Common AAA Requirements

This article describes sample configuration for most common AAA requirements. It covers default behavior of EOS and a basic configuration guide with respect to Authentication and Authorization through local, RADIUS and TACACS+. The article also includes sample TACACS+ config files and RADIUS dictionary files.


SSH Authentication

To have users locally authenticated, configure by entering the command:

Arista(config)#aaa authentication login default local

Other methods available are TACACS+ and RADIUS.

Console Authentication

By default console login will derive authentication method from the command “aaa authentication login default “.

To configure authentication method for console login different than the default method, configure:

Arista(config)#aaa authentication login console ?

  group  Use a server-group
  local  Use local database for authentication
  none   No authentication (always succeeds)

For example, if you want remote logins to use authentication method TACACS+ and console login to use local, the required configuration is:

Arista(config)#aaa authentication login default group TACACS+
Arista(config)#aaa authentication login console local


Authorization exec

By default, users open CLI session in user exec mode (irrespective of privilege level assigned to the user). To enable user privilege control on the access prompt in which a CLI session will open into i.e. in User exec mode (switch>) or privilege mode (switch#), configure:

Arista(config)#aaa authorization exec default ?

  group  Use a server-group
  local  Use local database for authorization
  none   No authorization (always succeeds)

Users with privilege level 0/1 will open a CLI session in user exec mode. Users with privilege level 2-15 will open CLI session in privilege mode. 

If you the see below error while running scp to the switch, make sure authorization exec is enabled and privilege level of the user is 2-15.  

% The 'scp' command is only available in privileged mode

Local role based command authorization

Without using command authorization, any user irrespective of privilege can run all commands.

To configure command authorization, enter the following command:

switch(config)#aaa authorization commands all default local 

Note: By default, the above “aaa authorization commands” command is disabled.


EOS by default has 2 roles pre-programmed:

role network-admin ----> Can run ALL commands
   10 permit command .*
role network-operator ----> Can ONLY run commands in privileged mode
   10 deny mode exec command configure|bash|python-shell|\|
   20 permit mode exec command .*

By default the username “admin” has the role of network-admin. Additonally, by default a user with no role defined assumes the role of network-operator.

You can change the above default role using command:

Arista(config)#aaa authorization policy local default-role no_access

To see the current logged in users and their user-roles use the command “show aaa sessions” (shown below):

Arista#show aaa sessions

Session    Username    Roles            TTY     State    Duration     Auth

---------- ----------- ---------------- ------- -------- ------------ ---------

1          admin       network-admin    vty3    E        0:45:25      local

16         test                         vty5    E        0:08:20      local

Authorization through RADIUS 

Switch configs

You cannot configure aaa authorization commands through RADIUS. You can, however, configure a RADIUS server to send role information and authorize users locally. This avoids sending each command to the server for authorization.

As the roles are locally defined on the switch, you need command:

Arista(config)#aaa authorization commands all default local
Arista(config)#aaa authorization exec default group radius local

Note: Make sure your authorization exec is also configured correctly for RADIUS Service.

RADIUS Vendor-Specific Attribute-Value Pairs

RADIUS server and client companies extend basic RADIUS functionality through vendor specific attributes. A dictionary file includes a list of RADIUS attribute-value pairs that Arista switches use to perform AAA operations through the RADIUS server.

Arista switches use the following attribute values:

Arista Vendor number: 30065 Attribute: Arista-AVPair 1 string

Acceptable string values for Arista-AVPair include:

  • “shell:priv-lvl=<privilege level of a user, 0-15>”
  • “shell:roles=<list of roles for a user>”


This is a sample dictionary file that identifies Arista RADIUS vendor-specific attribute value pairs.

# dictionary.arista
VENDOR           Arista    30065
#   Standard Attribute
Arista-AVPair    1

Authorization through TACACS+

TACACS+ Authorization supports attribute “priv-lvl” and “priv_lvl”.  If the reply from tacacs server contains any other mandatory attribute,  authorization will fail. To ignore unknown mandatory attributes, configure “tacacs-server policy unknown-mandatory-attribute ignore”.

If you are configuring authorization through TACACS+, you have to set permit/deny rules on the server itself. For each command, message will be sent to TACACS server for authorization. To enable authorization through TACACS+, use the command:

Arista(config)#aaa authorization commands all default group tacacs+ local

Sample TACACS+ config:

In this example, the customer requires user1 mapped to group 1 to have privilege 1 with just the authority to use the show commands, and user2 belonging to group 2 with privilege 15 and should be able to get into EXEC mode and execute all show and terminal commands.

On Server under /usr/local/share/tacacs+/tac_plus.conf:

user = user1 {
login = cleartext arista123 #enable
member = tacacstest1

user = user2 {
login = cleartext arista123 #enable
member = tacacstest2

group = tacacstest1 {
  default service = permit
  service = exec {
    default attribute = permit
    priv-lvl = 1

group = tacacstest2 {
  cmd = enable { permit .* }
  cmd = show { permit .* }
  cmd = terminal { permit .* }
  cmd = dir { permit flash.* }
  service = exec {
    default attribute = permit
  priv-lvl = 15

Role based Authorization through TACACS+:

Starting 4.18.0, Role based authorization through TACACS+ is supported. To use TACACS+ for role-based access control, run following CLI commands to configure authentication and authorization methods:

Arista(config)#aaa authentication login default group tacacs+ local
Arista(config)#aaa authorization exec default group tacacs+ local
Arista(config)#aaa authorization commands all default local

On the TACACS+ server, use attribute “roles” to assign role to the user and configure deny/permit rules for the role on the switch.

Console Authorization

By default, commands entered through the console do not require authorization. All console logins will enter in exec mode (switch>) and by default, EOS does not verify authorization of commands entered on the console port. To enable authorization for commands entered through console, configure:

Arista(config)#aaa authorization console

Console authorization method will now be derived from “aaa authorization commands all default <mode>” and “aaa authorization exec default <mode>

Removing admin credentials 

The “Admin” username cannot be removed from running configuration. To deny all commands for admin username, you can create a role as below and assign role to admin.

role no_access
   10 deny mode exec command .*
   20 deny mode config command .*
   30 deny mode config-all command .*
Arista(config)#Username admin privilege 0 role no_access secret #### 

Note: By default, the console does not go through AAA authorization

AAA Fallback

If the first service is unavailable, AAA will fallback to the next service mentioned. 

Aaa: %AAA-4-AUTHN_FALLBACK: Authentication method ‘group tacacs+’ is currently unavailable; falling back to next method for service ‘sshd’.

If AAA service is falling back to next service, check:

  1. IP connectivity to server
  2. Service is running on the server
  3. Key mismatch

If the user does not exist on the service mentioned, service does not fallback to authenticate/authorize locally.

Debugging Commands

show aaa counters
show tacacs
show radius
show aaa sessions
show aaa method-lists all

Additional Reading

  1. For information on AAA Accounting,
  2. For detailed information on AAA commands,
  3. For more information on TACACS+ RBAC Support,