FortiGate Connector for Cisco ACI

Overview

FortiGate Connector for Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) is the Fortinet solution to provide seamless integration between Fortinet Firewall (Fortigate) deployment with Cisco APIC (Application Policy Infrastructure Controller). This integration allows customers to perform single point of Fortigate configuration and Management operation through Cisco APIC.

While the FortiGate series of firewalls enable superb firewall services, in a data center environment, the insertion, configuration, and management of network services such as firewall can be quite complex and potentially errorprone tasks. One solution for such data center problems is Cisco’s ACI. Cisco’s ACI is a policy-based framework with integration of software and hardware in the underlying leaf-spine fabric. In Cisco ACI, the APIC is a tool used to automate service insertion and provisioning into the fabric of the network environment. Network service appliances, both physical and virtual, can be attached to ACI fabric’s leaf node through APIC. Traffic demanding certain network services is steered by APIC-managed policies to the appropriate resources. The FortiGate Connector allows FortiGates to be included amongst the list of resources that traffic can be directed to.

Licensing

FortiGate Connector for Cisco ACI is free of charge for Fortinet customers. You need to make sure that you register your FortiGate with FortiCare on support.fortinet.com.

Terms and concepts

FortiGate VDOMs

VDOM or Virtual Domain refers to a discretely administered segment on a FortiGate firewall. A FortiGate firewall that is not segmented and where a single administrator can access all of the firewall is operating in the “root” VDOM. However, it is possible to segment the FortiGate so that different administrators can access different areas of the FortiGate. Credentials for VDOM X will allow access to the resources and settings of VDOM A but no other. There will also be global resources and settings that will require credentials to the root VDOM. When setting up connectivity between Cisco APIC and the FortiGates it will be important to know which VDOMs control the needed resources.

FortiOS RESTful API

REST (sometimes spelled ReST) stands for Representational State Transfer. It is a software architectural style for the WWW. REST systems typically communication over HTTP, using HTTP verbs or commands to retrieve and send information to remote servers.

A good resource for the finer details of Fortinet’s implementation of ReST can be found at http://docs.fortinet.com/uploaded/files/1276/FortiAuthenticator_REST_API_Solution_Guide.pdf

North/South and East/West Traffic

The cardinal compass direction terms to describe traffic flow are used to differentiate between traffic within the cloud or data center and traffic going in and out of the cloud or data center.

  • North/South – traffic either heading into or out of a cloud or data center.
  • East/West – traffic that is between nodes inside the same cloud or data center.

Having trouble configuring your Fortinet hardware or have some questions you need answered? Ask your questions in the comments below!!! Want someone else to deal with it for you? Get some consulting from Fortinet GURU!

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