ASA 8.3 Released


ASA 8.3 was recently released.  One welcome improvement was a new method of managing failover licenses.  Previously, ASAs in a failover pair each needed to have a license for a feature.  For example, let’s say that an ASA failover pair required a 100 session SSL license.  In version 8.2 and earlier, each ASA would have to have a license purchased for it.  With the new license method, one license would need to be purchased.  This license will be shared between the two ASAs in failover mode. 

The big question that arises is what to do with the existing licenses that exist on each ASA with 8.2 and earlier.  As part of the upgrade, the licenses are combined.  For example, say there are two ASAs, in a failover pair, running version 8.2.  They each have an SSL license for 100 sessions.  When the ASAs are upgraded to 8.3 there will now be one 200 session SSL license that will exist on the active ASA.  This license will transfer to the standby ASA if it becomes the active ASA.

One big caveat to look out for is the DRAM memory requirement for version 8.3.  The 5505, 5510, 5520, and 5540 models all require a DRAM memory upgrade to run 8.3.  The 5550, 5580-20, and 5580-40 models do not require an upgrade.


Managing Feature Licenses for Cisco ASA 5500 Version 8.3

Release Notes for the Cisco ASA 5500 Series, 8.3(x)

One response to “ASA 8.3 Released

  1. This seems to be a very good point. But all the firewalls are shipped with OLD DRAM so u need to purchase add on dram to support this image.

    The only positive point i see if you short of license then you can think of upgrading dram and image to 8.3.

    We had problem with 8.2 which cisco never and now they want us to upgrade the image.

    This is a very good information our management would be Jumping for the new investment would not be in vain with ssl vpn essentials.


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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

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He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.