The newest Cisco training courses now use Cisco Configuration Professional instead of the older Security Device Manager product. This post highlights the features and screens of the demo version of this product. I chose the most current version 2.5. Since I find demo versions of Cisco Graphical User Interfaces especially useful for those professionals either studying for examination or practicing before using in a production mode, I will especially emphasize the installation in this first part of a two-part series.
First of all, I downloaded the >175MB .zip file followed by extraction and installation of the archive in a Windows XP virtual machine (VM) inside of a Windows 7 host. One distinct advantage of this approach is that changes to the requirements of a virtual machine (e.g. memory and disk space) are much more easily adjusted than with real hardware! My initial install attempt failed with one warning and a notification of the absence of two prerequisites. The warning was regarding the 512MB of memory I had allocated to the VM: it mentioned that the product might operate with errors or perform poorly. The prerequisites I was missing were a current version of Adobe Flash Player and Java.
I always choose to download the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) instead of the full install because I learned (the hard way!) that multiple versions of JRE can co-exist simultaneously on your laptop or desktop. This is needed especially for GUI management varying switches, routers, and other security devices from Cisco with differing ages and levels of operating systems. I found the latest JRE version 6 here. The Flash Player was more frustrating; the install pop-up was not specific, so I chose to download the latest (version 10.3) plug-in and reattempted the install — it failed with the alert that the Flash Player was not installed! Further research on my part revealed that the ActiveX version, found here, solved the problem.
Now that the install actually was successful except for the memory warning, I attempted the application by launching the following desktop shortcut:
What resulted was that the application would not advance beyond the “Loading user interface” screen. Heeding the installation warning, I increased the memory allocated to the VM to 1GB and the application loaded; however, it wasn’t readily apparent how to run it in the demo mode advertised in the release notes cited above. Further examination of on-line documentation followed by confirmation of the launch menu properties showed that the “-Demo” option needs to be added to the shortcut for the executable to run it in the demo mode.
Now that I had that straightened out, the demo mode version wouldn’t load with 1GB of allocated RAM for the VM; increasing this to 2GB was successful as shown here:
Just as I thought my problems were behind me, I could not navigate the interface without it being stuck in “Loading” until I increased the VM memory to 3.0GB! Fortunately my host machine had 8.0GB installed. Part II will show navigation of the features of this application.