Fortinet FortiGate Review

Good reliability and robust solution

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this solution as a firewall.

It's our main firewall, but we're planning to replace it with a pfSense for reasons I will discuss.

How has it helped my organization?

What is most valuable?

It's super reliable. I don't think I've ever had a reliability issue with it. Within the four years that I've been using it, maybe two or three times, resetting the firewall was what solved the problem. It's been super, super solid. I never have to think twice. If I ever experience a problem, the firewall is the last thing I think about. I never need to check it because it's never the problem. It's just super solid. It's also pretty robust. I know that there are more robust solutions out there, but not by a lot.

What needs improvement?

In the enterprise proprietary world, Fortinet, in my experience, considering its cost and reliability (maybe they could bring the price down or maybe they could make more plans), I honestly don't think that there is much room for improvement. I think it's a pretty good solution for anyone who is looking for a proprietary solution. I wouldn't look anywhere else.

Cisco, for example, is probably way overpriced. Fortinet on the other hand, one of their strong sides is that they have an all-encompassing solution with a very reasonable price point. Cisco and other brands are a little bit more modular — to get everything you'd have to buy a lot of different packages.

An automated guide feature or templates that you could pick and choose would be a nice addition.

It's definitely not as easy to look at traffic as I would like. Sometimes when I'm trying to see what traffic has been blocked or what traffic has been passed, it's not as easy as I would like to filter it out or to monitor bandwidth.

The monitoring is not as good as it could be. It could be a lot easier to understand. For example, I was trying to figure out, in a given timeframe, how much was downloaded off of a certain interface and I didn't really understand how I could get that information or if it was even available. I was searching the documentation online and I couldn't even figure it out. Monitoring and reporting could be better; It's very good, but there's definitely a lot of ways to improve it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Fortinet FortiGate for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Fortinet FortiGate is super stable, one hundred percent. Just works 24/7 without any issues like you would expect from an enterprise product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I know that it's scalable, but I don't actually have any experience regarding scalability. It's probably not as scalable as pfSense because pfSense is based on open hardware platforms. I definitely know that proprietary platforms usually tend to be less scalable because they're more constrained with licensing. The scalability in my opinion would be decent, satisfactory, but I believe pfSense is probably more scalable. I know that there are a lot of big corporations like Google and others that use pfSense. I don't know the details. I'm just giving my educated guess.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I personally prefer pfSense as it's open-source and you only have to pay a minimal fee for support. But for people who want that platform, I think it's a great solution. If I wasn't using pfSense, I would definitely go with FortiGate.

The two products are completely different. If you're using pfSense, you're basically using the entire open-source world — so you're based on FreeBSD, you're using Snorts, everything is open-source. It's very easy to make modifications and to figure out what's going on. You're not dependent on your single company's documentation, there's a huge user base. It's very easy to modify and extend. You can see what's going on — it's very transparent in that sense. It's probably a little bit more manual. With pfSense, You have to put in a little bit more effort to get things done, but, in the end (aside from the huge cost savings), you get all the features that are available in an enterprise firewall for just the price of support, which is also very minimal.

If you need to make any tweaks, you can do it all yourself. If you need to tweak ciphers for SSL for compliance (for PCI, for security compliance) it's not a difficult thing to do; it's a fairly trivial task.

How was the initial setup?

I didn't set it up initially, but I did set up a lot of things from scratch. I think it could be more simple. When you're looking at a proprietary solution, usually it's aimed for end-users and they just want to do point and click. I believe in certain aspects, pfSense was simpler. I think there's maybe just a bit of a learning curve, but I guess you would experience that with any platform.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think that the pricing is fair.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Fortinet FortiGate a rating of nine.

Other than the price and the lack of extensibility and transparency (which is inherent in any proprietary platform); if you're going to compare it to pfSense, then I would not give it a nine. I would give it an eight, and I would give pfSense a 10. pfSense has its drawbacks, but not that many, in my opinion. 

Take the time to learn the platform and you won't run into trouble later. That's my advice.

Other than that, it's super solid, super reliable. It does the job.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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