The security vendor Fortinet is now competing in the SD-WAN marketplace against pure-play SD-WAN vendors. Initially, Fortinet got its toes wet in the business by partnering with SD-WAN vendors to add security to their products. But now, it’s offering its own SD-WAN technology directly to customers.
The company has a large installed base for its FortiGate firewall, and it says its customers have been asking it for SD-WAN.
Nirav Shah, senior director of network security products at Fortinet, said the company is flexible in that it will still provide its security through other SD-WAN vendors or sell its own combined SD-WAN/security product directly. But he said customers are choosing to work directly with Fortinet as opposed to working with two different vendors.
“Lately customers are preferring a simple offering with SD-WAN and security,” said Shah. “Our partner vendors have understood that. So far, it is working out. Today we compete with every network SD-WAN vendor out there.”
According to Shah, who cites Gartner research, there are more than 60 SD-WAN vendors. And Shah said, “Ninety percent of them offer little or no security.” He said Fortinet’s SD-WAN has a single controller to manage both the security and the other SD-WAN features.
For the SD-WAN appliance, Fortinet’s technology can run on its FortiGate firewall hardware or in a virtual machine. “We have the same SD-WAN features across all of them,” said Shah. “We are investing heavily in software.”
The company has evolved its SD-WAN features in its latest FortiOS releases. The technology consolidates several point products at the branch, including routing, WAN optimization, SD-WAN, and security elements, into a single device. And the company says hundreds of customers are already using its unique combination of next-generation firewall and SD-WAN managed through a single, centralized controller.
Among its SD-WAN customers, Fortinet counts the financial firm Edward Jones, which has more than 12,000 branches. Shah said the company competed against Cisco for that deal.
Another customer is Alorica, which operates global call centers. Shah said Alorica is a longtime Cisco customer, but it chose Fortinet for SD-WAN.