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Updated:May 1, 2020
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This document provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the deployment, migration, and configuration of virtual Email Security Appliance (ESA) and virtual Security Management Appliance (SMA) devices.
Contributed by Dennis McCabe Jr, and Vibhor Amrodia, Cisco TAC Engineers.
Cisco recommends you familiarize yourself with these resources before deployment, configuration, and migration of your virtual ESA/SMA.
When replacing a hardware appliance (e.g. C190, M690), how do I know which virtual model to select?
In general, you'll want to replace the hardware model with a virtual model that starts with the same number. As an example, you can replace a C190 with a C100V or an M690 with an M600V. More information on sizing can be found here for ESA and here for SMA. If in doubt, please contact your Cisco Account Team or Reseller and they can provide additional sizing recommendations. If working with data that needs to be migrated (e.g. PVO quarantine), it is also essential to take into account needed disk space during model selection.
When should I deploy and/or migrate to a virtual ESA/SMA?
You can deploy a virtual ESA/SMA at any time and it is recommended if you need additional devices for load distribution or for backing up centralized SMA data. However, it would be extremely beneficial and important to move to a virtual ESA/SMA if your hardware appliance is going End-of-Life (EoL) or End-of-Support (EoS).
You can find the EoL/EoS notices for ESA and SMA below:
How many devices can I deploy using my virtual ESA/SMA license?
You can spin up as many as you like. Unlike a hardware license that is tied to a specific physical appliance, the virtual license can be used and reused for any number of virtual devices that you deploy.
Does a virtual ESA/SMA support Smart Licensing?
Smart Licensing is supported. You can refer to this document for more information on how you can go about enabling Smart Licensing on a virtual ESA/SMA:
Note: After enabling Smart Licensing, you might receive "Dynamic manifest fetch failure: Failed to authenticate with the manifest server" errors on the virtual ESA/SMA devices. This is a known issue and is documented here: Field Notice: FN - 70490
How would I plan a migration from a legacy hardware device to a new virtual ESA?
The process and overview of the steps included in planning the migration of the configuration from the legacy ESA devices to virtual devices would be similar to the documented steps in this article:
While the article is primarily for migrating from an x70 EoL hardware device to a newer supported x95, the Utilizing a vESA to Bridge Configuration to New HW (Cx95) section can be used for deploying a new virtual ESA and joining it to an existing cluster. Once joined to an existing cluster and the new virtual ESA has a copy of your current configuration, you can then decide if you wish to keep everything as-is, or if you then want to proceed with decommissioning your legacy hardware. If the latter, you can then remove the legacy hardware from the cluster.
How do I verify my virtual ESA/SMA is using the correct update server?
Hardware and virtual devices utilize different dynamichost servers when fetching updates (e.g. Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Etc.).
You can use the dynamichost sub-command under updateconfig in the CLI to review the current configuration. Do note that it is a hidden command.
Choose the operation you want to perform: - SETUP - Edit update configuration. - VALIDATE_CERTIFICATES - Validate update server certificates - TRUSTED_CERTIFICATES - Manage trusted certificates for updates > dynamichost
Enter new manifest hostname:port [update-manifests.sco.cisco.com:443]>
Hardware and virtual models use the following dynamichost servers respectively:
Note: Virtual appliances (e.g. x100V, x300V, x600V) should ONLY use the dynamic host URL of update-manifests.sco.cisco.com:443. If there is a cluster configuration with both hardware and virtual appliances, updateconfig must be configured at the machine level and then confirm that dynamichost is set accordingly.
How do I export a configuration file from one ESA/SMA and import it into another?
The following articles can be referenced for exporting and importing configuration files:
Note: Configuration files exported with masked passphrases cannot be loaded. Instead, they should be exported using the Plain or Encrypt passphrase option.
How do I load a partial configuration?
When migrating from a hardware appliance to a virtual ESA/SMA, or between different model types, it is common that you will not be able to simply export the configuration from one and import into another without modification. This is due to different disk sizing, the number of interfaces, AsyncOS version, Etc.
If this happens, you can contact Cisco TAC to assist, or you can try loading a partial portion of the configuration using the steps below: