installation and configuration of cisco secure acs 5.3 (vmware) – part 1

Today I am going to work a little with Cisco Secure ACS 5.3, Ciscos System for AAA. The Secure ACS 5.3 differs a lot from the Secure ACS 3 or 4, as it works with rule-based architecture and also the installation process is a different one.

In my blog post I will try to show you how to install and configure the ACS. Also I will blank out any personalized information like ip addresses to keep it anonymous.

The Parts of this tutorial will be the following:

1. Download and installation of the Image with VMware
2. Basic Installation steps
3. Configuration of an NTP-Server
4. Licensing and WebGUI
5. Configuration of TACACS+ Users to authenticate with Cisco devices
6. Configuration of two Cisco Secure ACS as a cluster

When I have enough time I will also try to evaluate RADIUS functionality.
I will use pictures more than text in my blogs as the pictures explain best the functionality and what to do.

So lets begin.

1. Download and installation of the Image with VMware

First we have to download the release from Remind that a valid CCO account is required to download the software here. We need to go to and then head to the “Csco Secure ACS” page via search option and then we click on “Download” software.

Within the download area we need to navigate to “Cisco Secure Access Control System  5.3” and select the proper image.

After downloading the ISO file we need to have a working VM with the following specifiations:

2x vCPU @ min. 2GHz
512GB HDD (or min. 60GB, 60GB=EVAL Version, 512GB=FullVersion, the release checks the Hard-Disk for available space)
Linux 2.6 (32Bit) GuestOS

We can now begin with the installation by powering up the VM and then bind the ISO file to the DVD drive of the VM to boot from it. The only thing we need to do is to choose boot option “1” and the acs is going to install its OS (which is based on CentOS).

We now get a prompt where we need to enter “setup” to configure the basic addressing for the machine. (Go to the next part to read further).

Feel free to comment!

About markus.wirth

Living near Limburg in Germany, working as a Network Engineer around Frankfurt am Main.
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8 Responses to installation and configuration of cisco secure acs 5.3 (vmware) – part 1

  1. Chris S says:

    When I did this all I ended up with was a Centos server, I never saw the “ACS” options you show.

    • markus.wirth says:

      What do you mean with that?
      You download the iso image, put it onto a vmware and its centos under the hodd what is running. Never saw anything else with that version.


  2. Chris S says:

    Never mind,
    I was configuring the VM and booting from the ISO immediately.

  3. Chris S says:

    you can install it in two ways,
    one – create a vm. Point the CD to the iso file and boot it.
    two – create a vm and while doing so point to the .iso file
    2 different outcomes.

  4. Sunny says:


    Can you please tell me the process to bind the image to the dvd drive

  5. Hi!
    Maybe you can have a look here. If that is not sufficient please feel free to ask again :).


  6. Rob says:

    Feel free to check out
    It is a new TACACS Front End for the native Linux “tac_plus” service


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