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Aruba Airwave 8.2.4 and no CLI / shell access

BE AWARE: reading and applying this blog is at your own risk. Following the below procedure could affect the support validity on your Aruba AirWave appliance.

All AirWave firmware versions prior to 8.2.4 gave you shell access to the CentOS operating system. Once you upgrade from 8.2.3 to 8.2.4 you receive the message that the root user won’t be used anymore and you need to log in with the user ampadmin.

Your system has been converted to use AMPCLI. You may now log in as ampadmin. If you lose the password for ampadmin you may log in as amprecovery (password recovery) on the console to reset the ampadmin password.

Remove any OS user accounts you may have created to complete the securing of the system.

Once you log out, the linux shell will no longer be accessible.

Starting from 8.2.4 you only have a basic options menu and no shell access anymore. To me, this is a burden because I cannot install VMware Tools anymore or configure scheduled backups to offsite storage. Luckily there is a way to restore the shell access, but the guidelines below need to be applied directly after the upgrade from 8.2.3 to 8.2.4 and cannot be done on a new 8.2.4 installation.

Some additional information: /etc/passwd file stores essential information, which is required during login i.e. user account information. /etc/passwd is a text file, which contains a list of the system’s accounts, giving for each account some useful information like user ID, group ID, home directory, shell, etc. /etc/passwd contains the following entry before you start the upgrade.

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash

Just start the upgrade as you always do, but do not log off after the upgrade is completed. Take another look at the /etc/passwd file and especially the entry for the user root.

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/sbin/nologin

The entry changed and /sbin/nologin disables the shell access for the root user. Change the entry to the default value and you are good to go!!! You should still have access to the shell after logging off or rebooting the appliance.

AirWave & VMware Tools installation

It is recommended to install the VMware Tools before running the AMP setup. After deploying the AMP ova file and starting the VM, you can interrupt the installation process via CTRL+C. This gives you access to the AMP shell. Use the following steps to install VMware Tools on a HPE Aruba AirWave Management Platform appliance:

  1. From the VMware vSphere Client, open the console to the VM and select VM – Guest – Install/Update VMware Tools;
  2. Type mkdir -p /media/cdrom
  3. Mount the CD-ROM via mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
  4. Copy the installation file cp /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-*.tar.gz /tmp
  5. Unmount the CD-ROM umount /media/cdrom
  6. Extract the installation file cd /tmp; tar -zxvf VMwareTools-*.tar.gz
  7. Run the VMware Tools setup and install script by typing /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/vmware-install.pl –default (2x hyphen)

The installation will take a few minutes. After the installation is finished you can restart the VM via the command init 6 or reboot.

Check the VMware Tools installation after the reboot by interrupting the AMP installation again and type the command vmware-toolbox-cmd -vThis will give you information about the installed version of VMware Tools.

You can now start the AMP installation again via the command /root/amp-install.