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Cisco 5500 ASA instead of ISA for Exchange 2007

Posted on 2011-02-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am upgrading my Exchange environment to 2007.  There is not a lot of documentation out there for setting up a reverse proxy for Exchange 2007 that is not an ISA server.  I have a Cisco ASA 5510 and was wondering if I can publish OWA using it instead of installing an ISA server.  Also if it is possible how I would go about implementing it.  Any imput is greadtly appreciated.  Thank you.

Gabe
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Question by:OmnitraxIT
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 34909827
Hi There,

Basically all you do is setup the same firewall rules in the ASA. Generally, this means opening port 443 for OWA in the ACL and forwarding port 443 to the Exchange Server. That's pretty much it. It's much less complex than ISA. I'd rather use an ASA for this any day than ISA, good choice, it'll serve you well.
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by:Keith Alabaster
Keith Alabaster earned 125 total points
ID: 34910388
I wasn't aware that ASA was also an application gateway? ISA reverse proxies the request so that external users never enter the internal network - they are held on the outside whilst ISA goes and gets the data on behalf of the user. Does ASA do that also?
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Pugglewuggle earned 125 total points
ID: 34910441
It's not an application gateway. Nor does it reverse proxy. You are exactly right about the ASA's capabilities. ISA provides this feature but it's not required for security, although it is nice. I prefer ASAs personally and that's what I've used on my setup in the past with no problems. Users access the Exchange CAS server directly through the ASA and the ASA applies the set security policies to the traffic flow. App gateways are nice, but I don't see them as necessary, but more as optional. Plus, going through an ASA reduces the complexity; there is no proxy process or anything like that, and the ASA can apply ACLs and IPS threat detection, antivirus/malware filtering, etc. depending on the license/modules you have for it. All I'm saying is that if I had an ASA and didn't want to deal with ISA, I'd drop the ISA server like it's hot. That said, if you DO want an app gateway, then use ISA. ...but I like the simpler setup of putting the ASA inline.

Cheers!
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by:Keith Alabaster
ID: 34910681
No problem - and it wasn't a comment to try and knock the ASA - haven't used them much but when I have they have been great. Only chimed in because the original question asked requested a reverse proxy - which is why ISA or FTMG is one of the more obvious - and documented - choices.
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 34910766
Yes sir. Yeah, I don't bother with reverse proxy most of the time. I just bring the traffic straight to the CAS server or an edge server and let the firewall do it's job. It is good at it after all. :-)
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Author Closing Comment

by:OmnitraxIT
ID: 34966036
That is what I was looking for.   I was hoping there was a module or something you could add for that ability.  Thank you.
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