From both a network and a security point of view, TACACS+ is
considered preferable to RADIUS; among other benefits, it enciphers
the entire conversation, rather than just portions of it, and can
provide more fine-grain authorization than RADIUS. Most Cisco shops
I've encountered consider RADIUS to be an unacceptable solution for
AAA. Cisco considers use of TACACS+ a best practice for AAA.

What I am looking for is a device on the network which provides AAA
facilities to network infrastructure devices, and which allows
provisioning of network infrastructure credentials through the same
interface and at the same time as systems credentials, and which keeps
those credentials synchronized.


O.K. fair enough. However TACACS is not on our roadmap. If you can demonstrate strong need by enterprise customers for TACACS it would be taken into consideration for a future version of the product.

The more practical solution which may be available to you would be to avail yourself of the PAM integration in the tac_plus project (but to be honest I don't see how that would give you any of the sophisticated features you cite as being a prime motivator for utilization of TACACS). FreeIPA is an open source project and from what you say so is tac_plus. I would imagine patches would be welcomed by both projects which would allow the tac_plus daemon to utilize IPA as it's back end. We would be happy to answer any questions for the person(s) who wanted to undertake this and contribute their work.

From what I can see it looks like the missing piece would be the ability to look up tac_plus user->group assignments from the FreeIPA/389 LDAP server. It looks like tac_plus has ""integrated"" the authentication with LDAP via PAM, but not the authorization. When building an authentication solution for network devices with FreeIPA, providing authentication via TACACS+ would be secondary, since you could have your Cisco device directly authenticate the user against FreeIPA using Kerberos. TACACS+ primary benefit is in the granular control of Authorization to network device services. If you can get tac_plus to reference an LDAP server for group membership, then you might have a reasonable solution. You would still need to assign the group's network permissions in the tac_plus configuration file, but that would be done once. Once the group access was defined, you could assign LDAP users to groups that match what's in the tac_plus config file.

This really requires the tac_plus team to code direct LDAP integration into their application similar to the way Freeradius can rely on an LDAP server as a back-end. The local PAM stack was not really intended to be a service that can be farmed out for other systems to use. It was meant as a way to provide access to local services running on that system. To use PAM for group membership (I.E. through the pam_listfile ACL) would require a separate tac_plus daemon and PAM configuration for each network device.

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