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Cisco Defense Orchestrator

Deploy a Secure Device Connector on your own VM

When using device credentials to connect CDO to a device, it a best practice to download and deploy a Secure Device Connector (SDC) in your network to manage the communication between CDO and the device. Typically, these devices are non-perimeter based, do not have a public IP address, or have an open port to the outside interface. Adaptive Security Appliances (ASAs), Firepower Threat Defense devices (FTDs), Firepower Management Centers (FMCs), and Secure Firewall Cloud Native devices can all be onboarded to CDO using device credentials.

The SDC monitors CDO for commands that need to be executed on your managed devices, and messages that need to be sent to your managed devices. The SDC executes the commands on behalf of CDO, sends messages to CDO on behalf of the managed devices, and returns replies from the managed devices to CDO.   

The number of devices a single SDC can manage depends on the features implemented on those devices and the size of their configuration files. For the purposes of planning your deployment, however, we expect one SDC to support approximately 500 devices. See Using Multiple SDCs on a Single CDO Tenant for more information.

This procedure describes how to install an SDC in your network by using your own virtual machine image.  

Note: The preferred, easiest, and most reliable way to install an SDC is to download CDO's SDC OVA image and install it. See Deploy an On-Premises Secure Device Connector Using CDO's VM Image for those instructions.


  • CDO requires strict certificate checking and does not support a Web/Content Proxy between the SDC and the Internet.
  • The SDC must have full outbound access to the Internet on TCP port 443.
  • Review Connect to Cisco Defense Orchestrator using Secure Device Connector for networking guidelines.
  • VMware ESXi host installed with vCenter web client or ESXi web client.
    • Note: We do not support installation using the vSphere desktop client.
  • ESXi 5.1 hypervisor.
  • Cent OS 7 guest operating system.
  • System requirements for a VM with only an SDC: 
    • VMware ESXi host needs 2 CPU.
    • VMware ESXi host needs a minimum of 2 GB of memory.
    • VMware ESXi requires 10 GB disk space to support the virtual machine depending on your provisioning choice. This value assumes you are using Logical Volume Management (LVM) with the partition so you can expand required disk space as needed. 
  • System requirements for a VM with an SDC and a Secure Event Connector (SEC) for your tenant. (The SEC is a component used in Cisco Security Analytics and Logging.)
    • VMware ESXi host needs 6 CPU.
    • VMware ESXi host needs a minimum of 10 GB of memory.
    • VMware ESXi requires 10 GB disk space to support the virtual machine depending on your provisioning choice. This value assumes you are using Logical Volume Management (LVM) with the partition so you can expand required disk space as needed. 
  • System requirements for a CDO Connector and a Secure Event Connector (SEC). 
    • CPU: Assign an additional 4 CPUs to accommodate the SEC.
    • Memory: Assign an additional 8 GB of memory for the SEC. 
  • After you have updated the CPU and memory on the VM, power on the VM and ensure that the Secure Connectors page indicates that the SDC is in the "Active" state. 
  • Users performing this procedure should be comfortable working in a Linux environment and using the vi visual editor for editing files.
  • If you are installing your an SDC on a CentOS virtual machine, we recommend you install Yum security patches on a regular basis. Depending on your Yum configuration, to acquire Yum updates, you may need to open outbound access on port 80 as well as 443. You will also need to configure yum-cron or crontab to schedule the updates. Work with your security-operations team to determine if any security policies need to change to allow you to get the Yum updates.


Before you get started: Do not copy and paste the commands in this procedure into your terminal window, type them instead. Some commands include an "n-dash" and in the cut and paste process, these commands can be applied as an "m-dash" and that may cause the command to fail.

  1. Log on to the CDO tenant you are creating the SDC for.
  2. Click the User menu and select Secure Connectors.


  1. On the Secure Connectors page, click the blue plus button and select Secure Device Connector.


  1. Copy the bootstrap data in step 2 on the window to a notepad.
  2. Install a CentOS 7 virtual machine with at least the following RAM and disk space allotted to the SDC: 
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 10GB disk space
  1. Once installed, configure basic networking such as specifying the IP address for the SDC, the subnet mask, and gateway.
  2. Configure a DNS (Domain Name Server) server.
  3. Configure a NTP (Network Time Protocol) server.
  4. Install an SSH server on CentOS for easy interaction with SDC’s CLI.
  5. Run a Yum update and then install the packages: open-vm-tools, nettools, and bind-utils
[root@sdc-vm ~]# yum update -y
[root@sdc-vm ~]# yum install -y open-vm-tools net-tools bind-utils
  1. Install the AWS CLI package

Note: Do not use the --user flag

  1. Install the Docker CE packages

Note: Use the “Install using the repository” method.

  1. Start the Docker service and enable it to start on boot:
[root@sdc-vm ~]# systemctl start docker
[root@sdc-vm ~]# systemctl enable docker
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to
  1.  Create two users: "cdo" and "sdc." The cdo user will be the one you log in to run administrative functions (so you don’t need to use the root user directly), and the sdc user will be the user to run the SDC docker container.
[root@sdc-vm ~]# useradd cdo
[root@sdc-vm ~]# useradd sdc –d /usr/local/cdo
  1. Set a password for the cdo user.
[root@sdc-vm ~]# passwd cdo 
Changing password for user cdo. 
New password: <type password> 
Retype new password: <type password> 
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
  1. Add the cdo user to the “wheel” group to give it administrative (sudo) privileges.
[root@sdc-vm ~]# usermod -aG wheel cdo
[root@sdc-vm ~]#
  1. When Docker is installed, there is a user group created. Depending on the version of CentOS/Docker, this may be called either “docker” or “dockerroot”. Check the /etc/group file to see which group was created, and then add the sdc user to this group.
[root@sdc-vm ~]# grep docker /etc/group
[root@sdc-vm ~]#
[root@sdc-vm ~]# usermod -aG docker sdc
[root@sdc-vm ~]#
  1. If the /etc/docker/daemon.json file does not exist, create it, and populate with the contents below. Once created, restart the docker daemon.

Note: Make sure that the group name entered in the “group” key matches the group you found in the /etc/group file in step 17.

[root@sdc-vm ~]# cat /etc/docker/daemon.json
     "live-restore": true,
     "group": "docker"
[root@sdc-vm ~]# systemctl restart docker
[root@sdc-vm ~]#
  1. If you are currently using a vSphere console session, switch over to SSH and log in with the "cdo" user. Once logged in, change to the "sdc" user. When prompted for a password, enter the password for the "cdo" user.
[cdo@sdc-vm ~]$ sudo su sdc 
[sudo] password for cdo: <type password for cdo user>
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$
  1. Change directories to /usr/local/cdo.
  2. Create a new file called bootstrapdata and paste the bootstrap data from step 2 in the  this file. Save the file. You can use vi or nano to create the file.
  3. The bootstrap data comes encoded in base64. Decode it and export it to a file called extractedbootstrapdata
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ base64 -d /usr/local/cdo/bootstrapdata > /usr/local/cdo/extractedbootstrapdata
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$

Run the cat command to view the decoded data. The command and decoded data should look similar to this: 

[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ cat /usr/local/cdo/extractedbootstrapdata
CDO_TOKEN="<token string>"
  1. Run the following command to export the sections of the decoded bootstrap data to environment variables.
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ sed -e 's/^/export /g' extractedbootstrapdata > sdcenv && source sdcenv
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$
  1. Download the bootstrap bundle from CDO.
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ curl -O -H "Authorization: Bearer $CDO_TOKEN" "$CDO_BOOTSTRAP_URL"
100 10314 100 10314 0 0 10656 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 10654
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ ls -l /usr/local/cdo/*SDC
-rw-rw-r--. 1 sdc sdc 10314 Jul 23 13:48 /usr/local/cdo/tenant-name-SDC
  1. Extract the SDC tarball, and run the file to install the SDC package.
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ tar xzvf /usr/local/cdo/tenant-name-SDC
<snipped – extracted files>
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$
[sdc@sdc-vm ~]$ /usr/local/cdo/bootstrap/
[2018-07-23 13:54:02] environment properly configured
download: s3://onprem-sdc/toolkit/prod/toolkit.tar to toolkit/toolkit.tar
[2018-07-23 13:54:04] startup new container
Unable to find image 'ciscodefenseorchestrator/sdc_prod:latest' locally
sha256:d98f17101db10e66db5b5d6afda1c95c29ea0004d9e4315508fd30579b275458: Pulling from
08d48e6f1cff: Pull complete
ebbd10b629b1: Pull complete
d14d580ef2ed: Pull complete
45421d451ab8: Pull complete
<snipped – downloads>
no crontab for sdc

The SDC should now show "Active" in CDO. 

What to Do Next


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