Archive for February, 2014

MikroTik configuration revision control with rancid  

Posted at 10:28 pm in Uncategorized

The config revision control tool rancid (Really Awesome New Cisco confIg Differ, but not at all limited to Cisco devices) has proven extremely useful. Rancid notifies you if there’s been some changes to a device, and since it’s Subversion backed it’s easy to extract full configurations in case you need it. Rancid has been supporting MikroTik devices for some time now.

Rancid exists in a lot of Linux repositories, or it could be installed from source – how to do that is documented elsewhere. After installing rancid, here’s what was needed for rancid to keep an eye on my MikroTik devices.

First I created a readonly user across all MikroTik units, intuitively named rancid. To mass create this account, I used dsh – described in an earlier article. Make sure your Linux system’s rancid user is able to log in to your devices using SSH keys and not passwords.

Next step is configuring rancid’s authentication file, ~/.cloginrc. Even though a password is required in the file, setting the identity will make rancid use key based SSH logins. Here’s my .cloginrc for reference:

add user * rancid
add password * SomeGarbledPasswordThatWon'tBeUsedAnyway
add method * ssh
add identity id_dsa

To verify that rancid may log in to the MikroTik devices, try a manual login as the rancid user:

~$ ~rancid/bin/mtlogin

You should be logged in to the device, and in the device’s log you should see

publickey accepted for user: rancid+ct

Now that the rancid user is able to log in to your units, it’s time to move on with configuring rancid. Most rancid.conf settings work out of the box, I only had to change these to convince rancid to use Debian’s standard svn repo directory. Make sure the “rancid” user or group has the necessary permissions to create a new repo. I also created a group called “devices”.

CVSROOT=/var/lib/svn/rancid; export CVSROOT
RCSSYS=svn; export RCSSYS

After running rancid for the first time, a new repo has been created. Under ~rancid/var/ a “devices” directory has been created. In here you will find a file named “router.db”. Here you need to add your devices, like this:

When all this is in place, it’s time to allow rancid to run from cron.

Written by bjorn on February 2nd, 2014

Tagged with , , ,

Securely managing multiple Mikrotik units with dsh  

Posted at 9:01 pm in Uncategorized

dsh is a nice Unix/Linux tool for managing multiple systems efficiently, and I’m using it both at home and at work. In some distributions dsh has been replaced by pdsh, but no worries, pdsh is dsh compatible. Since all MikroTik devices running RouterOS might be managed over SSH, why not use dsh to manage these as well? Here’s a quick howto.

  1. Install ssh and dsh.
  2. If you don’t have one already, create an SSH DSA key pair:
    ssh-keygen -t dsa
    Do this with the Unix/Linux user account you’re managing the devices from. I strongly recommend securing the key pair with a password.
  3. Distribute the public part of the key pair ( to each MikroTik unit, using an existing account (e.g. admin). I used ncftpput for efficient distribution. The public key should now be visible in the “Files” folder on each MikroTik device.
  4. Now attach the public SSH key to a user account. I’ll use the admin account in this example. In cli, this is done with
    /user ssh-keys import user=admin
  5. Create a dsh group file, let’s call the group mikrotik (either /etc/dsh/group/mikrotik or ~/.dsh/group/mikrotik). Add the IP address or hostname of each MikroTik devices to this file, one unit per line. Specify the user name if required.

Sample group file:


You should confirm that SSH works fine with each device before expecting dsh to work. Example command:

~$ ssh admin@

When this works fine, you’re now ready to mass manage your MikroTik devices. A few useful commands are shown below.

Check for and download the newest RouterOS version to all devices:

~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/system package update check-for-updates'
~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/system package update download'
~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/system package update print'

Change admin’s password (note that this will leave the new password in your user’s shell history):

~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/user set password=ThisIsTheNewPassword admin'

Check if any device needs a firmware upgrade:

~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/system routerboard print'

Add a new user:

~$ dsh -g mikrotik '/user add name=NewUser disabled=no group=full'

Written by bjorn on February 2nd, 2014

Tagged with , ,