PDM Overview

PDM Overview

The Cisco PIX Device Manager (PDM) is a browser-based configuration tool for configuring and monitoring the PIX Firewall. This is particularly useful for those administrators who lack a solid knowledge of the PIX Firewall command-line interface (CLI). By using a web browser to activate PDM, it can be used to configure and monitor multiple PIX Firewall units from a single workstation. Figure 22-1 shows the System Properties page of the PDM.

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Figure 22-1: PDM graphical interface showing the System Properties page

PDM facilitates configuring the PIX Firewall unit using a Windows-like interface with drop-down menus and browser features, which are then converted internally to the correct CLI commands for the PIX unit to process.

Configuration Wizards, such as the Startup Wizard and the VPN Wizard, provide step-by-step instructions through otherwise complex configuration tasks.

PDM monitoring features include real-time graphs and data, including connection, IDS, and throughput information for the selected PIX Firewall. You can view up to five days of historical data. The tabbed-page graphical interface with Windows Explorer-like controls on the left side makes it easy to check setting, configuration, or performance.

You can run more than one PDM session on a single workstation. The practical maximum number of sessions will vary depending on the workstation resources, such as memory, CPU speed, and browser type.

The time required to launch the PDM applet is dependent on the link(s) to the host station because the applet must be transferred from the PIX to the host. LAN bandwidth would obviously be better than serial links. PDM does support serial links of 56 Kbps; but 1.5 Mbps or higher is recommended. Once the PDM applet is running on the host workstation, the link speed has negligible impact.

Versions and Device Support

This book looks exclusively at PDM version 2.1, which works with PIX Firewall version 6.2 and newer. Version 2.1 can be used with the PIX 501, PIX 506/506e, PIX 515/515e, PIX 520, PIX 525, and PIX 535 units running at least version 6.2. PDM Version 2.1 also runs on the Firewall Services Module (FWSM) Version 1.1 for the Catalyst 6500.

PDM version 1.1 works with older versions of the PIX OS, up through version 6.1. Installation and operation instructions for PDM Version 1.1 are available on the Cisco web site.

Part III: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)