If you need to open a VPN connections to Softlayers private network, you should do this via a browser, as described at http://knowledgelayer.softlayer.com/procedure/ssl-vpn-connections. From what I experienced, with Linux you would need to run a browser as root to follow the instructions.

Fortunately, there is another way: The command-line client. Using that is rather straight forward (except one gotcha).
1.        Download the VPN software from http://speedtest.dal05.softlayer.com/array/ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.zip
cd ~/Downloads
wget http://speedtest.dal05.softlayer.com/array/ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.zip

2.        Rename the zip file to bin (I tried to uncompress it, which failed miserably)
mv ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.zip ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.bin
3.        Make the file executable
chmod 777 ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.bin
4.        Execute it as root
sudo ./ArrayNetworksL3VPN_LINUX.bin

And your are done.

Now you can open up a VPN connections to Softlayer from the comfort of your command-line:
sudo /usr/local/array_vpn/array_vpnc -hostname https://vpn.ams01.softlayer.com -username [YOUR SOFTLAYER USERNAME] -passwd '[SUPER_SECRET PASSWORD]' &

Which should give you a

array_vpnc: VPN TUNNEL SUCCESSFUL!
message back.

A quick "ifconfig tun[x]" should also show a valid 10.a.b.c Softlayer IP adresss.
ifconfig tun1 
tun1      Link encap:UNSPEC  HWaddr 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00  
        inet addr:10.1.16.244  P-t-P:1.1.1.1  Mask:255.255.255.255
        UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST  MTU:1450  Metric:1
        RX packets:1 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
        TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
        collisions:0 txqueuelen:500
        RX bytes:20 (20.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)


If you can also successfully ping 10.0.80.11 or your server's private address,  you are successfully connected.
ping -c 3 10.0.80.11 
PING 10.0.80.11 (10.0.80.11) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 10.0.80.11: icmp_seq=1 ttl=253 time=35t4.6 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.80.11: icmp_seq=2 ttl=253 time=34.9 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.80.11: icmp_seq=3 ttl=253 time=35.1 ms

--- 10.0.80.11 ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2003ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 34.605/34.886/35.148/0.222 ms


Pro-tip: Use the VPN server of the Softlayer datacenter where your machines reside.  Apparently, there exists at least one Softlayer VPN Server for every datacenter:
  • https://vpn.dal01.softlayer.com for Dallas, Texas, USA
  • https://vpn.sea01.softlayer.com for Seattle, Washington, USA
  • https://vpn.wdc01.softlayer.com for Washington, D.C., USA
  • https://vpn.ams01.softlayer.com for Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe
  • and so on ...

I must say, that I was pleasantly surprised (again) by Softlayers support. I had a correct answer to my question in under 5 minutes after opening the ticket.

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This is the Blog of Martin Leyrer, currently employed as IT-Specialist at IBM Austria - IBM Software Group, IBM Collaboration Solutions.

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the positions, strategies or opinions of any former, current or future employer of mine.