Cisco ASA 8.3 RAM upgrade

The Cisco ASA 8.3 is quite a major release despite the minor version number update. One of the major feature overhaul is the NAT. NAT and statics are no longer bound to an interface. It has moved towards an network object based approach. This opens the possibility of enabling global NAT statements. However, I’m pretty certain that as part of such a large change, more memory is consumed and Cisco has bumped up the memory requirements for almost each model of the ASA.

Table 1. Memory Requirements for Cisco ASA Software Release 8.3

Cisco ASA Model Default Memory Upgrade Required for 8.3 Upgrade Part Number
5505 10-User 256 MB No Optional: ASA5505-MEM-512=
5505 50-User 256 MB No Optional: ASA5505-MEM-512=
5505 Unlimited-User 256 MB Yes ASA5505-MEM-512=
5505 Security Plus 256 MB Yes ASA5505-MEM-512=
5510 256 MB Yes ASA5510-MEM-1GB=
5520 512 MB Yes ASA5520-MEM-2GB=
5540 1 GB Yes ASA5540-MEM-2GB=
5550 4 GB No Not applicable
5580-20 8 GB No Not applicable
5580-40 12 GB No Not applicable

Two models that I’m familiar with is the ASA 5505 (Security Plus license) and ASA5520. Despite the Cisco’s requirements for the ASA 5505 is only 512Mb, it was not picky on the RAM that was tested with. In fact, we stuck in a regular desktop DDR 1G ram into the ASA5505 and it took it, no questions asked. Similarly the ASA5520 took 4 x 512MB of regular DDR memory without a problem.

Disclaimer: I’m not recommending anyone to use non-Cisco RAM. Anyone who is upgrading their ram on any ASA should consult Cisco documentation and is liable for their own actions.

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About the Author

Alfred Tong
Author and owner of this blog. A Networking enthusiast, full time networking and systems Engineer. Generally curious about all things IT. Certifications: GIAC GSEC, CCNP-S, CCNP, CCSP, CCDP, CCNA, RHCE, JNCIA - FWV