How to configure Cisco Configuration Professional Express

For those of you that are in need of an easy deployment solution for Cisco routers, the Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP) Express comes to aid. It is provided by default on many of Cisco’s new routing products and can be installed on many of their former products that have not been pre-loaded. Here, let’s take a look at what CCP Express provides and what it does not and how it can be used to speed the configuration of a device.

For those of you that are not aware, the Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP) application is a fully developed device manager that can be used on most of Cisco’s newer routing platforms (from 800 series up to 3900 series). It provides a simplified GUI that can be used by anyone; from those that have absolutely no familiarity with Cisco IOS or devices to those that are experts in the Cisco IOS CLI.

CCP Express is a very small, more simplified version of CCP that is loaded by default on currently shipping Cisco routing platforms (800 series to the 3900 series). The main difference in support between the full version of CCP and CCP Express is that the Express version is only supported on the latest Integrated Service Routers Generation 2 (ISR2) and higher running IOS 15.2(4)M2 or higher.

CCP Express is intended as a replacement for the web (HTTP) interface that formerly existed on many of Cisco’s platforms. Intended to allow an engineer to get the router up and running and on the network, it really is limited in what it can do beyond that. Once CCP is up and running, the idea is that the device can either be connected into a main management solution (like Cisco Prime) or be used with a larger device manager solution (like CCP).

The main (Admin view) of CCP Express shown in Figure 1 gives an idea of the tasks that can be performed.

Figure 1 – CCP Express Admin View

Figure 1 – CCP Express (Admin View)

CCP Express also offers the ability to provide an End User view; this is provided by a separate set of files that can be used to replace the Admin view that is installed by default.

To get either the Admin View or the End User View files go to the CCP download page (CCO Login Required). The End User view is shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2 - CCP Express End User View

Figure 2 – CCP Express (End User View)

For those that have obtained a Cisco device through Cisco or a Cisco approved distributor, it is likely that CCP exists already on the device and has been configured with an IP address on the primary interface (e.g. GigabitEthernet0/0) of 10.10.10.1/24 with a default username and password of ‘cisco’. For those of you that have received a device that has not been pre-configured, the following steps can be followed to get CCP Express up and running:

Step 1: Obtain the software

Go to the Cisco software download page, log in and download the latest version of CCP Express.

If setting up the device for the first time, then download the Admin View; if the plan is to eventually deploy the End User View you need to download those files as well.

Step 2: Configure the device to be reachable

The exact commands that are used for this step are outside the scope of this article. The device at this stage needs to be configured with an IP address on an interface that connects to the device where the TFTP (or FTP) server will live and from where the files will be uploaded.

Step 3: Extract and upload the files

Once the files have been downloaded, extract them. There will be two files that exist within each archive: ccpexpressAdmin**.tar or ccpexpressEndUser**.tar, and ccpExpress_ap_express-security.shtml.gz. The first file is the core CCP Express file, and the second file is used if the device being configured supports wireless; if it does not then don’t worry about that file. Copy the file (or files) over to the device, typically via TFTP.

If the device does support wireless, then the ccpExpress_ap_express-security.shtml.gz file should be copied in to the directory beginning with “ap-801-” or “ap802-“.

Step 4: Configure the device to support CCP Express (and CCP)

There are a couple of commands that are required to allow a web browser to connect to CCP Express, these include:

  1. Configure a Username with privilege 15: username username privilege 15 secret password
  2. Enable the HTTP and/or HTTPS server on the device: ip http server and/or ip http secure-server
  3. Enable local HTTP authentication : ip http authentication local

Step 5: Connect via a web browser and log in

At this point, the device is ready to be accessed. Launch a web browser and point it at the configured IP address. If using the default configuration this IP Address is 10.10.10.1.

The use case

The use case for CCP Express really centers on those looking for an initial deployment option and for those looking for a limited GUI that can be used, instead of CLI options, to allow for limited troubleshooting. It is certainly a vast upgrade from the previous Web (HTTP) front ends that have existed on previous iterations of Cisco’s router products. The ideal deployment solution for CCP Express is to get a device up and running on the network, and then allow the full version of CCP to be used from a PC to configure the more advanced features.

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