Cisco SSM On-Prem password recovery procedure

For a Cisco Smart Software Manager Test Drive installation I used the older version 8-202010 and I wanted to perform an upgrade to the latest version 8-202108. And of course it is a test drive, I did not save or wrote down the password :). In this document I’m describing how to perform a password recovery for a Cisco SSM On-Prem installation.

I found this password recovery process as a text file attached to a Cisco Community post by gliggins, therefore kudos to the author.

My virtual environment at home is based on XCP-NG, but the similar process can be used for VMware ESX environments.

Before doing any changes on the Virtual Machine it is advised to take a snapshot of the current state. The screenshot below shows the Virtual Machine snapshot in XCP-NG management center.

Cisco SSM On-Prem: VM snapshot in XCP-NG
Cisco SSM On-Prem: VM snapshot XCP-NG

For the password recovery process an ISO image of CentOS 7 is required. For me, the nearest mirror is University Frankfurt.

To boot from the CentOS 7ISO image, the ISO must be “inserted” into the DVD-Drive and in Boot options the DVD-Drive must be set to the first boot device.

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot options for CentOS 7
Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot options for CentOS 7

After the Virtual Machine booted from the CentOS 7ISO image, select as option Troubleshooting:

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select Troubleshooting
Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select Troubleshooting

The next option is to select Rescue a CentOS system:

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select Rescue a CentOS System
Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select Rescue a CentOS System

The CentOS 7 Rescue environment provides some options, the option (1) Continue starts the recovery.

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select (1) Continue
Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, select (1) Continue

The disk of the Virtual Machine is mounted from the Rescue system into the mount point /mnt/sysimage. This mount point can be activated by chroot /mnt/sysimage to perform the password recovery process:

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, mount and chroot /mnt/sysimage
Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, mount and chroot /mnt/sysimage

The next steps are to change the passwords for the root and admin accounts. This can be done by entering the command passwd and passwd admin and set two new passwords.

Cisco SSM On-Prem: Boot CentOS 7, passwd root and passwd admin account
Cisco SSM On-Prem: passwd root and passwd admin account

After the password change the Virtual Machine can be powered off. The Boot options should be set back to the “normal” boot order (HDD first) and the CentOS 7ISO image can be ejected. The Virtual Machine with Cisco SSM On-Prem should then start and present its login prompt. The changed root password should be checked as well, for example with su command.

Cisco SSM On-Prem: After successful password recovery
Cisco SSM On-Prem: After successful password recovery

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