FortiManager Incompatibility

I’ve been recommending and installing Fortinet Firewalls since 2003. I first saw the product when working in the higher education sector, back then it was my first look at a UTM. I was excited by the features and capabilities, plus I enjoyed making changes and policy via a Web UI.

Over the years, I’ve continued to buy and deploy Fortinet Firewalls. In recent times I have even deployed Fortigates into AWS from the Market Place. The Firewall itself just works. Fortinet have continued to improved the software, it now has a huge range of features and I find there aren’t too many problems it can’t solve. No doubt some would argue enabling all these features slows a UTM appliance, but for me the answer is foresight and planning.

I like the Fortigate! I hope I made that obvious! I unfortunately don’t have the same enthusiasm for Fortinet’s central management platform, FortiManager.

My main gripe is with compatibility. Fortinet always release upgrade code for the Fortigate prior to that of the FortiManager. If your device is managed by a FortiManager, you are locked to versions supported by the manager itself. If there’s a critical update, you have little choice but to drop the firewall from the FortiManager and upgrade it manually. Once it’s finally supported (which often takes time) you can add it back and start over…

I’m sure this problem isn’t unique to Fortinet. I understand it’s difficult to build software and have releases align with other products… But if you offer a solution, especially one that is designed to simplify management, please ensure it can perform the most basic of tasks.

Note: My intention is not to disrespect Fortinet. I’ve been a supporter for years and issues with the FortManager will not turn me away from the firewall product. I see potential and opportunity for this platform, I would like to see Fortinet harness it by releasing a product that is as good as the Fortigate itself. 

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