Posts Tagged ‘tacacs’

There has been some slight confusion and ambiguity around the “single-connection” configuration statement provided by Cisco switches and routers, including SAN MDS switches. As of this writing, Cisco Nexus 9000 NXOS switches on 7.0.3.I5.1 code do not support single-connection in their tacacs host configuration; however, certain MDS switches do. In either case, if you do find yourself wondering here for the answer, let me elaborate for you.

The purpose of single-connection is to multiplex all of your TACACS authentication requests using a single TCP oriented connection from the switch to the TACACS server. Using tac_plus, an open source TACACS server, you can absolutely set the single-connection bit from say, a Cisco 9706 MDS switch; however, upon packet analysis of any TACACS authentication requests you may discover the single-connection bit is set to 0.

Refer to draft-grant-tacacs-02 and scroll to the FLAGS section for an explanation of where you will, and should, see the single-connection bit set in the TACACS flag. Basically, you’ll only ever find the bit set in the initial setup of the connection so both the TACACS server and the client agree on single-connection TCP. Thus, instead of each and every TACACS request coming through as a unique TCP connection (essentially having to use multiple sockets, sockets being the 4-tuple of SRC IP, DST IP, SRC port, and DST port) the TACACS query and response messages are just carried over the single TCP connection.

If your system supports this, its worth attempting to see if it works as it can save some resources; however, your mileage may vary.