Chapter 5 Understanding Contexts

A context on a Firewall Services Module (FWSM) is analogous to a virtual machine in VMware or to a switch that supports multiple VLANs. Although you are using the same physical hardware, you can logically separate the firewall functionality into unique instances. This is also known as virtualization. Each context has a unique set of interfaces, rules, and/or policies applied.

Mixed mode contexts are also allowed, which enables the support of transparent and routed mode contexts simultaneously.

Figure 5-1 illustrates three separate contexts: “Context A,” a routed mode firewall with seven interfaces, “Context B,” a routed mode firewall with four interfaces, and “Context C,” a transparent mode firewall. These contexts ...

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