Cisco SmartNet Total Care setup tips and tricks

Cisco Smart Net Total Care (SNTC) Portal provides information such as Security alerts, Device details with Smartnet contract status, EoS/EoL notices. It is free and requires simple registration to get started. Cisco has tons of documentation on it so I’ll just cover some of the nuances I came across.

There are several ways to get data into the SNTC portal:

  • CSPC Collector
  • CSV File
  • Netformx Collector
  • SolarWinds NCM Collector

If you decide to run collector follow specs below. For Ultra Small go higher on HDD size as I’m already getting alerts on low disk space.

I went with the Cisco collector option. If you are running VMWare infrastructure then it is all easy. OVA files are all pre-built for you.

I had to run it in Microsoft Hyper-V environment and nowhere in the docs, I saw a reference to it so I went with ISO as the description suggested.

Created VM based on hardware specs as mentioned above, mounted ISO, started up. Setup does not require any user interaction which is Great! However, after reboot, I got stuck on this screen without any further notice.

This is where it got tricky. You need to do two things to proceed further. One is waiting! I had to wait about 30 min or more before it completed. And the second is disconnect ISO. When it rebooted the first time it went straight into install again. There is a brief 1-sec boot menu screen so if you are quick enough you can manually skip it but if you do not want to sit and wait for the install to complete I’d just disconnect ISO in VM settings while it is installing. Once I passed this hurdle the rest of the setup completed as described in the Cisco documentation.

Next obtain a registration certificate from https://services.cisco.com. You need to login with administrator priviliges and go to Library > Administration > All Collectors to generate a new CSP-C entitlement certificate.

Import certificate obtained during the registration process.

Next step is the device IP addition. You can discover devices by seed IP (which can take a while) or by manually specifying IP. No special formatting needed just copy/paste which is also Great!

Once done with the setup and initial discovery it will take you to the main screen. Do not forget to update to the latest patch level. No need to manually download/upload/install. All can be done from collector GUI. Great!

Recently I noticed version 2.7 does not allow GUI upgrades and you need to patch it from CLI manually. The process is a bit confusing and described here. User account setup discussed here. In the nutshell.

  1. SSH to collector IP with admin username. Use Adm!23min or Admin!23 for default password. You will be forced to change it on initial logon
  2. Run pwdreset collectorlogin 90 and pwdreset root 90 to set passwords for these accounts.
  3. Download patch from Cisco. About 800MB.
  4. WinSCP to collector with collectorlogin credentials. su – with root password. If either account gets disabled due to the incorrect password you will have to wait 30 min for it to auto-unlock
  5. cd to /home/collectorlogin, unzip downloaded file, cd to file folder and run ./install.sh JeOS jeos-****
  6. Run tail -f /opt/LCM/logs/apply to get updates on install. The install will take a long time so do it overnight.

Once upgraded proceed to other configuration tasks.

I also disabled annoying Captcha prompt.

When all patched up it is time to review managed devices and check how many devices were not discovered. GUI Interface is very intuitive and nicely organized. Great!

Quickly check for live and unreachable nodes under the Dashboard tab.

Verify device access and once access issues resolved re-run discovery. Discovery process is very quick. Great!

After all the devices successfully managed re-run collection with Collect menu command by highlighting collection profile and selecting Finish.

You can also automate data collection with Adhoc Data Collection profile.

Select devices for data collection.

And set time schedule when data collection should run.

To modify created collection profile select Manage Data Collection Profiles in the upper right corner of the screen. Then you can modify or delete the data collection profile.

Once collection finished then under Collected Data > Actions select  Export and Upload Data. This will initiate upload to Cisco Portal.

Monitor completion under Job Run Status.

Once job completed check status on the Cisco Portal. Success indicates all data was imported successfully. Sometimes, if you do it too often or portal is overloaded, it will say SILENCED. I never saw it clearing on its own so what I had to do is wait 24 hours and perform another upload from Collector and it completed just fine.

Once you have data populated you would want to add user access to this portal so other members of your team can access it. Go to the Portal and login with the user ID who has admin rights. Then expand Useful Links > Cisco Service Access Manager

Once on Access Manager go to User-Company Association and search for user Cisco ID or registered email.

Once found confirm company details and location.

Confirm User-Company association.

Proceed with User-Role Assignment.

Select proper Role from the list.

Confirm assignment.

If you want to delete user follow steps below.

Below are some of the Great! reports you get.

PSIRT report

List of Contracts with Covered devices

Detailed Inventory summary indicating what is covered and what’s not with LDOS reference.

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