Hoping to tie its name more directly to software-defined networking (SDN), Fortinet is announcing a framework for software-defined security. In other words, Fortinet wants you to know it’s ready to fit in an SDN world.
There are no new products involved in the framework. “What we’re trying to elaborate on is how all the pieces tie together,” says Warren Wu, senior director of product marketing.
An incumbent vendor hailing from the old days of security appliances, Fortinet is now up against heavy PR from companies claiming to have improved on security, such as Palo Alto Networks, and those trying to radically rethink security, such as Illumio and Skyport.
With today’s announcement, the company wants to spell out that can work with a centralized control plane — Cisco‘s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) or VMware‘s NSX, for instance — that applies policy in an automated fashion from a logically centralized point. The statement is sort of like pledging allegiance to SDN.
Fleshing out the framework, Fortinet says it provides the virtualized elements for the data plane and has done work on a unified management plane for physical and virtual networks.
“A virtual firewall has been around for six or seven years now,” says Wu, who previously worked on virtual machines at VMware. “The key enabler that’s added now is the orchestration. The previous network didn’t have a controller brain that the security vendors could orchestrate with.”
Like many other vendors, Fortinet believes customers need help stitching all these pieces together. The framework announcement is a bid to provide that service.
Fortinet is also claiming more than two dozen technology partners in SDN, virtualization, and related areas, namechecking companies such as HP, PLUMgrid, and Pluribus. Cisco and VMware aren’t listed on the press release, but don’t freak out — they really are partners, Wu says. It’s just that Fortinet has more specific announcements with those vendors coming later.
Previously, Fortinet has at least shown awareness of the cloud. Its FortiGate-VM, a virtual appliance, was announced five years ago, and today’s release points out work Fortinet has done to support Microsoft Azure and to integrate with ACI.