Fortinet FortiGate-VM Review

The EPM bundle is of value to many of our clients; unfortunately deployment is quite difficult


What is our primary use case?

In the years that we've been using this product, we've deployed it five or six times. Most of our customers have dedicated firewalls, either physical or virtual format and a few are on a shared platform. We're authorized sellers of the product and I'm the founder and managing director of our company. 

What is most valuable?

The best feature of the solution is the EPM bundle, a lot of our clients are interested in that. Truth be told, it's quite difficult to roll that out because we have very little trust in the FortiManager and the FortiAnalyzer integration and technology.

What needs improvement?

The solution could be improved by making deployment easier and dispensing with the reliance on FortiManager, as well as FortiAnalyzer to get any meaningful reporting out of it. If they could exclude both of those from the whole equation so that it bundles direct to the firewall, that would be a big improvement. It should be decoupled from the whole ecosystem, the security fabric side of it, and that would improve things. I get the feeling we have limited functionality if we just look at the data itself, and that's not cool when you're spending thousands of dollars on a product.

The technology is just not there yet in terms of UX and true integration. We have had endless woes with our Analyzer services and the Manager seems rather rudimentary on its own. We believe that the actual Fortigate should have all this disparate functionality baked-in.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for close to six years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is absolutely awful. Every time Fortinet releases a new version, there's always some bugs that you absolutely can't avoid, so stability from our perspective, in between maintaining the service on the FortiGate, is really tricky. It's difficult to trust the quality. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable if you have the budget. If you don't have the budget, it's not tied into customer budgets very nicely. There are too many moving parts and it is too expensive.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is horrific, absolutely terrible. I'd give them a negative rating. 

How was the initial setup?

To install a FortiGate is a complex task. The installation engineer need to be strong technically and familiar with FortiGate. The end user also needs to be well versed in their network and have a firm technical grasp on their business requirements and how those translate to what the firewall is capable of doing/ enhancing. This can drive a prolonged pre-install and installation process.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution. As a piece of tech, as a firewall, it's really good. Local channel support in South Africa is very strong. The functionality of the gate is good. I think it probably surpasses many of its competitors. So I would recommend it. I'm very familiar with the realities of looking at it so I'll be very open with my customers in recommending FortiGate and at the same time explaining the pitfalls to them. 

I would rate this product a seven out of 10. 

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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