MikroTik configuration revision control with rancid

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.