This blog covers how to install Cisco ASAv boxes for use with Vagrant. Cisco does not provide an ASAv Vagrant box on Vagrant cloud but it is possible to create a Vagrant boxes out of the ASAv VMware ova. As you will see it is a bit more involved but well worth the effort. This post assumes that you already have a working Vagrant install.

Code versions used
  • ASAv - 9.8.1
  • Virtual Box - 5.1.26 r117224
  • Vagrant - 1.9.6
  • Ubuntu - 1604


Go to the Cisco software download section and search for ASAv. When you get to the product page download the .zip file.

A valid service contract to download the vASA images.

Import OVA

Browse to the location of the .zip file and extract it.

# extract zip file

unzip -d asav981

# output

  inflating: asav-vi.ovf
  inflating: asav-esxi.ovf
  inflating: boot.vmdk
  inflating: disk0.vmdk
  inflating: day0.iso

Remove the .mf files or the VM will fail to boot in Virtualbox.

# Remove .mf files

cd asav981
rm -f *.mf

In Virutalbox go to: File > Import Appliance... and browse to the folder of the extracted ASAv and import the asav-esxi.ovf file.

Edit VM properties
  • CPUs - 1
  • RAM - 2048 MB
  • Network Adapters - 1

Change the network adapter type to Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM) and select the tick box to reinitialize the MAC addresses.


Accept the terms and conditions.


Once imported, open the virtual machines settings.


For adapter 1 attach the adapter to a network type that will get an IP address you can SSH to. A bridged adapter will get an IP address from my wireless network so I am using that for simplicity.

Keep the Virtualbox adapter type as Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM) otherwise the interface order in the VM will not match the Adapter order in Virtualbox.

Add a TCP port for telnet access to the serial port.


Bootstrap Configuration

Configure ASAv to redirect console output
ciscoasa> enable
ciscoasa# copy disk0:/coredumpinfo/coredump.cfg disk0:/use_ttyS0
! Reboot after this

Now the ASAv console will be accessible via telnet. Telnet to localhost on the TCP port defined previously.

# from bash

telnet localhost 65001

When the ASAv has booted up apply the bootstrap configuration.

# Bootstrap config

conf t
interface Management0/0
 nameif management
 security-level 0
 ip address dhcp
 no shutdown
hostname asa
username vagrant password vagrant privilege 15
aaa authentication ssh console LOCAL
aaa authorization exec LOCAL auto-enable
ssh version 2
ssh timeout 60
ssh key-exchange group dh-group14-sha1
ssh 0 0 management
domain-name lab.local
username vagrant attributes
  service-type admin
  ssh authentication publickey AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA6NF8iallvQVp22WDkTkyrtvp9eWW6A8YVr+kz4TjGYe7gHzIw+niNltGEFHzD8+v1I2YJ6oXevct1YeS0o9HZyN1Q9qgCgzUFtdOKLv6IedplqoPkcmF0aYet2PkEDo3MlTBckFXPITAMzF8dJSIFo9D8HfdOV0IAdx4O7PtixWKn5y2hMNG0zQPyUecp4pzC6kivAIhyfHilFR61RGL+GPXQ2MWZWFYbAGjyiYJnAmCP3NOTd0jMZEnDkbUvxhMmBYSdETk1rRgm+R4LOzFUGaHqHDLKLX+FIPKcF96hrucXzcWyLbIbEgE98OHlnVYCzRdK8jlqm8tehUc9c9WhQ==
wr mem

Find the IP address assigned via DHCP.

asa# show int ip brie
Interface                  IP-Address      OK? Method Status                Protocol
GigabitEthernet0/0         unassigned      YES unset  administratively down up
GigabitEthernet0/1         unassigned      YES unset  administratively down up
GigabitEthernet0/2         unassigned      YES unset  administratively down up
GigabitEthernet0/3         unassigned      YES unset  administratively down up
Management0/0          YES DHCP   up                    up

Exit the telnet session and test SSH to the ASA with the vagrant insecure private key.

# from bash

ssh vagrant@ -i ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key

If you can successfully SSH to the device with the SSH key, its time to create a Vagrant box.

Box Install

Poweroff the ASAv in Virtualbox and create a Vagrant base box.

vagrant package --base ASAv

# output

==> ASAv: Exporting VM...
==> ASAv: Compressing package to: /home/bradmin/

# move to base box folder

mv ~/vagrant/boxes/cisco/
cd ~/vagrant/boxes/cisco/

Create a metadata file called asa981.json with the following contents.

  "name": "cisco/asav",
  "description": "Cisco ASAv",
  "versions": [
      "version": "9.8.1",
      "providers": [
          "name": "virtualbox",
          "url": "file:///home/bradmin/vagrant/boxes/cisco/"

Add the newly created base box to Vagrant.

vagrant box add asa981.json

# output

==> box: Loading metadata for box 'asa9.8.1.json'
    box: URL: file:///home/bradmin/vagrant/boxes/cisco/asa981.json
==> box: Adding box 'cisco/asav' (v9.8.1) for provider: virtualbox
    box: Unpacking necessary files from: file:///home/bradmin/vagrant/boxes/cisco/
==> box: Successfully added box 'cisco/asav' (v9.8.1) for 'virtualbox'!

Confirm Vagrant can see the box.

vagrant box list

# output

CumulusCommunity/cumulus-vx          (virtualbox, 3.3.2)
arista/veos                          (virtualbox, 4.18.1F)
centos/7                             (virtualbox, 1705.02)
cisco/asav                           (virtualbox, 9.8.1)

debian/jessie64                      (virtualbox, 8.8.1)
juniper/ffp-12.1X47-D15.4            (virtualbox, 0.5.0)
juniper/ffp-12.1X47-D15.4-packetmode (virtualbox, 0.5.0)
juniper/vqfx10k-pfe                  (virtualbox, 0.1.0)
juniper/vqfx10k-re                   (virtualbox, 0.2.0)
ubuntu/xenial64                      (virtualbox, 20170728.0.0)
The original Virtual Machine can now be deleted.

Create a directory for testing the Vagrant environment.

mkdir ~/vagrant/asa-test; cd ~/vagrant/asa-test/

Use this sample Vagrantfile.

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "cisco/asav"

  # Dont try to change the insecure public key
  config.ssh.insert_key = false

  # Disable default host to guest synced folder
  config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", disabled: true

  # Give the VM time to boot as Vagrant cannot tell when it is booted
  config.vm.boot_timeout = 120

  # Additional interfaces "private_network", ip: "", auto_config: false "private_network", ip: "", auto_config: false "private_network", ip: "", auto_config: false "private_network", ip: "", auto_config: false

  # Telnet serial port
  config.vm.provider "virtualbox" do |vb|
    vb.customize ["modifyvm", :id, "--uart1", "0x3f8", "4"]
    vb.customize ["modifyvm", :id, "--uartmode1", "tcpserver", "65001"]


Testing Vagrant Box

Its time to build, so vagrant up and confirm the ASAv box builds correctly.

vagrant up

# output

Bringing machine 'default' up with 'virtualbox' provider...
==> default: Importing base box 'cisco/asav'...
==> default: Matching MAC address for NAT networking...
==> default: Checking if box 'cisco/asav' is up to date...
==> default: Setting the name of the VM: asa-test_default_1502459595125_94686
==> default: Clearing any previously set network interfaces...
==> default: Preparing network interfaces based on configuration...
    default: Adapter 1: nat
    default: Adapter 2: hostonly
    default: Adapter 3: hostonly
    default: Adapter 4: hostonly
    default: Adapter 5: hostonly
==> default: Forwarding ports...
    default: 22 (guest) => 2222 (host) (adapter 1)
==> default: Running 'pre-boot' VM customizations...
==> default: Booting VM...
==> default: Waiting for machine to boot. This may take a few minutes...
    default: SSH address:
    default: SSH username: vagrant
    default: SSH auth method: private key
==> default: Machine booted and ready!
==> default: Checking for guest additions in VM...
    default: No guest additions were detected on the base box for this VM! Guest
    default: additions are required for forwarded ports, shared folders, host only
    default: networking, and more. If SSH fails on this machine, please install
    default: the guest additions and repackage the box to continue.
    default: This is not an error message; everything may continue to work properly,
    default: in which case you may ignore this message.

Login to device and test.

vagrant ssh

# output

User vagrant logged in to asa
Logins over the last 1 days: 4.  Last login: 13:54:48 UTC Aug 11 2017 from
Failed logins since the last login: 0.
Type help or '?' for a list of available commands.
asa# show version

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance Software Version 9.8(1)
Firepower Extensible Operating System Version 2.2(1.47)
Device Manager Version 7.8(1)

Compiled on Wed 10-May-17 15:39 PDT by builders
System image file is "boot:/asa981-smp-k8.bin"
Config file at boot was "startup-config"

asa up 2 mins 25 secs

Hardware:   ASAv, 2048 MB RAM, CPU Lynnfield 2808 MHz,
Model Id:   ASAv10
Internal ATA Compact Flash, 512MB
Slot 1: ATA Compact Flash, 8192MB
BIOS Flash Firmware Hub @ 0x0, 0KB

 0: Ext: Management0/0       : address is 0800.2782.112a, irq 10
 1: Ext: GigabitEthernet0/0  : address is 0800.2725.1be9, irq 9
 2: Ext: GigabitEthernet0/1  : address is 0800.2715.c7c8, irq 11
 3: Ext: GigabitEthernet0/2  : address is 0800.2744.139a, irq 10
 4: Ext: GigabitEthernet0/3  : address is 0800.273d.3e47, irq 9

License mode: Smart Licensing
ASAv Platform License State: Unlicensed
No active entitlement: no feature tier and no throughput level configured
*Memory resource allocation is more than the permitted limit.

Licensed features for this platform:
Maximum VLANs                     : 50
Inside Hosts                      : Unlimited
Failover                          : Active/Standby
Encryption-DES                    : Enabled
Encryption-3DES-AES               : Enabled
Security Contexts                 : 0
Carrier                           : Disabled
AnyConnect Premium Peers          : 2
AnyConnect Essentials             : Disabled
Other VPN Peers                   : 250
Total VPN Peers                   : 250
AnyConnect for Mobile             : Disabled
AnyConnect for Cisco VPN Phone    : Disabled
Advanced Endpoint Assessment      : Disabled
Shared License                    : Disabled
Total TLS Proxy Sessions          : 2
Botnet Traffic Filter             : Enabled
Cluster                           : Disabled

Serial Number: 9ABLC0QNCNJ

Image type          : Release
Key version         : A

Configuration has not been modified since last system restart.

When you are done, destroy the box.

 vagrant destroy -f

# output

==> default: Forcing shutdown of VM...
==> default: Destroying VM and associated drives...


There you have it, a nice and easy throw away Cisco ASAv Vagrant box for all your labbing and testing pleasure.