Cisco has over the years developed a reputation for robust, dependable and well supported products. Perhaps a bit conservative, but solid, well built, reliable choices. Choices that are especially well suited to those who are building networks with security integrated into the very fabric of the network itself rather than bolted on afterwards in a best-effort, jugaad or MacGyvered way. One thing we have not been known for is being particularly cheap.
Things have changed. While we still deliver the very best support and our products are still robust, they have these attributes while also delivering stellar bang for the buck. Case in point, a recent comparison done by Miercom where the Cisco ASA 5585-X went up against a similarly spec’ed and priced Juniper SRX3600 and beat it in handily in performance and power consumption at a price that is either roughly equal or cheaper than the Juniper box.
However, when looking at Concurrent TCP Connections, the tables turned, revealing a pretty significant advantage for the ASA. As shown in Figure 2, below, the ASA provided 10.0 million concurrent TCP connections, compared to 2.39 million for the SRX.
On the green front it gets even more interesting. Cisco as a company is big into green, with our EnergyWise being one example. Many of our execs are also personally into going green with home solar installations and the like, but green doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up performance. One example is the Tesla Roadster, a zero emissions electric vehicle that also sports a massive 295 ft lbs of torque at 0 rpm (!) and rockets to 60 mph (100km/h) in 3.7 seconds. I was recently checking one out at the Tesla store in Santana Row in San Jose and was surprised to see our own Tom Gillis with a big grin in some of their interactive displays. I think Tom fits in the little roadster better than I did
Getting back to ASAs and SRXs though, the Cisco green DNA shows through when you consider that at maximum load the Cisco used just 425 watts, while the Juniper consumed 1168 watts at idle, a significant difference, particularly when you factor in cooling as well.
Thanks to the Miercom folks for their efforts in the labs. We invite you to read the full report, here, and also invite you to check out the ASA page on Cisco.com, here.
As you think about the security of your company, employees, information and assets, what are the topics that are “top of mind” for you? What keeps you up at night?
Starting next month on the Cisco Security Blog, we will be sharing a series of “Top of Mind” blog posts from our security leaders. These experts from Cisco’s diverse security community offer a wealth of knowledge and experience on all aspects of security. They will share their top of mind concerns, considerations, approaches, and solutions as they focus on securing the Cisco enterprise. We believe the information they share will be important thought leadership, direction and guidance for you to consider applying in your own environments.
We welcome your input to keep this security dialogue interactive and relevant to you. In fact, we’d like to challenge you to use this forum to challenge us, by sharing your thoughts and concerns, and asking the hard questions that will lead us all to be more secure. If there is a specific topic you would like to hear about, let us know. We look forward to the discussion, so that together we can improve our collective security.
Other than semantics, what’s the difference between the two access control list configurations presented below? They both look much the same, in fact, but the key differentiation is one of context! Take a few minutes and read ahead…
ip access-list extended Access-Control permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 80 permit udp host 192.168.150.1 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 69 deny tcp any 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 23 deny ip any any access-list 150 permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 80 access-list 150 permit udp host 192.168.150.1 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 69 access-list 150 deny tcp any 10.0.0.0 0.0.0.255 eq 23 access-list 150 deny ip any any
Understanding ACLs (access-control lists), or moreover, the difference between standard ACLs, extended ACLs, VLAN ACLs (VACLs), and access-control entries (ACEs) — the individual lines that comprise an ACL — is a challenge in and of itself, but now you read a Cisco Applied Mitigation Bulletin (AMB) and see the terms iACL and tACL: great, another acronym and concept to grasp? You bet!
By now, most of us have heard Cisco executives utter the words, “Work is no longer a place you go, but what you do.” Now we’ve all heard hundreds of these snappy one-liners in our careers, written by some marketer for the sole purpose of making a particular presentation more memorable. And like you, I easily dismiss catchphrases soon after the completion of the presentation. But for me, this one is different – because it’s so true. In fact, looking back over just the past 10-15 years, I find it hard to believe how much technology has changed the way we all live and work.
Should we or should we not keep our security protocols and algorithms public? The debate has been going on for quite some time. It might even have taken place in the Roman Empire when Caesar Cipher was used to encrypt Julius Caesar’s messages. It has been the norm for a long time for all new security methods to be published externally in order to receive academic and public scrutiny, in a way so that they prove themselves.