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Azure

Configuration of PPA should take around 15 minutes.

You will:

  • Secure the appliance
  • Set a strong admin password.
  • Provide an Active Directory server for user authentication.

Securing the appliance

After configuring the network, the next step is to secure it.

Connect to the appliance with a web-browser using the IP address shown in Vsphere or the cloud provider console.

PPA creates a self-signed certificate on first boot that will be reported as insecure by browsers:

Chrome - Browser warning

Manually verify that the connection is secure by viewing the certificate:

Chrome - 'Not Secure'

Scroll down and verify that the SHA256 fingerprint:

Chrome - Certificate

...matches the output of the fingerprint command:

Web Console - Fingerprint

Note

You can run the fingerprint command via the web console for VMware, console for HyperV, or via SSH for AWS or Azure.

When you are satisfied that the connection is secure, trust the certificate and proceed to the appliance's web UI.

Admin password

Back in the web-browser, PPA will ask you to choose a strong password for the admin local account:

Admin Password

The admin account has complete control over the appliance. It is recommended that you generate a strong password and store it in a vault or password manager, then switch to using an Active Directory account for everyday access to PPA.

Vault Setup

PPA will now offer to configure a local Hashicorp Vault for you:

Most tasks use the vault to securely store and retrieve secrets. If you already have an existing vault you wish to use you can skip this step and configure it later.

If you click "Setup Vault", PPA will take care of initial setup for you and allow you to download the master keys to the vault:

Put these in a safe place! You will need them when you reboot PPA.

Active Directory

[Recommended]

PPA can authenticate Active Directory users using LDAPS.

Security groups can be imported from Active Directory and used to delegate PPA tasks, roles, and permissions to groups of users. When a user signs in to PPA their group memberships are synchronised with Active Directory.

Basic Configuration

Note

To complete this step you will require:

  • The Active Directory domain you wish to use for authentication, plus the host and LDAPS port if it is not resolvable.

Login to the web interface as admin and then click on the 'Configuration' menu item. Find the Active Directory tile and click the 'Configure' button:

Configure Active Directory

This will open a two-step dialog:

Configure Active Directory: Form

Network settings

You will need to provide the following information:

Setting Description Default
Domain The domain used by Active Directory None
Host The host and port LDAPS is listening on. The host returned by a DNS lookup for Domain

Then click 'Save'.

Credentials

You will need to provide a username and password to test authentication to Active Directory. These credentials will not be saved on the appliance.

Click 'Test Connection' to confirm that PPA can successfully authenticate to Active Directory.

The Active Directory host and domain will be saved to PPA following a successful connection.

Importing Groups

Navigate to the PPA Groups page, and click the 'Import Groups' button to open a two-step dialog:

Configure Active Directory: Groups

Credentials

You will need to provide a username and password to search for groups in Active Directory.

If you are logged in as a domain user, you can opt to use your current Active Directory credentials.

If not, you will need to provide credentials. These credentials will not be saved on the appliance.

Find Groups

You can search for groups by name or search for groups within a particular Organizational Unit. You can move groups to and from the 'Selected' list using the 'Add' and 'Remove' buttons.

  • When you are happy with the 'Selected' list, click 'Import' to add groups to PPA.

Note

Users will not be synchronised from these groups, and must be imported from the Users page.

Importing Users

Navigate to the PPA Users page and click the 'Import Users' button to open a three-step dialog:

Configure Active Directory: Users

Credentials

You will need to provide a username and password to search for users in Active Directory.

If you are logged in as a domain user, you can opt to use your current Active Directory credentials.

If not, you will need to provide credentials. These credentials will not be saved on the appliance.

Find Users

You can search for users by name, or search for users within a particular Security Group or Organizational Unit. You can move users to and from the 'Selected' list using the 'Add' and 'Remove' buttons.

When you are happy with the 'Selected' list, click 'Next'.

User Summary

You can set each user's Authentication Type (if applicable) & "Can Start Tasks" permission (if you have available seats on your licence) from the User Summary.

When you are happy with the user settings, click 'Import' to add users to PPA.

Optional Configuration

Installing custom HTTPS certificates

[Advanced, Optional]

Replace the files at /var/disk/certs/https.key and /var/disk/certs/https.crt.

You can use ssh:

tar -c https.key https.crt | ssh support@<address> -C "tar -x --no-same-owner -C /tmp/"

ssh support@<address> -C "sudo mv /tmp/https.* /var/disk/certs/https.*"

or edit the files using vim or nano.

Reboot the appliance.

Network monitoring with SNMP

[Optional]

PPA supports SNMP for network monitoring. The SNMP agent can be configured by replacing the file at /var/disk/config/snmpd.conf. The default configuration provides read-only access to the standard MIBs.

Warning

Make sure that your SNMP Manager can communicate with the SNMP agent running on PPA. It will require access on port 161 via UDP.

To customise the SNMP configuration you can use ssh to connect to the appliance, and then edit the file using vim or nano.

Reboot the appliance to propagate your changes.

Logging to an external Syslog server

[Optional]

PPA can be configured to send logs to an external Syslog server, providing a comprehensive audit trail for all user activity.

  • Navigate to the PPA Configuration page, and click 'Configure' on the Syslog card.

  • Add the correct Host, Protocol and Certificates (if required), and check enabled.

You should now be able to view the PPA logs in your Syslog server.

Warning

Make sure that PPA is permitted to communicate with your Syslog server on the correct port and protocol.

You can read more about the log messages emitted by the appliance at Event Logging with PPA.

Sending emails with SMTP

[Optional]

PPA can be configured to use an external SMTP server to send emails as part of a task workflow.

  • Navigate to the PPA Configuration page, and click 'Configure' on the SMTP card.
  • Add the correct settings including authentication credentials (if required).

You can now use the SMTP server in your tasks with the Events Module - Notification Functions.

Single sign-on with SAML

[Optional]

PPA can be configured to enable SSO with SAML.

  • Navigate to the PPA Configuration page, and click 'Configure' on the SAML card.
  • Add the correct Identity Provider Metadata URL, Service Provider Entity ID, Encryption Key and Encryption Certificate (if Assertion Encryption required), and check enabled.
  • You can optionally provide a Signing Key and Signing Certificate. If none provided, PPA will auto-generate them.

The following attribute statements are required in the assertions sent by your Identity Provider:

Attribute Statements
  • username and object_sid: Must reflect the equivalent Active Directory fields so that PPA can correctly match a user login via SAML to an AD user.
  • name and email: Recommended.
Group Attribute statements
  • groups: Must reflect the user information held in Active Directory, since PPA uses AD groups to determine user roles and permissions

Warning

Identity Providers sometimes use different terminology for common SAML concepts. You will probably need to read the documentation for your particular IDP to work out how to integrate with PPA.

Testing single sign-on

  • Navigate to the Users page and set your AD domain user to use SAML authentication.
  • Logout then attempt to login with your AD domain user and you should be automatically redirected to authenticate with your IDP.
  • Following authentication with your IDP, you should be redirected back to PPA.

Enabling Kerberos Authentication Support in tasks

[Optional]

PPA can be configured to generate a Kerberos ticket-granting ticket (TGT) that can be used for authenticating to devices as part of a task.

  • Navigate to the PPA Configuration page, and click 'Configure' on the Kerberos card.
  • Add the correct settings including authentication credentials.
  • You can optionally provide a custom configuration to be used when generating the TGT.

You can now use Kerberos authentication in tasks by enabling 'Use Kerberos' in the Playbook Metadata form.

Note: If a custom configuration is not provided, a configuration will be automatically generated.

Complete

After setting a password for admin you will be asked to log in.

Setup is now complete.