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Restore RSA 7.1 primary database and RADIUS config

A few days ago I was troubleshooting a problem with an ISA array after upgrading the VMware environment as you can read in this article. I had a same kind of problem with a RSA environment. After upgrading the VMware Tools and the Virtual Hardware, the RSA database didn’t start anymore. RSA noticed to much changes on the guest host, so we had to revert back to the “old” virtual machine.

To upgrade the VMware Tools and the Virtual Hardware I had to install a new server and restore the RSA primary database on the new server. The process for restoring the primary database can also be found in the RSA Administrator’s Guide.

There are two methods to restore the primary database:

  1. 1. Restore the database directly to the primary instance;
  2. 2. Promote a replica instance to be the new primary instance and restore the database to this primary instance;

I decided to use the first method, since we didn’t use a replica instance, and started installing a new server. I installed the new server under VMware. After the pre-installation I moved the server to another VLAN (port-group). I changed the hostname and the IP address of the new server to exactly the same hostname and IP address of the “live” RSA server. Next I installed a RSA AM7.1 SP2 primary instance with its default settings.

On the “live” RSA server I opened the RSA Operation Console to create a backup of the primary database (Maintenance – Backups – Create Backup).

rsa_backupThe backup process creates 3 separate files. This files need to be copied to the newly installed server. The *.dmp file is the file which contains the actual database configuration and is the most important. To restore the database on the new server, I had to take the following steps:

  1. 1. Remove all replica instances: Operations Console – Deployment Configuration – Instances – Manage Existing;
  2. 2. Stop all Authentication Manager Services on the server;
  3. 3. Restart the internal database: RSA Authentication Manager Database Server and RSA Authentication Manager Database Listener;
  4. 4. Open a new command prompt and change directories to %RSA_install_root%\utils;
  5. 5. Remove the primary database: rsautil setup-replication –a remove-primary;
  6. 6. Import the files into the database: rsautil manage-backups –a import –D –f absolute path, where absolute path is the absolute path and filename of the backup file, like C:\RSA_Backup\DB_Backup.dmp;
  7. 7. Reset the primary metadata: rsautil setup-replication –a set-primary;
  8. 8. Start the Authentication Manager primary instance;

The above steps help you restore the RSA database, but you still need to restore the RADIUS configuration separately. To restore the RADIUS configuration you first need to backup the RADIUS configuration from the “live” server. Creating a backup of the RADIUS configuration is very straightforward. You just need to copy the directory %RSA_install_root%\radius. To restore the RADIUS configuration on the new server, I had to take the following steps;

  1. 1. Stop the RADIUS server and make sure the RSA Authentication Manager is running: RSA Radius Server 7.1;
  2. 2. Overwrite the existing RADIUS installation directory with the backup data;
  3. 3. On the new RADIUS server, open a new command prompt and change directories to %RSA_install_root%\config;
  4. 4. Restore the RADIUS configuration: configUtil.cmd configure radius finalize-radius-restore;

The RADIUS server service is restarted automatically after executing the command above. After restoring the primary database and the RADIUS configuration you can shutdown the “live” server and change the network configuration (port-group assignment within VMware). The new server should be working directly. At least, it did for me.

If your configuration consists for one or more replica instances, you should perform the following steps for each replica instance:

  1. 1. On the primary instance, in the Operations Console, generate a replica package for all replica instances: Deployment Configuration – Instances – Generate Replica Package;
  2. 2. On the replica instance, in the Operations Console, provide the location of the replica package generated in the previous step;
  3. 3. On the replica instance, in the Operation Console, attach the replica instance: when the replica instance is successfully attached, all services on the replica are restarted;

If you use the On-Demand feature and you publish the RSA Self-Service portal via the reverse proxy solution, like a Microsoft ISA server, you should pay extra attention to the certificate chain configuration. The new server uses a different self-signed root certificate to sign the SSL certificate of the RSA Self-Service webpage. You need to import the new root certificate on the reverse proxy server and you should be ready to go.

Once I tried to restore the primary database with the second method (promoting replica to primary). This method wasn’t easy in my opinion and resulted in multiple error messages and an unsuccessful migration. I like the first method, because it is very straightforward and there isn’t a lot of downtime.

RSA AM 7.1SP3 Token Delivery

Using two-factor authentication is common when publishing remote services to the internet with components like Citrix NetScaler or Juniper SA appliances. RSA is a well-known provider of two-factor authentication mechanism.

Beginning with RSA Authentication Manager 7.1 people have the ability to use the On-Demand feature. This feature enables the delivery of token codes via SMS or e-mail. When using this feature you had to publish the RSA Self-Service website to the internet, so users can request a token code. The RSA Self-Service website is displayed below.


The procedure for opening a extra website to request an On-Demand token is difficult to understand for many people and increases the risk of problems and errors during the authentication process.

This behavior is changed in RSA AM 7.1SP3. With SP3 the Authentication Agent has possibility to generate the On-Demand token request on behalf of the user. The procedure to login to the Authenticaton Agent is:

  1. 1. Browse to the portal website
  2. 2. Enter your user credentials (username + password)
  3. 3. Enter only the token PIN code
  4. 4. The Authentication Agent generates the On-Demand token request and redirects the user to a website to enter the On-Demand token code
  5. 5. The user waits for the delivery of the token via SMS or e-mail
  6. 6. The user enters the On-Demand token code on the Authentication Agents website
  7. 7. The Authentication Agent validates the token code and displays the web portal

This way the delivery of token codes is less prone to problems and errors during the authentication process. I personally like this new feature.

User expiration with RSA AM 7.1

I noticed some differences in the user expiration between RSA Authentication Manager 7.1 and RSA Authentication Manager 7.1 SP2. When assigning a token to an user in RSA AM7.1, the user automatically gets an expiration date set on its user account. The default expiration date is one year. I cannot reproduce this same symptom with RSA AM7.1SP2. When I assign a token to an user, the user doesn’t get an expiration date set. I prefer this behavior above setting an expiration date on the user. Setting an expiration date means extra administrative burden for system engineers.


When an user account expires, the user doesn’t have the opportunity to log in on an Authentication Agent. When using the Real-time Activity Monitor, you will see an error message for the specific user with the reason “Principal account expired”.

I configured the reporting functionality to generate reports on monthly basis to filter all user account which expired within the next X days. You can use the built-in template “Expired User Accounts” to generate the report. Next I created a scheduled report to run every last day of the month. This way system engineers can proactively monitor which user account will expire in the near future. One drawback from the scheduled report functionality is lacking the ability to send the report to an mail account. You have to log in to the RSA Security Console to view the reports.


RSA 7.1 with On-Demand

RSA token security provides a way to strengthen the security on public services. Token authentication is most often implemented with hardware tokens. RSA 7.1 has additional methods of token authentication besides the hardware tokens:

  • Token delivery by SMS;
  • Token delivery by e-mail;

To enable the above features you have to install at least RSA 7.1 and obtain a On-Demand license, like shown below:


Next I will show you how to configure token authentication for the delivery of tokens through SMS and e-mail. My test environment contains a RSA Authentication Manager 7.1 with RADIUS server installed on a Windows 2003 R2 server under VMware. The RSA server has a LDAP mapping to Active Directory for authenticating users.


The first method explained is configuring RSA to deliver tokens to an e-mail address. The first step is configuring a SMTP server on the RSA server. In this scenario I create a SMTP connection to a Windows Exchange 2003 server. rsa-od-mailIn the Security Console, navigate to Setup – Instances and edit the instance you would like to use for the SMTP connection.

In the SMTP setup you need to configure the Hostname of the SMTP server and a “from” e-mail address. Some SMTP servers require authentication to use them as relay server. If your SMTP server requires authentication you can configure the appropriate user credentials. In my situation I only need to deliver mail to the domain, so I don’t need to configure authentication or assign relay rights to the RSA server on the Exchange server. If you would like to deliver e-mail to domains outside your mail environment, you have to configure authentication or relay access for the RSA server.

rsa-od-ena-mail After configuring the SMTP server you have to enable the ability to deliver token codes by e-mail. Navigate to Setup – Component Configuration – Authentication Manager – On-Demand Tokencodes in the Security Console. Enable the option “Delivery by E-mail” and choose the User Attribute to Provide E-mail Destination. This User Attribute is obtained by default through LDAP. In my scenario I use the e-mail field within Active Directory to obtain the specific e-mail address from a user.

rsa-od-user-mail From now on you can enable the usage of e-mail token delivery to your users. To accomplish this navigate to Identity – Users – Manage Existing and search for a specific user. Go to Security Tokens for the specific user and enable “On-Demand Tokencodes” and the specific settings, like shown in the picture. I configured an initial PIN for the user. The user should be able to obtain a token code through SMS via the Self-Service console. This portal can be reach via the URL: https://<ip address / FQDN RSA server>:7004/console-selfservice.

On-Demand token codes have a PIN code associated to the delivered token code. This PIN code is different from the PIN code of normal hardware tokens. I normally enable the On-Demand feature for a user and specify the first initial PIN code. After the user logs in with this PIN code, the PIN code needs to be changes. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. The user automatically receives a new PIN code, which is generated by the RSA server;
  2. The user has the option to manually specify a new PIN code;

rsa-od-token-policy Most often system engineers let the customers choose there own PIN code. Toggling between both settings is possible by changing the Token Policy. Changing the Token Policy is possible by navigating to Authentication – Policies – Token Policies.


To configure SMS token delivery you need some kind of method to send SMS messages. RSA and Clickatell have partnered to enable delivery of SecurID tokencodes to mobile devices via SMS/text. RSA Authentication 7.1 has a build-in method for delivering SMS messages through Clickatell. Click here to obtain more info about the partnership between RSA and Clickatell and how to register a (trial) Clickatell account.

The first step is to link a User Attribute from the Active Directory to RSA. This User Attribute contains the phone number for delivering the SMS. To such link navigate to Identity – Identity Attribute Definition – Add New.


Within Active Directory you can configure multiple Telephone numbers for a user. Because the SMS is sent to the users mobile phone, I enter the appropriate phone number under the mobile Telephone number of the users.

The picture shows how to configure the the User Attribute mapping. The Attribute Name is a user friendly name to identify the mapping. I choose Personal as Category and the Entry Type is optional. The users mobile phone number is displayed under Personal when editing the user.

The Identity Source Mapping defines the LDAP attribute to use for obtaining the mobile phone number from the user. This value has to be exactly the same as the LDAP value for the mobile phone number in Active Directory. I use Softerra’s LDAP browser to obtain this value from Active Directory. Softerra LDAP browser is a useful tool for browsing LDAP directories.


The configuration of the SMS service provider can be found under Setup – Component Configuration – Authentication Manager – On-Demand Tokencodes.

You need to enable the option “Delivery by SMS”, choose the previously configured User Attribute, select your country code and provide the credentials for your Service Provider.

You can now switch between token code delivery by e-mail and SMS. A user has the option to choose the preferred delivery method via the Self-Service console. Users need access to the Self-Service console to request a token code. The Self-Service portal needs to be securely published to the internet. This can be achieved by using a reverse proxy or some comparable solution. The following PDF contains a quick howto for publishing the RSA environment securely to the internet.

RSA 7.1 supported under ESX 3.5

More and more people would like to implement OTP (One Time Password) solutions. RSA is one of multiple vendors for OTP solutions. I also notice the wish to implement and support OTP with on-demand tokens, like SMS and e-mail.

RSA supports on-demand tokens, but the minimum RSA Authentication Manager version required is 7.1. Not only on-demand tokens, but also virtualization (like VMware) is very hot. For a long time, RSA 7.1 was only supported on physical servers. Running RSA 7.1 on a physical server doesn’t always perform very well, especially compared to RSA 6.1. This version performs well on a physical server as well on a virtual server.

RSA Authentication Manager 7.1 is now supported under VMware ESX server, hosting 3.5. You can check all supported platforms on the RSA website.

I guess I have to install this version under ESX to see how it performs, but maybe someone can tell me their own experience….