Flash Memory in the Cisco ASA

Lazy Sunday. Catching up on all the episodes of Hawaii Five-0 that I missed while I was on vacation. I love this show’s pop sensibilities. The hypnotically catchy opening theme music. The weirdly retro TV violence that has no lasting consequences. Snappy cop talk. Wonderful saturated colors in their establishing shots of Hawaii, very reminiscent of Lonely Planet’s palette. It’s a sugary type of beauty, the same way that cotton candy is beautiful. Twilight Zone Hawaii, shiny, mint in the box.

Anyway, I spend most of Sunday with pop TV in the background while tinkering with my pet ASA.

The Cisco ASA stores all its boot images and config files on flash memory. The Cisco ASA 5505 model only has internal flash memory, but the higher-end models have a slot for inserting compact flash cards. This is the external flash memory.

If you want to display the contents of the flash memory,

show disk displays the contents of the internal flash memory
show disk0 displays the contents of the internal flash memory
show disk1 displays the contents of the external flash memory
show flash displays the contents of the internal flash memory
dir displays the contents of the internal flash drive, with file permissions

flash and disk0 mean the same thing to the ASA.

Output of a show flash command, displaying everything stored on the internal flash.


ciscoasa> sh fla
--#--  --length--  -----date/time------  path
   88  8312832     Sep 06 2007 07:28:12  asa722-k8.bin
   89  1868412     Sep 06 2007 07:28:26  securedesktop-asa-3.1.1.29-k9.pkg
   90  398305      Sep 06 2007 07:28:40  sslclient-win-1.1.0.154.pkg
   91  5623108     Sep 06 2007 07:29:48  asdm-522.bin
   93  8386560     Nov 06 2007 17:52:22  asa723-k8.bin
   10  4096        Nov 06 2007 17:55:48  crypto_archive
   94  14457072    Sep 29 2010 18:04:44  asdm-632.bin
   95  15243264    Sep 29 2010 18:06:32  asa823-k8.bin
    3  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:14  log
   11  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo
   12  43          Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo/coredump.cfg

129073152 bytes total (74399744 bytes free)

Since I am running the commands on a Cisco ASA 5505 model, which only has internal flash, I get the same output with the show disk0 command as I do with a show disk command.


ciscoasa> sh disk0
--#--  --length--  -----date/time------  path
   88  8312832     Sep 06 2007 07:28:12  asa722-k8.bin
   89  1868412     Sep 06 2007 07:28:26  securedesktop-asa-3.1.1.29-k9.pkg
   90  398305      Sep 06 2007 07:28:40  sslclient-win-1.1.0.154.pkg
   91  5623108     Sep 06 2007 07:29:48  asdm-522.bin
   93  8386560     Nov 06 2007 17:52:22  asa723-k8.bin
   10  4096        Nov 06 2007 17:55:48  crypto_archive
   94  14457072    Sep 29 2010 18:04:44  asdm-632.bin
   95  15243264    Sep 29 2010 18:06:32  asa823-k8.bin
    3  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:14  log
   11  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo
   12  43          Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo/coredump.cfg

129073152 bytes total (74399744 bytes free)
ciscoasa> sh disk
--#--  --length--  -----date/time------  path
   88  8312832     Sep 06 2007 07:28:12  asa722-k8.bin
   89  1868412     Sep 06 2007 07:28:26  securedesktop-asa-3.1.1.29-k9.pkg
   90  398305      Sep 06 2007 07:28:40  sslclient-win-1.1.0.154.pkg
   91  5623108     Sep 06 2007 07:29:48  asdm-522.bin
   93  8386560     Nov 06 2007 17:52:22  asa723-k8.bin
   10  4096        Nov 06 2007 17:55:48  crypto_archive
   94  14457072    Sep 29 2010 18:04:44  asdm-632.bin
   95  15243264    Sep 29 2010 18:06:32  asa823-k8.bin
    3  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:14  log
   11  4096        Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo
   12  43          Sep 29 2010 18:10:58  coredumpinfo/coredump.cfg

129073152 bytes total (74399744 bytes free)

In the directory listing, I see various ASA image files and ASDM image files. Some came preloaded with the ASA, some I have copied onto the flash memory. Notice something missing? Where are the config files?

What does the dir command do? Top-level directory listing only. You don’t get to see what’s inside subdirectories. But you get to see directory and file permissions.

ciscoasa# dir

Directory of disk0:/

90     -rwx  8312832     07:28:12 Sep 06 2007  asa722-k8.bin
91     -rwx  1868412     07:28:26 Sep 06 2007  securedesktop-asa-3.1.1.29-k9.pkg
92     -rwx  398305      07:28:40 Sep 06 2007  sslclient-win-1.1.0.154.pkg
93     -rwx  5623108     07:29:48 Sep 06 2007  asdm-522.bin
95     -rwx  8386560     17:52:22 Nov 06 2007  asa723-k8.bin
10     drwx  4096        17:55:48 Nov 06 2007  crypto_archive
96     -rwx  14457072    18:04:44 Sep 29 2010  asdm-632.bin
97     -rwx  15243264    18:06:32 Sep 29 2010  asa823-k8.bin
3      drwx  4096        18:10:14 Sep 29 2010  log
11     drwx  4096        18:10:58 Sep 29 2010  coredumpinfo

129073152 bytes total (74399744 bytes free)

No config files, though. An exploratory dir system: coughs up a single cryptic line.

ciscoasa# dir system:

Directory of system:/

1      ----  0           00:00:00 Jan 01 1970  running-config

Jan 01 1970? Looks like a zero-value timestamp. Or maybe the config files are in quantum storage. Appropriate. I feel like I’m looking for Brigadoon.

On TV, the fine-looking officers from Hawaii Five-0 are trampling all over the crime scene without booties, picking up shell casings with their bare hands. Geez. There’s something deep in my anal-retentive soul that rebels instinctively against such sloppy TV police procedures. I don’t care how cute you are, Steve McGarrett, you’re contaminating the evidence. Dude, haven’t you ever watched CSI? Put on a pair of damned gloves.

Additional Information:

Show disk command in the Cisco ASA 8.4 Command Reference.

Show flash command in the Cisco ASA 8.4 Command Reference.

Dir command in the Cisco ASA 8.4 Command Reference.

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One Comment

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