I have a new deployment with FWSM in single context and ACE in multiple context. I need actually 3 contexts. what is the best mode of deployment of FWSm with ACE. I want to have the gateway of all real servers as the Firewall.
shall it be something like this - MSFC-> Fwsm -> ACE -> Real servers.
You don't need to match FWSM contexts to ACE contexts. You are quite right in what you say in that you could use one routed context on the FWSM use different interfaces in that context for each ACE context.
It all depends on hwo you want to organise it. For example it could be argued that having matching contexts allows for easier adminstration having both the FW ruleset and the ACE rules "tied" to each other. Also if you have separate depts. managing their firewalls/load balancers contexts are the way to go.
As i said before it often comes down to licenses/cost but yes it is possible to use only one FWSM context.
If you want the gateway to be on the firewall for the servers then you can't use transparent mode. If you do then your gateway would need to be either the MSFC or maybe the ACE module itself and insert the FWSM in transparent mode between the real servers and the gateway on the FWSM.
I haven't used it in that way so if you are looking to go this way i would stringly suggest testing.
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