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Cisco Defense Orchestrator

Deploy an On-Premises Secure Device Connector on your own VM

Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO) enables direct communication between supported devices and services to CDO via the Secure Device Connector (SDC). The SDC enables this communication by acting as a proxy between a remote location and CDO cloud services.

This procedure describes how to create an SDC for CDO, installed on-premise, without using CDO's OVA image. 

Note: The preferred, easiest, and most reliable way to install an on-premise SDC is to download our 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 your first 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 VM with a light-weight SDC and a Secure Event Connector (SEC). Use these requirements if you are installing a second, third, or additional SEC. The SEC is a component used in Cisco Security Analytics and Logging.)
    • 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 on-premise 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. From the Secure Device Connectors page, select the “Deploy an On-Premises Secure Device Connector” option

deploy an sdc screen.png

  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 15.

[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 into 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