DNA Center – Reinstall

If you messed up your DNAC or just want to start over, you can do so by downloading the ISO for the appliance. Get the ISO on the below link:

Download DNA Center ISO from CCO

After downloading the ISO, you must create a USB installer by using Etcher

If you use Rufus or any other tools for the USB installer creation, it might not work due to insanely long file names in the ISO.

You must also NOT mount the ISO with CIMC and install over the network. Although it might work, Cisco discourages using this approach, because they’ve seen many installs go bad. I’ve been there, too!

Be sure to read the release notes carefully! Especially regarding the order of which you install packages after the initial ISO install.

That’s it for this post. I hope you get your DNAC up and running! And remember that SDA is a journey and it will take time – a lot of time!


DNAC Integration with ISE using a self-signed Certificate

If you’re deploying a DNAC and you want to integrate with ISE, you might have read the following documents:

Perform Post-Installation Tasks
Cisco ISE Integration Limitations

I did and ended up with this error in DNAC when adding ISE:

Clearly this is a certificate error. The thing is that Cisco mentions that SAN (Subject Alternate Name) is essential for the trust between DNAC and ISE. They state this:

The IP address or FQDN of both Cisco ISE and DNA Center should be present in either the Subject Name field or the Subject Alt Name field of the corresponding certificates.

So I decided to use DNS for my SAN and got the above error! A colleague of mine decided to go with IPs instead which worked! Here is how you do it.

Create a file named req.conf with the following content:

[ ca ]
default_ca = CA_default

[ req ]
prompt = no
distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
x509_extensions = v3_ca

C = DK
O = MyCompany
CN = dnac.sda.domain.lab

IP.1 =
IP.2 =
DNS.1 = dnac.sda.domain.lab

basicConstraints = CA:TRUE
subjectAltName = @alternate_names
keyUsage = nonRepudiation, digitalSignature, keyEncipherment, dataEncipherment

copy_extensions = copy

This serves as a configuration file for openssl. Specify both the real IP of the DNAC(s) and the VIP.

Next, use openssl to generate a self-signed certificate like this:

openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem -days 1825 -config req.conf

The only thing needed is to upload the new certificate to DNAC. Browse to Settings -> Certificate and click Replace Certificate.

Click Upload/Activate and wait for 5-10 minutes. Refresh the page and you should be prompte to accept the newly (untrusted) certificate in your browser.

Now you can add ISE under Settings -> Authentication and Policy Servers

If it works, you should see this:

Now you must approve DNAC in ISE. Go to your ISE Web UI under Administration -> pxGrid Services

Here you’ll see this:

Select Total Pending Approval and select Approve all (click OK to confirm).

Now back to DNAC and you’ll see this:

All done. Success!

Deploy ISE PoV 2.3 OVA using ovftool

When you want to deploy the ISE Proof of Value OVA in a ESXi 6.5 this happens:

We create a new VM, specify the name and select the ova:

In the last step, you’ll receive an error that “A required disk image was missing.”

Most likely due to CSCvf26967

Instead of combining the 5 zip files you downloaded from box.cisco.com (.001-.005), you should extract them and use ovftool to deploy the vm.

You now have these files:

Deploy using ovftool:

ovftool --noSSLVerify --acceptAllEulas -ds="datastore-name" --network=network-for-vm -n=ISE-PoV-2.3 "e:\ISE 2.3-POV.ovf" vi://root:passw0rd!@ip-of-esxi-host/

This is what you’ll see:

After the deployment has completed successfully use the Web UI to change these values:

  • VM Compatibility
  • Guest OS to RHEL 7 (64-bit)
  • CPUs
  • Memory
  • NIC to E1000


ISR4321 Switch Module Not Working – CPLD Incompatibility

I recently had the pleasure of upgrading a ISR4321 router to Denali (16.3.5). If you have a NIM-ES2-8 for example you might want to be careful and check the CPLD version before doing the upgrade! Here is why.

Here the CPLD version is 14101324

The Firmware Version is the ROMMON version.

As of writing there is no way of correlating the CPLD version show in the output of show platform and the one you can download on CCO. And for ISR4321 there is only one version on CCO.

Why is this important? Well, if you upgrade to Denali this will show up in the log after the upgrade:

*Jan 17 2018 10:07:34.633 CET: %SPA_OIR-3-RECOVERY_RELOAD: subslot 0/1: Attempting recovery by reloading SPA
*Jan 17 2018 10:07:34.637 CET: %SPA_OIR-6-OFFLINECARD: SPA (NIM-ES2-8) offline in subslot 0/1

Router#sh hw-module subslot 0/1 oir
Module        Model                Operational Status
------------- -------------------- ------------------------
subslot 0/1   NIM-ES2-8            out of service(failed too many times)

After you upgrade the CPLD version the module will work again.

Router#show hw-module subslot 0/1 oir
Module        Model                Operational Status
------------- -------------------- ------------------------
subslot 0/1   NIM-ES2-8            ok

And as of writing this was not documented in the release notes or anywhere else in Cisco Documentation!

ISR4321 Software Upgrade – Signature Verification Failed

If you try to upgarde to Everest (16.6.2) you will probably hit a ROMMON bug due to the image footprint (being larger than 512MB). Specifically you will see this:

Turns out the bug is reported as CSCvg89038

If your router has a switch module installed, you might want to check out this post.

Cisco 4321 – Boot Loop

I had the opportunity to configure a new Cisco 4321 router the other day.

Opened the box and plugged in the power which by the way is via an external power supply that has a Mickey Mouse (C5) connector!

Waiting in excitement for the router to boot… After some time I realised the router wasn’t booting. The error was:

unable to open bootflash:xdsl/packages.conf (14)

My output from SecureCRT:

Great! Brand new out of box router from Cisco that doesn’t boot!

I put the router into rommon and looked at the flash. The image was there so I tried to issue the boot command and the router booted. After bootup I discovered that the Gi0 management port had an IP address assigned! Never seen that before. I did a wr erase and reload. Boot loop again!

I stumbled upon a Troubleshoot Cisco 4000 Series ISR Stuck in ROMMON article and tried the solution they suggested. And it worked! In short I did this:

Set configuration register to 0x0 which makes the router ignore the boot variable configured in startup-config.

rommon 1 > confreg 0x0
rommon 2 > reset

Next set the configuration register back to 0x2102.

rommon 1 > confreg 0x2102
rommon 2 > boot bootflash:isr4400-universalk9.03.15.01.S.155-2.S1-std.SPA.bin

The router boots and is able to boot again when reloaded!