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Fortinet FortiGate vs Palo Alto Networks VM-Series comparison

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Comparison Summary
Question: Which product do you recommend: Palo Alto Network VM-Series vs Fortinet FortiGate?
Answer: I am an enterprise user of Fortigate and PA compares favorable to Fortinet. I have used Fortigate for a variety of reasons, but here are the most important reasons we use them (compared to PA)1. Price versus performance2. Fortinet has a strategic security view that is focused on security requirements rather than marketing. (PA has a distinct advantage in marketing)3. Fortinet leadership (CEO and CTO) are focused on value and long term relationships.
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiGate vs. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
564,643 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"Feature-wise, we mostly use IPS because it is a security requirement to protect against attacks from outside and inside. This is where IPS helps us out a bunch.""It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective.""The most valuable features of this solution are the integrations and IPS throughput.""The implementation is pretty straightforward.""Its Snort 3 IPS has better flexibility as far as being able to write rules. This gives me better granularity.""The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy.""If configured, Firepower provides us with application visibility and control.""The Adversity Malware Protection (AMP) feature is the most valuable. It is also very easy to use. Every technical user can operate this solution without any difficulty. The dashboard of Cisco Firepower has every tool that a security operator needs. You can find every resource that you need to operate through this dashboard."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"The most valuable feature is the SSL VPN, as it allows us to connect and it separates this product from other firewalls.""FortiGate is flexible and easy to use.""The SD-WAN feature is the most valuable. This feature evolved from link load balancing. It has helped us in terms of our uptime and privatizing applications whenever we experience an outage. The SD-WAN feature has been a plus for us. Two-factor authentication has allowed us to add more users in terms of remote working. We have two-factor authentication for remote workers to authenticate them before they get on the network.""The application control features, such as Facebook blocking and Spotify blocking, are the most valuable.""There are great templates, so you don't have to customize them if you don't want to. You do have the option to custom create some folders and some reports, however, with what is there, you don't really need to go through extra effort, as they already give you a lot of predefined views of reports and so forth.""The solution is extremely reliable.""Its user interface is good, and it is always working fine.""I like how we can achieve total integration."

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"The most valuable features are web control and IPS/IDS.""With the improved visibility we now have, the traffic is being properly monitored, which means that we are better able to manage it. These are improvements that we saw very quickly.""The VM series has an advantage over the physical version because we are able to change the sources that the machine has, such as the amount of available RAM.""Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is very easy to use.""The most valuable feature is the Posture Assessment.""The most valuable feature is that you can launch it in a very short time. You don't have to wait for the hardware to arrive and get it staged and installed. From that perspective, it is easy to launch. It is also scalable.""The initial setup was straightforward.""Using Palo Alto Networks Panorama, we were able to deploy a single point of management and visualization of the firewall infrastructure in cloud, on-premise and integrated with Azure to automate scale up. Its security features, i.e. anti-malware, threat prevention, URL Filtering, VPN, and antivirus are the most valuable. The ID-User integrated with AD and 2FA features are also very useful to provide secure access to servers and some users in the company. "

More Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Pros →

"This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI).""The solution could offer better control that would allow the ability to restrictions certain features from a website.""The configuration in Firepower Management Center is very slow. Deployment takes two to three minutes. You spend a lot of time on modifications. Whereas, in FortiGate, you press a button, and it takes one second.""In a future release, it would be ideal if they could offer an open interface to other security products so that we could easily connect to our own open industry standard.""There is limited data storage on the appliance itself. So, you need to ship it out elsewhere in order for you to store it. The only point of consideration is around that area, basically limited storage on the machine and appliance. Consider logging it elsewhere or pushing it out to a SIEM to get better controls and manipulation over the data to generate additional metrics and visibility.""One feature I would like to see, that Firepower doesn't have, is email security. Perhaps in the future, Cisco will integrate Cisco Umbrella with Firepower. I don't see why we should have to pay for two separate products when both could be integrated in one box.""They need a VTI. I know it's going to be available in the next software version, which is the 6.7 version. However, the problem with that is that the 6.7 is going to deprecate all the older IKEv1 deployment tunnels. Therefore, the problem is that we have a lot of customers which are using older encryptions. If I do that, update it, it's not going to work for me.""The change-deployment time can always be improved. Even at 50 seconds, it's longer than some of its competitors. I would challenge Cisco to continue to improve in that area."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"It should be more stable. There should be full integration within Fortinet products themselves as well as with other third-party products. Especially when you're not dealing with SIEM and the correlation of the security box, we want Fortinet to be able to share that information with as many other products as it can.""We would like to see an upgrade to the VPN feature, we are using the VPN from outside of our office and there is a limitation to 10 connections, more connections would be suitable.""If they had better integration with security products, such as Cisco ISE or Rapid Threat Containment, then it would be an improvement.""The way everything is set up could be easier. Currently, people need a lot of experience and knowledge to administer it and to link it to devices.""We had a minor problem where there was a major system upgrade on the hardware platfrom and the Mac client was not available as soon as it might have been. The PC client was available immediately, but we had to wait a month or so, before there was a mac client. I was slightly irritated that it was not ready on time, but it was eventually resolved.""The sniffing packets or packet captures, can be simplified and improved because it's a little confusing.""The initial setup and configuration are not intuitive and require training.""The user interface could be improved."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

"The implementation should be simplified.""In the next release, I would like to see better integration between the endpoints and the firewalls.""The command-line interface is something that some people struggle with and I think that they should have an option to go straight to the GUI.""It would be helpful if we had a direct number for the support manager or the supporting engineer. That would be better than having to email every time because there would be less wait.""Its web interface is a bit outdated, and it needs to be updated. They can also improve the NAT functionality. We have had issues with the NAT setup.""There should be an option for direct integration with the Azure platform.""Integrative capabilities with other solutions should be addressed.""It would be good if the common features work consistently in physical and virtual environments. There was an integration issue in the virtual deployment where it didn't report the interface counters, and we had to upgrade to the latest version, whereas the same thing has been working in the physical deployment for ages now. It seems that it was because of Azure. We were using VMware before, and we didn't have any such issues. We do see such small issues where we expect things to work, but they don't because of some incompatibilities. There also seems to be a limitation on how to do high availability in a virtualized environment. All features should be consistently available in physical and virtual environments. It is not always easy to integrate Palo Alto in the network management system. We would like to be able to compare two network management systems. They can maybe allow monitoring an interface through the GUI to create a reference or do a baseline check about whether your network monitoring system is actually giving you the correct traffic figures. You need traffic figures to be able to recognize the trends and plan the capacity."

More Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Fortinet is the least expensive solution."
  • "It's very affordable."
  • "Setup cost may be not so low, as you expect, because it depends on different factors, but TCO for 5 years may pleasantly surprise you."
  • "The Indian market is different than the European and American markets. When you compare they need to be a bit more aggressive on pricing."
  • "I think that the pricing is fair."
  • "For our organization, the licensing costs are approximately $7,000 per year."
  • "It's an expensive solution."
  • "The price is okay."
  • More Fortinet FortiGate Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of this solution is very high for some parts of Africa, which makes it a challenge."
  • "Palo Alto can be as much as two times the price of competing products that have twice the capabilities."
  • "The cost of this product varies from customer to customer and the relationship with IBM, including how many offerings from IBM are already being used."
  • "Because I work for a university and the URL is for the institution, it's a free license for us."
  • "It is not the cheapest on the market. The total cost for two firewall instances is $75,000. This includes licenses, deployment fees, and support for two years."
  • "The VM series is licensed annually."
  • "Palo Alto definitely needs to be more competitive compared to other products. The problem that I have faced is that the price of licensing is very high and not very competitive."
  • More Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Tarun Mehta
    author avatarDarshil Sanghvi

    Hello Tarun, we have been designing solutions with Palo Alto Networks NGFW for 6 years now and we have 95%+ customer retention. 

    I would suggest looking into customer requirement on the basis of the following things, and priority is given by the customer:

    1. Internet Bandwidth
    2. No. Of users - In-house and users connecting from home/outside organization network.
    3. Security features required - Sandoxing, DNS Security, etc.
    4. Port density required on the firewall.
    5. SSL decryption.
    6. Deployment - On-prem or virtual DC or on Cloud.
    7. HA requirement
    8. MFA requirement
    9. Local presence of Palo Alto/Fortinet expert team.
    10. Integration for other (operational) solutions like SD-WAN, Load balancer, etc
    11. Integration with other security solution like EDR/XDR or XSOAR
    12. Customer's current solution (firewall/UTM and engineers/IT team working on it).
    13. Customer's current IT Team strategy
    14. Customer future IT strategy (to move on the cloud, etc)
    15. Customer's growth and scalability in 5 years.
    16. Reporting and logging requirement.
    17. Customer's budget for IT Security.

    Well, I guess with these parameters, and customer's priority you can recommend them a suitable solution.

    Palo Alto NGFW will be best recommended for the following:
    1. Deployment on the cloud - It has a very stable PANOS for VM-Series
    2. Security Innovations - Considering security, in terms of today and future, Palo Alto is disruptive and groundbreaking.
    3. Predictive Bandwidth - Palo Alto NGFW gives us Predictive bandwidth, and hence, once sized, it will last longer than defined. The throughput numbers are test cases of real-world scenarios, and after enabling all the features. It operates on its patented SP3 architecture and defines device throughput after enabling all security features and operational functionalities.
    4. Integration with EDR/XDR and SOAR/XSOAR platforms.
    5. User/SSL VPN - When you are planning for SSL VPN on Palo Alto NGFW, it will not charge you additionally for users connecting their Windows or MAC systems on NGFW over SSL VPN. For users that are Android/IOS/Linux/etc, and required additional HIP checks and Clientless VPN, there is a single subscription you will need to purchase.
    6. Sandboxing - Palo Alto came up with Wildfire which is a threat intel cloud, which can be termed as Palo Alto Network's Sandboxing solution, but it does much more than that. it has a response SLA of 5 mins, where it can convert any unknown to known in 5 minutes or less. Also, after it identifies the file, it auto-updates other engines like URL filtering, DNS Security, Anti-Spyware, Bad IP and Domain list, CNC tunnel signatures.
    7. Reporting and alerting - Foremost reason why users started implementing Palo Alto firewalls inside their network was to get the visibility - in terms of User-level visibility, Network traffic (depth to application layer), and Content (files and threats) level visibility. Also, logging and reporting is provisioned on the appliance itself and no additional subscription or any appliance is required, unless the customer requires the storage of logs for more time frame. The NGFW also co-relates all the events and alerts to give critical visibility like Botnets and hosts and users accessing malicious websites, or resolving malicious domains.
    8. EDL - again external dynamic lists(EDL) helps you reduce the attack surface by minimizing the traffic to and from Malicious and Bad - IPs and Domains. This list is automatically updated by Palo Alto Networks by default by its threat research teams (Unit 42), Threat Intel (Wildfire), DNS Security module, and other sources. It has also a provision for you and/or the customer to integrate other third-party URL lists to be blocked.
    9. Security features:
    -- DNS filtering - by intercepting DNS traffic, you will not need any additional solution and/or modification in your current network for protection against threats related to DNS traffic. Its DNS module is cloud-based and tightly integrated with other modules and features of NGFW.
    -- Credential phishing - This feature will avoid users sharing/uploading their credentials which are the same to access internal resources and external websites. This will prevent the leak of user credentials.
    -- ML Powered NGFW - Currently, PA NGFW is the only firewall powered by ML to prevent unknown threats in real-time.
    10. Application layer firewall - complete identification of all and any traffic based on application rather than port and protocol. Not only the known but also if the application is not identified it will classify that traffic as unknown. Also, you can create a custom application as required.
    and many more...

    Benefits in Fortigate firewall will be:
    1. More port density.
    2. Better SD-WAN configuration
    3. Easy User interface and hence lacks granular controls.
    4. Provides seamless integration with FortiToken for MFA(additional cost).
    5. Seamless integration with Forti Load balancer.
    6. Low cost (than Palo Alto least).

    Darshil Sanghvi

    author avatarJoão Garcia
    Real User

    Palo Alto, Fortinet, and Checkpoint are the best NGFW. You can choose one of them.

    The Fortinet advantage is the Security Fabric. Many other Fortinet's products (switches, AP, EDS, XDR, DDoS, FortiClient, etc) are integrated and a Fortigate can communicate with another product to block an attack.  

    author avatarreviewer1461459 (Team Lead Network Infrastructure at a tech services company with 1-10 employees)
    Real User

    Because PA has FPGA based architecture, which no other firewall has, due to this firewall processes the traffic from all the engines simultaneously. it increase efficiency of the product and provides way better throughput as compare to other vendors. The performance of security engines of PA are better then other vendors. PA provides on-box reporting, you have to purchase forti-analyzer separately for reporting in fortinet. PA provides granular view of policies, providing insight to you which policies are used in and which are not. it also provides you the feature, that tells you which of the firewall's features are not being utilized, this way you can plan your renewal to only purchase the feature you need. 

    author avatarCesar Beut
    Real User

    I have FortiGates and the last upgrade of firmware cut internet traffic if you use Inspection Mode Proxy-Based, recommended and more secure, you have to use Flow-based, less secure. I don't work with Palo Alto

    author avatarCristianoLima

    I strongly recommend Sophos XG Firewall.
    Take a look
    Sophos Firewall: Synchronized Next-Gen Firewall

    author avatarAnkitMittal
    Real User

    I think you can go with Palo Alto...

    author avatarAlejandro Ortega
    Real User

    Palo Alto

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    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    FortiGate 60b, FortiGate 60c, FortiGate 80c, FortiGate 50b, FortiGate 200b, FortiGate 110c, FortiGate
    Learn More

    Cisco NGFW firewalls deliver advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from
    small/branch offices to high performance data centers and service providers. Available in a wide
    range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Advanced threat
    defense capabilities include Next-generation IPS (NGIPS), Security Intelligence (SI), Advanced
    Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), and flexible VPN
    features. Inspect encrypted traffic and enjoy automated risk ranking and impact flags to reduce event
    volume so you can quickly prioritize threats. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering
    for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.
    Cisco Firepower NGFWv is the virtualized version of Cisco's Firepower NGFW firewall. Widely
    deployed in leading private and public clouds, Cisco NGFWv automatically scales up/down to meet
    the needs of dynamic cloud environments and high availability provides resilience. Also, Cisco NGFWv
    can deliver micro-segmentation to protect east-west network traffic.
    Cisco firewalls provide consistent security policies, enforcement, and protection across all your
    environments. Unified management for Cisco ASA and FTD/NGFW physical and virtual firewalls is
    delivered by Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), with cloud logging also available. And with Cisco
    SecureX included with every Cisco firewall, you gain a cloud-native platform experience that enables
    greater simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.
    Learn more about Cisco’s firewall solutions, including virtual appliances for public and private cloud.

    The FortiGate family of NG firewalls provides proven protection with unmatched performance across the network, from internal segments, to data centers, to cloud environments. FortiGates are available in a large range of sizes and form factors and are key components of the Fortinet Security Fabric, which enables immediate, intelligent defense against known and new threats throughout the entire network.

    The VM-Series is a virtualized form factor of our next-generation firewall that can be deployed in a range of private and public cloud computing environments based on technologies from VMware, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Citrix and KVM.

    The VM-Series natively analyzes all traffic in a single pass to determine the application identity, the content within, and the user identity. These core elements of your business can then be used as integral components of your security policy, enabling you to improve your security efficacy through a positive control model and reduce your incident response time though complete visibility into applications across all ports.

    In both private and public cloud environments, the VM-Series can be deployed as a perimeter gateway, an IPsec VPN termination point, and a segmentation gateway, protecting your workloads with application enablement and threat prevention policies.

    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Fortinet FortiGate
    Learn more about Palo Alto Networks VM-Series
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Pittsburgh Steelers, LUSH Cosmetics, NASDAQ, Verizon, Arizona State University, Levi Strauss & Co. Whitepaper and case studies here
    Warren Rogers Associates
    Top Industries
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Non Profit8%
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Computer Software Company10%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Comms Service Provider37%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Educational Organization4%
    Financial Services Firm23%
    Manufacturing Company15%
    Healthcare Company8%
    Computer Software Company29%
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Company Size
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise29%
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise65%
    Small Business48%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise28%
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise40%
    Small Business38%
    Midsize Enterprise31%
    Large Enterprise31%
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise10%
    Large Enterprise62%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiGate vs. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,643 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Fortinet FortiGate is ranked 1st in Firewalls with 98 reviews while Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is ranked 10th in Firewalls with 16 reviews. Fortinet FortiGate is rated 8.4, while Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Fortinet FortiGate writes "Stable, easy to set up, and offers good ROI". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Palo Alto Networks VM-Series writes "An excellent solution for the right situations and businesses". Fortinet FortiGate is most compared with Cisco ASA Firewall, pfSense, Check Point NGFW, Meraki MX and SonicWall TZ, whereas Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is most compared with Azure Firewall, Cisco ASA Firewall, Juniper SRX, Fortinet FortiGate-VM and Check Point NGFW. See our Fortinet FortiGate vs. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series report.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.