Thanks to the Packet Pushers!

A few years back I came across the Packet Pushers Podcast, which introduced me to a new medium for learning. Since then I’ve listened to every episode ever recorded! Prior to Packet Pushers I’d heard of Software Defined Networking, Storage, etc, but it wasn’t until I listened to Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks show, I really begun to understand where the industry was going and how new technologies could be useful in my day job.

If you’re new to networking or IT in general and haven’t heard of the Packet Pushers, check it out! From a personal perspective I subscribe to the “Fire Hose”. It provides access to all of the shows including Packet Pushers, The Network Break and the Community Show. Even the odd server guy will benefit from the podcast and will enjoy some occasional banter about why the problem is never the network!

I would like to thank Greg and Ethan for everything they do for the community. You guys inspired me to create my own blog, hopefully my thoughts and ideas will help others, like yours have helped me.

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.