What is our primary use case?
We're putting together one of our more complex Fortinet environments. It involves switch-to-switch fiber connections, and it also includes the deployment of outdoor access points to power cameras, in addition to providing WiFi. There is also the deployment of a firewall, and I believe they are going to convert all level two or level one switches to level three.
It is deployed on-prem.
How has it helped my organization?
It is enabling us to have an internet connection to remote locations on the client's property to drive security cameras with complete coverage. It is an incredibly harsh outdoor environment subject to lightning, sun, and heat. It is pretty much the worst tech environment you could ever imagine. When we opened up some of the access points in front of the client to show them, he was absolutely floored or impressed by the manufacturing quality and the durability. It had an instant customer buy and acceptance. They're a Cisco house, so the introduction of this Fortinet was our doing, and so far, it has been doing very well for someone who's new to the Fortinet family.
What is most valuable?
For me, the ease of setup and the rugged nature in harsh environments are most valuable. So, durability and ease of use have been its best features.
What needs improvement?
They need to do more with their marketing. That's what's wrong with them. Nobody knows they do all this other stuff. I love the product. For an enterprise-level system, you never have to explain why you're recommending Fortinet, whereas you might have to do that if you want to use the Ubiquiti Professional or the new Netgear line, but you don't have to explain Fortinet. It has been remarkable to work with.
It would be nice if they had some smaller switches or hubs. They should offer two-port, three-port, or four-port devices so that you don't have to buy an eight-port switch, and you don't have to use an unmanaged element, but their product line is very complete, and I can't say enough about it.
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For how long have I used the solution?
We have been working with this solution for about a year and a half, and our level of experience is growing day by day.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I would rate it a 10 out of 10 in terms of stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I would rate it a 10 out of 10 in terms of scalability. We've got it in some retail establishments, such as car dealerships. We use this product a lot with a company called Verkada, which is a cloud-based camera and access control system. It just fits everywhere because of its ease of use, ease of deployment, stability, and performance.
How are customer service and support?
We always opt for 24/7/365 support, and as a result, the phones are answered quickly. We're getting the level two and level three people immediately, and their follow-up is outstanding. Fortinet has been a very good experience.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Fortinet is our lead product, with Aruba being a close second. Both of them have been outstanding to use, and whenever they release a new product, I would like to use it. For example, I'm going to buy a FortiVoice phone system, just because I've had such great success. I'm so pleased with what we've done up to now that I want to see how much more they can do.
Everybody touts Ubiquiti and how great Ubiquiti is, but my number one thing with Ubiquiti is that I don't feel like it's a real enterprise solution. I'm sure a lot would disagree with me, but I find the interface very difficult to use. We are highly impressed with the ease of use of Fortinet. I was using some of the Ubiquiti products, and the reasons for switching were:
- Ease of deployment
- Physical quality in terms of what it feels like in your hand
- 24/7/365 support with hardware replacement plans
As a reseller, we provide support for the systems that we sell, but our objective, as crazy as it sounds, is to build systems that don't fail. If and when they do, the objective is that the replacement device is on-site, a lot of times even before the client realizes that there was an issue. That's kind of impressive.
How was the initial setup?
It was super easy. I would rate it a five out of five in terms of the setup.
The deployment for this very large Florida location is probably a day or a day and a half job, but that's only because of the number of switches and APs that we have to physically install. Getting it online takes a couple of hours.
What about the implementation team?
I'm the president of a tech company, and I'm not a tech guy. It's so simple and so intuitive that I can deploy the systems, but I've got my guys doing it. We have one or two people for its deployment and maintenance.
There is very little on the side of maintenance. The biggest challenge is just ensuring the ISP is getting their signal to us. One of the founding principles of a company is architecture. So, whether it's the cable, the method of installation, or the location of the installation, all of these variables contribute to either a successful or a challenging environment post-deployment.
What was our ROI?
It would be in the realm that if they don't call us, it works. So, not failing in itself is ROI to us. There are a lot of MSPs who want to be engaged with the client. I don't. We consider ourselves a technology hardware reseller. I do not, by any means, position us as an MSP. Although we support the systems we sell, I don't have a room filled with guys answering the phone, and that's by design.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Licensing costs are reasonable. There are so many different types of licenses with Fortinet, but the licensing and the 24/7/365 support are so reasonable that I automatically include it with every transaction. I never line item it without it. There are no additional costs.
What other advice do I have?
I would rate it a 10 out of 10.
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.