Fortinet FortiOS Review

Flexibility makes this easy to integrate with other products, especially ACI implementations

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is for integrated cybersecurity.  

What is most valuable?

The VDOM (Virtual DOM) is a virtualized firewall that has some opportunities for flexibility that are an advantage in certain configurations. The other valuable part is that this flexibility makes it easy to integrate with Cisco products.  

What needs improvement?

The product really has everything that we need as far as features for this type of solution and our use case. It works fine for us. One thing that can be improved is the pricing model. It is currently subscription-based and I think they should probably try to change that.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using FortiO since around 2016. So we have been using it for four years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had some issues with the stability of FortiOS, but I do not think it was because of Fortinet. It was because of how the integrator handled the configurations. The partner that implemented it originally did not do it optimally. We ended up having to change the partner in order to have it done correctly.  

How are customer service and technical support?

So far we are satisfied with the technical support. We have not had a lot of need to use them.  

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

We had been using Check Point and we still use it. In fact, we have been working with Check Point more than Fortinet. I may be a bit biased toward Check Point because I already have more implementation support for it than FortiOS.  

The difference between the price of the products is also obvious. Pricing is more flexible with Check Point than with Fortinet. Fortinet ends up being more expensive because of the pricing scheme.  

The pros and cons of them are not so much different. If it were my choice and we were going to change what we use or choose between the two, then we would move back to using Check Point exclusively. 

How was the initial setup?

I think that the setup was a bit complex because we have a complex network. Because of that, we had to do some interoperability testing first and that made the initial setup take longer than it would in another, simpler environment.  

The initial setup is one other area that could be simplified.  

What about the implementation team?

We used a partner for the implementation. We ended up having to replace them with a different partner because of installation issues. The second partner was able to fix the issues.  

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

The costs for the maintenance and subscription for Fortinet FortiOS software alone is actually half of the cost of the hardware. For example, if your hardware costs were about $40,000, your yearly subscription to FortiOS is about $20,000. That is kind of the drawback to using Fortinet. By comparison, that $60,000 is already three years of maintenance or support with Check Point for the same scale setup. It is a significant cost difference.  

What other advice do I have?

I would probably recommend Check Point to most users considering FortiO if they do not have any ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) implementation or a Cisco ACI. If you could do a workaround on the ACI, then I would probably still recommend Check Point. But if you do not know how to make that type of adjustment or can not and you do not have any partners that need to access your systems, then it is better you go for Fortinet.  

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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