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Cisco ASA 5510 Issues with large configurations

I have recently found a “feature” with large configurations on ASA firewalls.

The Cisco ASA5510 has 1024KB of NVRAM, the customers configuration had grown to approx 2000 lines and was approaching 100KB when saving.

When this configuration was put on the ASA a variety of errors were seen (replicated on 8.2.3, 8.2.5, 8.4.3):

  • Unable to create high modulus SSH keys, but could create keys with modulus of 512
  • Error on write mem

           ERROR: Out of memory in nv_open()

           ca save all failed.

  • ASDM works before config  pasted in, but not after

  • Error on running any command

          *** Error: hist_save() failed on malloc

  • Error on show flash

FW# sh flash

--#--  --length--  -----date/time------  path

%Error opening disk0:/ (Cannot allocate memory)

After, optimising the config by summarising some /24s into /16s I removed approx. 400 lines of config, the config is now 85KB but everything is working correctly. For reference the config is so big because they have 120 site to site VPNs configured as backup connections for their WAN. Considering the ASA 5510 supports 250 concurrent VPN connections, this seems like a bit of an oversight!!!!

I have searched for a way to adjust the resources with no success, has anyone found a way to use more space in the NVRAM and have a larger configuration?