerberos configuration file

debug2: we did not send a packet, disable method
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering public key: /home/config/.ssh/id_rsa
debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
debug1: Server accepts key: pkalg ssh-rsa blen 533
debug2: input_userauth_pk_ok: SHA1 fp 39:06:95:0d:13:4b:9a:29:0b:28:b6:bd:3d:b0:03:e8:3c:ad:50:6f
debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).
debug1: channel 0: new [client-session]
debug2: channel 0: send open
debug1: Requesting
debug1: Entering interactive session.
debug2: callback start
debug2: client_session2_setup: id 0
debug2: channel 0: request pty-req confirm 1
debug1: Sending environment.
debug1: Sending env LANG = en_US.UTF-8
debug2: channel 0: request env confirm 0
debug2: channel 0: request shell confirm 1
debug2: fd 3 setting TCP_NODELAY
debug2: callback done
debug2: channel 0: open confirm rwindow 0 rmax 32768
debug2: channel_input_status_confirm: type 99 id 0
debug2: PTY allocation request accepted on channel 0
debug2: channel 0: rcvd adjust 2097152
debug2: channel_input_status_confirm: type 99 id 0
debug2: shell request accepted on channel 0
Last login: Thu Apr 30 20:21:48 2020 from

CA Identity Suite Virtual Appliance version 14.3.0 - SANDBOX mode
FIPS enabled:                   true
Server IP addresses:  
Enabled services:
Identity Portal      [OK] WildFly (Portal) is running (pid 10570), port 8081
                                              [OK] Identity Portal Admin UI is available
                                              [OK] Identity Portal User Console is available
                                              [OK] Java heap size used by Identity Portal: 810MB/1512MB (53%)
Oracle Database Express 11g [OK] Oracle Express Edition started
Identity Governance  [OK] WildFly (IG) is running (pid 8050), port 8082
                                              [OK] IG is running
                                              [OK] Java heap size used by Identity Governance: 807MB/1512MB (53%)
Identity Manager     [OK] WildFly (IDM) is running (pid 5550), port 8080
                                              [OK] IDM environment is started
                                              [OK] idm-userstore-router-caim-srv-01 started
                                              [OK] Java heap size used by Identity Manager: 1649MB/4096MB (40%)
Provisioning Server  [OK] im_ps is running
                                              [OK] co file usage: 1MB/250MB (0%)
                                              [OK] inc file usage: 1MB/250MB (0%)
                                              [OK] main file usage: 9MB/250MB (3%)
                                              [OK] notify file usage: 1MB/250MB (0%)
                                              [OK] All DSAs are started
Connector Server     [OK] jcs is running
User Store           [OK] STATS: number of objects in cache: 5
                                              [OK] file usage: 1MB/200MB (0%)
                                              [OK] UserStore_userstore-01 started
Central Log Server   [OK] rsyslogd (pid  1670) is running...
=== LAST UPDATED: Fri May  1 12:15:05 CDT 2020 ====
*** [WARN] Volume / has 13% Free space (6.2G out of 47G)
config@cluster01 VAPP-14.3.0 ( >

A view into rotating the SSH RSA keys for the CONFIG UserID

# CONFIG - On local vApp host
ls -lart .ssh     [view any prior files]
echo y | ssh-keygen -b 4096 -N Password01 -C $USER -f $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
IP=;ssh-keyscan -p 22 $IP >> .ssh/known_hosts
cp -r -p .ssh/ .ssh/authorized_keys
rm -rf /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar
tar -cvf /tmp/`/bin/date -u +%s`.$USER.ssh-keys.tar .ssh
ls -lart /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar
eval `ssh-agent` && ssh-add           [Enter Password for SSH RSA Private Key]
IP=;scp `ls /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar`  config@$IP:
IP=;scp `ls /tmp/*.$USER.ssh-keys.tar`  config@$IP:
USER=config;ssh -tt $USER@ "tar -xvf *.$USER.ssh-keys.tar"
USER=config;ssh -tt $USER@ "tar -xvf *.$USER.ssh-keys.tar"
IP=;ssh $IP `/bin/date -u +%s`
IP=;ssh $IP `/bin/date -u +%s`
IP=;ssh -vv $IP              [Use -vv to troubleshoot ssh process]
IP=;ssh -vv $IP 				[Use -vv to troubleshoot ssh process]

Home Assistant: Docker Lab


I was interested to see an intersection between Docker, VMware, and an application (Home Assistant) that users may wish to run on their laptops and/or workstations.

The Home Assistant application seemed especially valuable to business travelers/road warriors that would like a simple and flexible dashboard to keep an eye out for activity at home.

I have put together the following steps to be completed in thirty (30) minutes or less using community and/or non-commercial licenses.

This lab will cover the following solutions/applications: VMware player (free personal license), home assistant (open-source home automation platform ), Docker (automation of application on a prebuilt os), Ring Door Bell ( and (monitor of download speeds)

Please review and see if this lab may have value to your project team(s) to increase their awareness of docker and still have value for home use.

Ring Door Bell ( &

The above Dashboard image is the goal of this lab; to take advantage of the community tools for home automation, and enable your credentials to allow viewing/monitoring while on the road or at home. Additionally, we have added configuration to allow for bandwidth monitoring of download speed using the Netflix’s sponsored site.

Step 1: Create a single folder for download(s) and installation

Avoid clutter from VMware configuration and data files if allowed to use defaults. Otherwise, we may have files in two (2) different folders.

Step 2a:  Download the Home Assistant VMDK bootable disk image

We wish to pre-download this bootable image to be ready to be consumed by VMware Player (Note: If you already have VMware workstation, you may use it as well instead of VMware Player)

See the link below in the next step.

Step 2b:  Download the Home Assistant VMDK bootable disk image

The pre-built vmdk compressed file may be accessed under “Getting Started” and “Software Requirements”

Select the “VMDK (VMWare Workstation) link to download this file.

Step 2c:  Copy and Extract the VMDK from the compressed gz file

Suggest a copy be made of the vmdk file, as future steps will modify this file. The file is compressed with gzip, but you may use 7zip ( ) or other 3rd party tools to extract. The MS Windows built-in zip tool will not likely extract this file.

Step 3a:  Download a free, personal license copy of Vmware Player

If you already have VMware Workstation, you may skip these series of steps; or you may wish to install this VMware Player package along with your existing VMware workstation installation.

Step 3b:  Install Vmware Player, and designate for personal use aka “non-commercial use” when asked for license key.

During installation, when asked for a license, select “non-commercial use” for personal use on your home laptop/workstation.

Step 4a:  Start Vmware Player, and select “Create a New Virtual Machine”

Now we are ready to create our first Virtual Machine on our laptop/workstation. We will use a default boot-strap configuration to build the initial settings, then modify them for the Home Assistant pre-built bootable disk image.

Step 4b:  Select the following configurations to jump start VMDK

Choose a generic Linux Operating System and Version configuration. I selected “Other Linux 5.x or later kernel 64-bit”. Next, select the folder where the Home Assistance vmdk file was extracted. Rename your VM as you wish. I kept it as “homeassistant”.

Step 4c:  Allow discovery of the VMDK for Home Assistant

VMware player will recognize that a pre-existing vmdk file exists in this folder, and will warn you of this fact. Click Continue to accept this warning message.

On the next screen, select “Store virtual disk as a single file” to avoid the clutter of temporary files.

Step 4d:  Create the new Virtual Machine

We are now ready to complete the new Virtual Machine with default configurations.

Note: When this step is complete, please do NOT start/play the VM yet; as that will define default OS configuration settings; which we do not require.

Step 5a:  Edit the new Virtual Machine Settings

Now we are ready to adjust the default configurations to enable the use of the pre-built Home Assistant VMDK bootable disk file.

Reminder: Do NOT start/play the image yet.

Select the “Edit Virtual Machine Settings”

Step 5b:  Edit the new Virtual Machine Settings

Remove four (4) default configurations item

[ 1. Hard Drive (SCSI), 2. CD/DVD (IDE), 3. Sound Card, 4. Printer ]

Adjust the memory to 1 GB (1024 MB)

Do NOT click OK yet.

Step 5c:  Add correct Hard Drive Type (IDE) for bootable VMDK

Select “Add” button, to re-add a “Hard Drive” with Type = IDE. Select “Use an existing virtual disk”. This “existing virtual disk” will be the Home Assistant VMDK file.

Select Next button.

Step 5d: Select the “hassos_ova-2.xx.vmdk” file for the bootable existing disk

Select the Home Assistant VMDK file that was extracted. Ensure that you do NOT select the temporary file that was created prior with the name “homeassistant.vmdk”

Select Finish button.

Step 5e: Allow vmdk disk to be imported

You may convert or allow the VMDK to remain in its prior “format”. We have tested with both selections; and have not observed any impact with either selection.

After import, observe that the Hard Drive now has IDE as the connection configuration.

We will now expand this Hard Drive from the default of 6 GB (maximum size) in the next step.

Step 5f: Expand VMDK from 6 GB (default) to 32 GB for max disk size

Select “Hard Drive”, then in the right sub-panel, select “Expand disk capacity”

Update the value from 6.0 to 32.0 for maximum disk size in GB.

Click OK and observe the update on both panel windows for the hard drive.

Click OK to close edit windows. Reminder: Do NOT start/play the image yet.

Step 6a: Convert “BIOS” (default) to “EFI” type for new Virtual Machine

Last step before we start the image. The Home Assistant bootable VMDK disk was designed and configured for the boot-loader of EFI, instead of the older legacy “BIOS” boot-loader.

If you have VMware workstation/ ESXi server, you may have access to a GUI entry to adjust this virtual firmware bootloader configuration.

However, VMware Player does not expose this setting in the GUI. To address this challenge, we will use VMware documented method to directly update the configuration file for our new Virtual machine for one (1) setting.

Navigate to the folder where the VMDK was extracted. You will now see several other files, include the primary configuration file for our new Virtual Machine. Its name will be “homeassistant.vmx” . The “*.vmx” filename extension/suffix will contain hardware configuration for booting the VWmare VM server image.

Step 6b: Edit configuration file for new Virtual Machine

Use either MS Windows notepad.exe or Notepad++ or similar tool to edit the configuration file.

If the VM image was not started, we will NOT find a key:value pair with the string “firmware”. Note: If the VM image was started before we add in our entry, then startup issues will occur. (If this happens, please restart the lab from Step 4a.)

Append the following string to the bottom of the file & save the file.

firmware = “efi“

Step 7a: Start the new Virtual Machine

We are now ready to start our image and begin to use the Home Assistance application. Select our new Virtual Machine & click “Play virtual machine”.

Observe the screen for “boot-loader” information related to EFI. This will be confirmation that we did configure the VMDK hard drive image to load correctly and will have no unexpected issues.

Step 7b: Click within Virtual Machine window to “active” and then <enter>

The VM will boot fairly quickly, and you may notice the text will appear to stop.

Click within the VM window with your mouse, then press the <ENTER> key to see the login prompt.

Enter the login userID: root

Note: If you wish to re-focus your mouse/keyboard outside of VMware Player, press the keys <CNTRL> and <ALT> together, to redirect focus. Click back into the VMware Player window anytime to enter new text.

Step 7c: Discover IP address of homeassistant docker application

Now we get to play with some basic shell and docker commands to get our IP address and validate a port.

At the hassio > prompt, enter the text: login

This will give us a root shell account. To find our current dynamic IP address, that the VMplayer installation created for us, issue the following command:

ip addr | grep dynamic

To view the three (3) docker containers, issue the following command:

docker ps

This will display the status of each container. After 1 minute uptime, we can use the Home Assistant application.

To validate the actual TCP Port used (8123), issue the following docker command:

docker exec -it -u root -e term=xterm homeassistant /bin/bash -c “netstat -anp | grep tcp | grep LISTEN”

We will use the IP address and TCP port (8123) within a browser window (IE/Chrome/Firefox/Opera/etc.) on the laptop/workstation to access the Home Assistant application.

Step 8a: Login to Home Assistant Application with a Browser


When we first start the Home Assistant Application, it will ask for a primary account to be created. Use either your name or admin or any value.

If you plan to eventually expose this application to the internet from your home system, we would recommend a complex password; and perhaps storage in a key safe like LastPass or locally in Key Pass file.

Step 8b: Use detect to re-assign default location to your area

Adjust the defaults to your location if you wish. Use the “detect” feature to reset values, then click next. May use a mouse to assist with refinement of location on the embedded map feature.

Step 8c: Home Assistant Landing Page

Click Finish to skip the question about early integration.

Now we are at the Landing Page for Home Assistant. Congratulations with the setup of Home Assistant.

We now will configure two (2) items that have value to home users.

Step 9a: Enable the Home Assistance Configuration Tool

Before we add-on new features, we need to make it easy for us to adjust the Home Assistance configuration file.

Select the MENU item (three lines in the upper left window – Next to HOME string)

You will see a side panel of selection items. Select “

Step 9b: Select Add-On Store & Configurator Tool

Select the “ADD-ON STORE” displayed at the top of the window. Scroll down till you view the item “Configurator” under the section “Official add-ons”

Select the item “Configurator”

Step 9c: Install and Start the Configurator Tool

Select “Install” and “Start” of the “Configurator” Tool

Step 9d: Open the Web UI to use the Configurator Tool

Select the “Open Web UI” link. You may wish to save this URL link in your favorites or remember how to re-access this URL with additional updates.

After the landing page for the “Configurator” tool has loaded, select the FOLDER ICON in the upper left of the window. This will allow you to access the various configuration files.

Step 9e: Select primary Home Assistant configuration file (configuration.yaml)

Now select configuration.yaml from the left panel. The default configuration file will load with minimal information.

This is where we will make most of the updates to enable our home applications of Ring Doorbell and (download monitor).

Step 10a: Add & Ring Door Bell Add-On (with sensors/camera)

We are now ready to add in as many integrations as we wish.

There are 100’s of prebuilt configurations that can be reviewed on the Home Assistant site.

For Ring Doorbell ( and, we have already identified the configurations we need, and these can be pasted to the primary configuration file. We have also enclosed the references for each configuration.

# Download speed test for home use
# Ref:

      minutes: 30     

# Ring Doorbell     
# Ref:
# Ref:
# Ref:

  - platform: ring 

   username: !secret ring_username  
   password: !secret ring_password  

  - platform: ring

  - platform: ring

Step 10b: Save configuration.yaml file  & confirm no syntax errors

Click save, and validate that you have a GREEN checkbox (this is used for syntax checking of the configuration files for spacing and formatting).

After saving, click the FOLDER ICON in the upper left.

We will now add the credentials to the secrets.yaml file.

Step 10c: Select “secrets.yaml” to host the credentials

From the side panel, select the “secrets.yaml configuration file to add the credentials.

Step 10d: Enter credentials & save this file

Enter credentials in the following format.

# Enter your credentials here to keep them separate 
# from the default configuration file.

ring_password:  password_used_for_ring.com_here

Step 11a: Restart Home Assistance Application

Configurations are done. Restart the Home Assistance Application to use the configurations for and

Select “Configuration” from the left panel menu, then scroll down in right panel to select “Server Controls”

Step 11b: Restart Home Assistant Application

Select “Restart” and accept the warning message with OK. The connection will drop for 30-60 seconds, then the browser may reload with the prior screen. (If you saved your credentials in the browser password management section when “asked” by the browser). If not, re-authenticate with your Home Assistant credentials.

Step 11c: Extra – Monitor for Error Messages in Notification Logs

This section is ONLY needed if you see an error message in the Notification Logs, e.g. missing data in the secrets.yaml and/or incorrect credentials for

Step 12: Done – Site 1 & Site 2

Below example for one (1) site with just one (1) Door Bell Ring device and integrated with

Example with many devices integrated with

We hope this lab was of value, and that others take advantage of this prebuilt appliance with docker and vmware. Please share with others to allow them to to gain awareness of docker processes.

Extra of interest: AWS and Mp4 Videos

There are additional configurations that will allow auto-downloading of the mp4 videos from the AWS hosted site for Note the Video_URL for camera.front_door.

A view of the many pre-built integrations for Home Assistant

Additional Docker Commands for the Home Assistant Application

docker ps               [List all containers & running status; should see a minimum of three (3) running containers]
docker images           [List all images]
docker logs homeassistant   2>&1 | more
docker logs hassos_supervisor  2>&1 | more
docker logs hassio_dns
docker exec -it -u root -e term=xterm homeassistant /bin/bash   [shell]
docker exec -it -u root -e term=xterm homeassistant /bin/bash -c 'netstat -anp | grep tcp | grep LISTEN'  [validate network port TCP 8123]

Extra Step – Disable the annoying backspace keyboard beep within a VMware image for VMWare Player

VMware Player configuration item:

Add this line in C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Player\config.ini
mks.noBeep = “TRUE”

Enclosing a PDF of the lab for offline review

Connection test without telnet client

We have all worked on locked down hosts where the telnet client application is not installed and in the middle of a troubleshooting session comes the need to test network connectivity. But without the telnet client installed, it becomes challenging trying to validate network connectivity. We can utilize native tools and basic concepts to test this connectivity.

Below is how:

$ bash -c 'cat < /dev/null > /dev/tcp/'
$ echo $?

$? is a special shell variable that holds the exit status for the most recent foreground pipeline.

‘>’ is the redirect via the raw device /dev/<protocol>/<host>/<port>

An exit status of ‘0’ indicates success and any other value than ‘0’ will be an indication of failure to establish a connection. When the TCP socket is unavailable, it will take a while until the OS-defined timeout for the initiated connection to give up and most likely you will end up forcing an exit with Ctrl+C which also will yield a non-zero exit status.

Another one-liner can be used that will result in a ‘Port Open’ response only if the connection is successful.

$ bash -c 'cat < /dev/null > /dev/tcp/' && echo "Port Open"
Port Open

The next time you are stuck trying to figure out if a TCP port is open, and are without a telnet client, use these basics to validate connectivity.