Re: [fw-wiz] Skip the PDM

From: Victor B. Williams (
Date: 11/20/03

  • Next message: Crissup, John (MBNP is): "RE: [fw-wiz] Skip the PDM"
    To: "Robert Fenerty" <>
    Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 09:38:12 -0600 (CST)

    It's all a matter of perspective really.

    Cisco devices aren't for the faint of heart...and really, if a client
    doesn't *need* to have a Cisco device present, why install it?

    However, I couldn't disagree with you more about PDM version 3.0. I
    think it's the best GUI for configuring any firewall on the face of
    the planet...and that's including all the firewall GUI interfaces I've
    used...the one included with WEBMIN for ipchains/iptables, lokkit, all
    the Linksys/D-link/SMC interfaces for their COTS firewalls, etc etc.

    Firewalls and their software isn't, and never will be a technology
    that's understood by the masses...if it was, there wouldn't be a need
    for this list. I think anyone who understands the methodology and
    functionality of a firewall should be able to configure one with or
    without the GUI interface.

    I've always done the basic setup of a Cisco firewall from the commmand
    line, and then proceeded with all the extracurricular stuff with the
    GUI (VPN connections, AAA authentication, etc). I think doing that,
    you mitigate any problems you might have. For the most part, once a
    Cisco device is setup with the IP addresses and routes on each
    interface, it rarely doing that through the GUI is going
    to be less efficient anyway.

    Robert Fenerty said:
    > Hi,
    > Although I sense that many subscribers to this list are the of the
    > ipchains/linux ilk, I thought I'd tell you about my experience
    > configuring a PIX 501 at a client's site. A pretty standard setup,
    > which took me THREE AND A HALF HOURS to install. I think we can all
    > agree that I'm not a firewall wizard. Maybe an apprentice to the guy
    > who mixes the mortar for the firewall.
    > The PIX Device Manager (PDM) is a GUI-based app that runs as a web
    > server on the PIX 501. The 501's a tiny SOHO box with a Command-Line
    > Interface (CLI) fairly similar to those found on Cisco routers. The
    > differences tripped me up a bit; like grep options on HP-UX if you
    > were
    > raised on Sun.
    > So to "speed things up" I tried using the PDM. Bad idea. In my
    > network
    > design, the office network uses the 172.16.x.y network to avoid any
    > routing problems that might arise when remote workers with 192.168.x.y
    > home networks connect to the office via software VPN.
    > So I tell the GUI that the "inside" interface is, and the
    > DHCP pool starts at .2. Specify the gateway, DNS, etc. and you're
    > done.
    > Right? Wrong. I'm guessing that the PDM just collects command lines
    > and sends them to the PIX.
    > The first error pops up when "ip address inside
    > conflicts with the factory default DHCP pool, which starts at
    > So the interface IP isn't changed. And the request to
    > change the DHCP pool doesn't match the still-unchanged factory IP
    > address, so that's ignored too. At least the PDM pops up error
    > messages,
    > and it was pretty obvious to me what was going on. So I fixed it
    > manually.
    > But the client paid $500 for this box. And a $100 Linksys or SMC box
    > wouldn't have had this problem. You'd think Cisco could do better.
    > Then the DHCP server on the PIX wouldn't vend IP addresses. No
    > sniffer
    > handy, so I tried various debug options on the PIX. Finally got an
    > error message from the DHCPD saying that DHCP wasn't enabled. This
    > was
    > odd, considering that "dhcp enable inside" and other dhcp settings
    > were
    > in place. I don't know what I did to kick start it, but it eventually
    > started lending everyone IP addresses from its stingy pool of 32 DHCP
    > leases. It was pretty easy to setup the rest of it.
    > Anyway, the point of this message was to say that the PDM is a rotten
    > little piece of software that only confuses things. So skip the PDM.
    > Robert Fenerty
    > _______________________________________________
    > firewall-wizards mailing list

    "Real men don't even use monitors! I've just got a guy that can draw
    real fast."

    Victor Williams
    Network Architect
    Election Systems & Software
    (402) 970-1100

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