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ASA 5505, Ten User Licenses Is Never Enough

Posted by Chris on April 19, 2012

The Cisco ASA 5505 offers three user licensing options, 10 users, 50 users and unlimited.  A licensed user is a device that communicates from the internal to external VLAN.  Unlicensed users are not allowed access to the external VLAN, which in almost every installation scenario equates to no internet access.

Even in a small branch office, ten user licenses can be cutting it close.  Consider the equipment typically deployed in a remote branch office with three employees.

Three Laptops
One Wireless AP
One Printer/MFP
Three Mobile Phones (using the wireless AP)
Two Tablets/iPads
Total – 10 Licenses

As you can see, its easy to max out a ten user license. Add a server and you’re over the ten user limit. Sure, we can save licenses by not allowing the mobile phones to use the wireless LAN. But, connecting to the WAP while int he office makes sense, provides a better end-user experience and could save a few dollars on their data plan.

Things are even worse when you consider deploying an ASA 5505 for a Remote/Home Office user. For this scenario let’s assume the 5505 will be deployed as the primary internet gateway at the users home. Let’s also assume there are three computer literate family members using the typical gadgets you would find in any connected home.

Two Desktops
One Laptop
One Wireless AP
One Printer
One Game Console
Two Amazon Kindles
One iPad
Two Mobile Phones (using the WAP)
One Roku/Apple TV
Total – 12 Licenses

We’re easily over the limit of ten users. The ASA was never intended to be a consumer device and considering the licensing model it’s easy to see why.

The Bottom Line
It’s time for Cisco to consider raising the entry level license for the ASA 5505 to 25 users. In the two typical scenarios illustrated above the ten user license is simply not practical and forces one to consider the more expensive 50 user license.  This is one of the reasons I recently replaced my home ASA 5505 with a Cisco RV-220W.  Granted it’s not a full featured as an ASA, but it has an integrated 802.11N WAP, site-to-site and remote access VPN capabilities and the option to add content filtering.  The ASA 5505 has become a nice addition to my home lab.

Posted in ASA, Cisco, Opinion | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Check Your Visio Autosave Settings…Right Now!

Posted by Chris on January 13, 2012

“Save early and save often”.  Too bad I wasn’t following that mantra this morning when after editing a Visio document for fifteen minutes, the power failed followed quickly by the failure of my UPS.  I lost the edits but the experience got me thinking about Microsoft Office Autosave settings.

In Office 2010, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint have Autosave and AutoRecover enabled by default.  The default setting is 10 minutes.  What’ s the difference between Autosave and AutoRecover?  In a nutshell, AutoRecover saves your entire workspace while Autosave saves the individual files you are editing.  More info can be found here.  AutoRecover has an added benefit of being able to recover previous versions of files as well.

Turns out, Visio 2010’s Autosave/AutoRecover features are not enabled by default, at least not in any of the installs I checked around our office.  Go figure.  Enable Autosave by going to File>Options>Save and check the appropriate box.

In Visio 2007, go to Tools>Options>Save/Open and check the checkbox.

That’s all for now, I’m off to get some replacement batteries for my UPS.

Posted in Troubleshooting | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Seven Habits Of Highly Ineffective IT Professionals

Posted by Chris on January 10, 2012

Are you tired of managers and co-workers interrupting your daily routine with their petty technology issues?  Then follow these simple steps toward the path to blissful isolation and marginalization.

 1.  Answer every technology question with “I hate”. 

Have a negative bias toward a certain vendor or product?  Your managers and peers love hearing you rant, especially if it’s your one and only experience with the product.  Support your position with plenty of generalizations and heap blame on the vendor.  Leave out any specifics; they just complicate your argument.

2.  Answer every technology question with “I love”.

Emotionally invested in a particular vendor or solution because it’s the only technology you’re familiar with?  Then make sure to solve every problem with that favorite vendor/product.  Spread the word to everyone about how great it is.  Leave out the part about it being the only solution you’ve ever deployed.  Keep your mind closed to other options.  Tunnel vision is good because it helps hone your shallow, singular focused skill set and lessens the chance of objectivity creeping into the equation.

3.  Interrupt others mid-sentence.

Always find yourself too busy to listen to the whole question?  Then begin formulating your answer before the question is asked.  It’s a good way of showing the other person that you place no value in what they have to say and that they need to be enlightened with your superior knowledge.

4.  When asked a pointed question, answer it with another question. 

Politicians are really good at this, with the respect they garner why not take a cue from them?

5.  Arrive late for everything.

Nothing says, “I’m more important than you” like being chronically late.  Make sure not to call/email/text ahead to let them know.  It consumes unnecessary bits on your mobile data plan.

6.  Dress like a slob. 

Ironing clothing consumes valuable time that you could spend gaming.  Keep all of you work cloths in the hamper. It lessens the chance of misplacing that pair of seven-year-old khakis and favorite t-shirt from the 1994 Inter-Op.

 7.  Break your promises. 

Make plenty of commitments, but don’t keep them.  Be ready with a litany of excuses and make sure to blame the vendor or consultant.  It’s always someone elses fault.  The buck stops with someone else, not you.

Posted in Opinion | Leave a Comment »