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Background: I'm a development lead at a small software house. (~30 employees) Our IT guy recently retired, and our CEO, who is non-technical, can't be convinced to replace him. His reasoning is complicated, but it more or less comes down to "We've got all these computer folks working here already, why don't they just handle it?" One problem arising from this is that we use a Cisco ASA 5500 and none of us know anything about Cisco routers or IOS.

Question: Approximately how much of a time commitment will it be for an experienced software developer to learn enough that they can reliably make config changes and troubleshoot problems?

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closed as not constructive by pauska, Chris McKeown, Skyhawk, Massimo, EEAA Sep 20 '12 at 22:57

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This is going to be closed as it's not fit for this site, but I'll tell you one thing; hire an external consultant or employ a sysadmin. –  pauska Sep 20 '12 at 22:44
With proper training and full time commitment, maybe 6 weeks to get a decent grasp you can actually put into production. –  Lucas Kauffman Sep 20 '12 at 22:50
Also mind that proper training for Cisco is not cheap, basic CCNA courses are one thing, but for ASA you will need to go even further. –  Lucas Kauffman Sep 20 '12 at 22:51
Configuring a security device for the first time without help, its not too wise. From no Cisco experience at all, I learnt enough Cisco syntax to configure a L3 switch for intervlan routing, acl's and shaping in a day. But would I trust that experience when something goes wrong and I'd have to diagnose it under pressure, not a chance. Throw yourself in at the deep end without assistance, and you will drown when the water gets rough.. That was 4 years ago for me, so with 4 years of production experience of managing several racks at a data centre, now I'm very comfortable. –  sonassi Sep 20 '12 at 22:53
"Experienced software developer" is a fairly loose term - some have very in-depth networking knowledge, while others don't know or want to know how the 1s and 0s get from point A to point B. It's not "learning a device" so much as it is "learning a complex and interconnected set of protocols, how the device fits into them, and how to make the device do what you want it to do in that world". By the way, ASAs don't run IOS, they have their own OS. –  Shane Madden Sep 20 '12 at 22:53
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