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Mohamed Talbi
Network and Security Engineer at a tech consulting company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Powerful management for deploying configuration to multiple environments with a single click
Pros and Cons
  • "It would normally take us a handful of days to install one FortiGate instance on one site. But with this technology, zero-touch deployment, we need just one hour or maybe as little as 30 minutes to install one site. It is much more efficient."
  • "Troubleshooting for Fortinet products is more difficult than competing products like Cisco and Palo Alto."

What is our primary use case?

We use it on a virtual machine in our data center. We are not using a box.  

We have many types of clients so there are many types of use cases for our clients who we are deploying FortiGate for on-site to create the local network. Many sites are using FortiGate firewalls like 60E, 100E, 200E and 500E and some 3100D.  

We are using what we call zero-touch deployment. It is a very important technology or process that helps us to make the deployments efficiently. It is called zero-touch deployment or ZTD. It helps us to implement our configuration on these client sites by using FortiManager. Zero-touch deployment is the central piece here and it is made possible by the use of FortiManager. What happens is we prepare our configuration in the FortiManager. After that, the technicians who are doing the installation just need to connect the instance of FortiGate to the internet. They only have to do that and FortiGate automatically downloads the configuration from FortiManager. So this is the way we can optimize the implementation and reduce the duration of the setup time involved.  

It would normally take us a handful of days to install one FortiGate instance on one site. But with this technology, zero-touch deployment, we need just one hour or maybe as little as 30 minutes to install one site. It is much more efficient. We reduce the time further by installing the configuration in all the FortiGate instances that we are managing at the same time. For example, say we need to install a new policy to deny or to allow something to connect to the internet. We can create this configuration in the FortiManager and we can push it out to 100 or 200 FortiGate instances at the same time. So it helps us to reduce the time it takes to install and to perform maintenance as well as to minimize the errors. We are human so errors are more frequent than a deployment managed by a machine. With this process, if anything is wrong it is also easier to correct.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature in FortiManager is the ability to automate the deployment processes and maintenance.  

What needs improvement?

Not just in FortiManager, but in any Fortinet project in general, the troubleshooting is very hard. If you compare it with other products from other vendors like Cisco or like Palo Alto, it is just more difficult. Say we are in a situation where we need to do some debugging. It is very hard to understand and to use the CMD and the CLI commands because there is not very much documentation. There is no description when you are using the CLI and there are no examples to follow. So it is hard to do some troubleshooting to find a problem. There is FortiAnalyzer that can help with this but it is not real-time. It is too hard to view real-time inbound and outbound traffic. Because we are network engineers and network administrators, we always need to have some time real-time traffic to view what is happening now, as it happens, to know what is really going on.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Fortinet FortiManager for about two years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would say that the product is not stable all the time. Sometimes, I need to reboot the virtual machine after we do some configuration. The configuration changes will only take place after a reboot. It is something that should not normally happen this way. We should not have to reboot it, but sometimes it happens that we are forced to.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think the product is very scalable. We can add a new instance of FortiGate with a simple click. We can configure it with high availability using two VMs active-backup. It is a very good product from the scalability point of view.  

There are now more than five people who are currently using FortiManager in our company and we are counting on more as we grow. We are a growing company of integrators. We have been on a mission for three years in our region to service our clients — all of them have more than 500 employees. We also have built up to more than 5000 employees total. These same five people using FortiManager are also what we need for the maintenance of the systems.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good when I work with them. In reality, I give them seven or eight-out-of-ten. This is because sometimes you have a very good engineer; sometimes you do not get a very good engineer. This is the reason for the lower score. Last time we created a ticket, it took two months to resolve the problem. For the first month, I was working with someone who did not have a very good understanding and methods for resolving the problem. But, after that, I was allowed to work with another engineer who was very good. He was very good both technically and his methods.  

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

I work mostly with Fortinet now. I work with FortiGuard and FortiGate firewalls. I work with FortiExtender to connect with the 4G network. I work with FortiAnalyzer and FortiManager to manage the FortiGate firewalls. I use FortiManager with the network administrator on top to manage many firewalls at the same time. I can use FortiAnalyzer to analyze our network, to give us a lot of information about the stability of the network. And also to get reports like what are the top 10 hosts who are using the network.  

Before using FortiManager, generally, I worked with other vendors like Cisco, with FireSIGHT to manage the Firepower firewalls from Cisco installations. It was essentially the equivalent to FortiManager. It managed Firepower firewalls. I worked with around 700 Firepower firewalls and one other FireSIGHT appliance which was not VMware. But I found that Cisco was a little bit hard to manage. It is not very stable and we had some problems with it. We opened a ticket and I could see now that we did not get a good solution from the technical support. We just made a workaround which is not a good way to resolve issues. But in general, FortiManager is better than the FireSIGHT as a technology and as a solution.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple. It is not complex at all. We are using Fortinet FortiManager in our main data center and it publishes via virtual IT, or VIT, to our facility to connect to us from our spoke site. It is very simple, I think.  

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

Generally, what I know about the pricing is that Fortinet FortiManager is not expensive at all if you compare it with other vendors like Check Point and like Cisco. Fortinet products are the least expensive on the market in the category of firewalls.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Really, it is not me who chose this solution. It was the staff before I come here. I do know the staff chose it as one of many potential options to be presented to the clients.  

I personally have a specialty using Fortinet but also SolarWinds — although not so much. But I am quite a bit more familiar in working with Cisco and Fortinet.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to other people considering this solution is that they have to read about the product and they have to make an effort to pass the NSE 5 (Network Security Analyst) certification. It is for FortiAnalyzer and FortiManager products. Fortinet NSE 4 (Network Security Professional) certification talks about FortiGate and prepares your solution in a global sense. It is also very good to have. The main certification to have in my opinion is to pass the NSE 7 (Network Security Architect) certification because it talks about what I think is the negative part of Fortinet products, the troubleshooting. So my advice is that it is very important to pass the minimum of these three certifications to manage the solution with some level of expertise.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate FortiManager as an eight. Additional features I would like to see included in the next release of FortiManager to make it a nine or a ten is to be compatible with the management of other products like not just FortiGate. For example, it might work with FortiExtender.  

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Networks Lead Engineer at a mining and metals company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good management capability and wireless heatmap, but NetFlow needs to be improved
Pros and Cons
  • "It gives you the ability to upgrade switches remotely, schedule the upgrade time, perform backups, and monitor the health of all networks."
  • "If you think about a centralized monitoring system, Cisco Prime is not good because it does not support third-party vendors like Palo Alto or FortiGate."

What is our primary use case?

This solution is being used for managing Cisco access points and managing network switches.

What is most valuable?

Cisco Prime is very good management-wise. It gives you the ability to upgrade switches remotely, schedule the upgrade time, perform backups, and monitor the health of all networks.

The wireless heatmap is very good.

What needs improvement?

The NetFlow is very limited, which is a disadvantage to this product. NetFlow is a very important tool that gives you a lot of information about what is happening for each device, including all of the hosts that are connected and what they are doing. For example, it will tell you if devices are accessing an on-premises application and you can use that information to help build usage statistics. With Cisco Prime, it is not reporting all of the Cisco devices. In particular, some of the access point devices are missing. NetFlow is about network visibility, so it should definitely not be limited to Cisco products.

If you think about a centralized monitoring system, Cisco Prime is not good because it does not support third-party vendors like Palo Alto or FortiGate.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Prime for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is always stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you consider scalability from the point where it can be used with everything, then it is not scalable. It cannot monitor all of the devices in your network, as a normal monitoring system would.

We have more than 1,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco's technical support is very good for all of its products and in all aspects. You get a very good response from them. I have no doubts about the OEM because they are really very good.

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

I have used SolarWinds and Microsoft SCOM in the past.

SolarWinds is used on the networking side and can also be used for monitoring the health of the hardware. SCOM was being used for maintaining Microsoft products, such as keeping track of the number of licenses they have, performing health checks on Windows systems, and other monitoring tasks.

How was the initial setup?

I did not personally set up this device, although it is a Cisco product, which normally comes ready to use. With a Cisco product, you just need to switch it on, put in a username and password, and then you have access. It's straightforward. I think that it is probably an easy setup, and not difficult to do.

What about the implementation team?

We have two in-house engineers who take care of all of the network setup and maintenance. They are also responsible for operating all of the monitoring systems, network devices, firewalls, etc.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to look carefully at your infrastructure. Our plan is to take Cisco Prime out because we do not have a fully-Cisco infrastructure and it is not compatible with all of the devices.

It is very good for Cisco products and if your entire infrastructure is Cisco, or you want to monitor a specific section that is entirely Cisco, then it will work well. However, if you have a mix of devices from different vendors and you want to centralize then this is not the right solution. Also, I would not recommend using two different solutions for the same purpose. Find one that works with everything, like SolarWinds or Netskope.

Ultimately, I think that Cisco Prime will be taken off the market and replaced with Cisco DNA. It has all of the features such as NetFlow, monitoring, and smart analytic systems. It is another Cisco product doing the same job and much better. 

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Techincal Support at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A stable solution for backend application monitoring
Pros and Cons
  • "This product provides good visibility into applications at the backend."
  • "There should be a facility to integrate with other monitoring applications that are currently running in the environment."

What is our primary use case?

We are a system integrator and DX Spectrum is one of the products that we implement for our clients. In conjunction with DX Infrastructure Manager (CA UIM) and DX APM, this gives our customers visibility into what is happening end-to-end in their applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Some of our customers are large banks and government agencies, and they are getting value from using it.

What is most valuable?

This product provides good visibility into applications at the backend.

Some of our customers like the Service Desk aspect of it.

What needs improvement?

IP conflicts cannot be resolved automatically in the case where an IP address changes. This is one of the capabilities that SolarWinds has.

There should be a facility to integrate with other monitoring applications that are currently running in the environment. For example, if a customer is already running SolarWinds then it would be helpful if integration between these two was easy to do.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with DX Spectrum for about 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, it depends on the environment. Sometimes, the application does not function well because of the type of security and policies that are in place. Certain policies will block the application, making it unstable. We learned this after some of our customers complained and we investigated to determine why.

When we come across a situation like this we start working with their security department to address the issues, and then everything will start working well.

Overall, I think that it's a really stable product.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support for this product is not encouraging. When our customers have issues, there is a delay in response from the support team. This causes some of our customers to doubt the solution.

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

One of our customers was using SolarWinds, but have since switched to DX Spectrum because they were issues with it. Once they implemented DX Spectrum, they were able to determine the root cause of their problem and solve it.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is straightforward. The length of time required for deployment depends on the environment. For example, in a financial institution, it takes between one and two months because we need to do some information gathering and have confidence that we are meeting the requirements.

There are times when we are mid-deployment and the customer will stop us to say that they want something new. In cases like this, it slows down the implementation phase.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team handles the deployment for our customers.

What other advice do I have?

One of the issues that we have is that our customers are not aware of the product's full capabilities and what it can do for them. We are running our own campaign to give our customers a better understanding of the benefit they can get from it.

In summary, I think that it's a fantastic and durable product. For me, it is nice and I am actively recommending it to my clients.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Muhammad-Bilal
Sr. Technical Analyst software services at Multilynx
Real User
Mature product but some basic requirements are missing
Pros and Cons
  • "If you install one node on Network Node Manager and want to scale it up, it's pretty easy to create more nodes."
  • "The way the solution currently works means I'm not able to customize my own reports."

What is our primary use case?

We are a service provider and deploy in multiple locations such as banks and commercial organizations which have larger networks with 200 and sometimes 2,000 or 3,000 devices. Some of our customers have network teams of 25 to 30 but most have less than that, usually anywhere between five to 20 people. Most are IT admins, IT managers and workers in IT departments. 

What needs improvement?

The network phase in the product could be improved. Other tools such as SolarWinds have real-time bandwidth, and they can calculate bandwidth in MBs, which means something. But Micro Focus Network Node Manager always watches bandwidth. With Micro Focus, bandwidth utilization networks always show in bytes. It makes it difficult for the end-user to calculate. Micro Focus needs to offer customized dashboards. The reporting is very complex. It's not simple.

As a network person, I want to see the top end network devices, who is using maximum bandwidth or who is using maximum MB. It only requires a very simple graphic, a simple dashboard that I have customized myself. I would prefer to deploy SolarWinds or PRTG.
Unfortunately, our company only deploys Micro Focus. 

Additional features that could be included would be customizing some simple features like dashboard support. They also need to upgrade their level of support and focus on their customers. That's what's important.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the product for seven or eight years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. Once it's configured properly, stability and maintenance are stable and there are no issues with performance. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm very satisfied with the scalability because for scalability purposes we don't need to buy multiple hardware. If you install one node on Network Node Manager and want to scale it up, it's pretty easy to create more nodes. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We are very dissatisfied with the technical support. We have multiple demands and even the engineers are not satisfied. It used to be better but recently it's been a problem. I think they focus mainly on network calls. They're not always available due to the different time zones of different customers. It can take a few hours to resolve issues. As a result, I assume that in the coming years, Micro Focus will have less share of the market. Technical support should be improved. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is complex so it's better to install with the help of integrators or consultants. We are working on Microsoft Windows and also in Linux. On Windows, it's very simple, you just press control P and you can print out your devices. But on the Linux, it's quite tough.

What other advice do I have?

Micro Focus is a very mature product but some basic requirements are missing and there are services that they don't offer. For example, I'm an end-user. The way the solution currently works means I'm not able to customize my own reports.

I would rate it a seven out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Senior Baseband & RF Engineer at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
Real User
Robust with good integration capabilities and excellent stability
Pros and Cons
  • "Anything is possible with Tivoli. It's quite a robust system."
  • "The solution is not user-friendly."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use cases for the solution are confidential. However, generally, we use it to monitor all the IT elements in our network, plus some other ancillary services. 

What is most valuable?

The solution is a complete package. It has various useful elements including inventory management and incident management packaged inside it.

Anything is possible with Tivoli. It's quite a robust system.

The solution offers a lot of useful integration capabilities.

What needs improvement?

The solution is not user-friendly.

The solution is a bit complex and it would help if it were simplified so that occasional users, such as myself, could manage it better.

As a person who's not well versed in Tivoli, I find handling integrations quite difficult.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five or six years. However, I only really manage it if someone from that department is going on vacation. I don't have much experience, but still, I can do some basic troubleshooting. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've found the solution to have a stability similar to SolarWinds. It may even be a bit more stable than that. It's quite good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is impressive. It's far better than the competition.

We have less than ten admins that are on the solution currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never been in direct contact with technical support and therefore can't speak to how good they are.

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

I've used SolarWinds before. I found it easy to use and simple to troubleshoot. The front-end software was very straightforward.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a little complex. I wouldn't consider it straightforward. 

I'm not sure how long deployment takes.

We have some Tivoli specialists that manage the Tivoli solution. My experience is on the Cisco networking side, and since I don't normally work with the solution, I'm not sure if I can provide too much detail on implementation.

What other advice do I have?

I'd advise companies that it's difficult to get a person that specializes in a bunch of different solutions and can really understand them fully. It's much better to be an expert on one solution than to try to be an expert on many. If a person wants to specialize in Tivoli then they should focus on just that one solution and know everything there is to know about it.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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