Fortinet Management Theory

Fortinet Management Theory

FortiManager is an integrated platform for the centralized management of products in a Fortinet security infrastructure. A FortiManager provides centralized policy-based provisioning, configuration and update management for FortiGate (including FortiGate, FortiWiFi, and FortiGate VM), FortiCarrier, FortiSwitch, and FortiSandbox devices.

To reduce network delays and minimize external Internet usage, a FortiManager installation can also act as an on-site FortiGuard Distribution Server (FDS) for your managed devices and FortiClient agents to download updates to their virus and attack signatures, and to use the built-in web filtering and email filter services.

The FortiManager scales to manage up to 5 000 devices and virtual domains (VDOMs) from a single FortiManager interface. It is primarily designed for medium to large enterprises and managed security service providers.

Using a FortiManager device as part of an organization’s Fortinet security infrastructure can help minimize both initial deployment costs and ongoing operating expenses. It allows fast device provisioning, detailed revision tracking, and thorough auditing.

Key features of the FortiManager system

Configuration revision control and tracking

Your FortiManager unit records and maintains the history of all configuration changes made over time. Revisions can be scheduled for deployment or rolled back to a previous configuration when needed.

Centralized management

FortiManager can centrally manage the configurations of multiple devices from a single console. Configurations can then be built in a central repository and deployed to multiple devices when required.

Administrative domains

FortiManager can segregate management of large deployments by grouping devices into geographic or functional ADOMs. See Administrative Domains.

Local FortiGuard service provisioning

A FortiGate device can use the FortiManager unit for antivirus, intrusion prevention, web filtering, and email filtering to optimize performance of rating lookups, and definition and signature downloads. See FortiGuard Management.

Firmware management

FortiManager can centrally manage firmware images and schedule managed devices for upgrade.



FortiManager supports CLI or Tcl based scripts to simplify configuration deployments. See Scripts.

Logging and reporting

FortiManager can also be used to log traffic from managed devices and generate Structured Query Language (SQL) based reports. FortiManager also integrates FortiAnalyzer logging and reporting features.

Fortinet device life cycle management

The management tasks for devices in a Fortinet security infrastructure follow a typical life cycle:

  • Deployment: An administrator completes configuration of the Fortinet devices in their network after initial installation.
  • Monitoring: The administrator monitors the status and health of devices in the security infrastructure, including resource monitoring and network usage. External threats to your network infrastructure can be monitored and alerts generated to advise.
  • Maintenance: The administrator performs configuration updates as needed to keep devices up-to-date.
  • Upgrading: Virus definitions, attack and data leak prevention signatures, web and email filtering services, and device firmware images are all kept current to provide continuous protection for devices in the security infrastructure.

Inside the FortiManager system

FortiManager is a robust system with multiple layers to allow you to effectively manage your Fortinet security infrastructure.

Device Manager tab

The Device Manager tab contains all ADOMs, and devices. You can create new ADOMs, device groups, provision and add devices, install policy packages and device settings. See Device Manager.

Policy & Objects tab

The Policy & Objects tab contains all of your global and local policy packages and objects that are applicable to all ADOMs, and configuration revisions. See Policy & Objects.

System Settings tab

The Systems Settings tab enables the configuration of system settings and monitors the operation of your FortiManager unit. See System Settings.


Inside the FortiManager device manager tab

Global ADOM layer

The global ADOM layer contains two key pieces: the global object database and all header and footer policies.

Header and footer policies are used to envelop policies within each individual ADOM. These are typically invisible to users and devices in the ADOM layer. An example of where this would be used is in a carrier environment, where the carrier would allow customer traffic to pass through their network but would not allow the customer to have access to the carrier’s network assets.

ADOM layer

The ADOM layer is where the FortiManager manages individual devices or groups of devices. It is inside this layer where policy packages and folders are created, managed and installed on managed devices. Multiple policy packages can be created here, and they can easily be copied to other ADOMs to facilitate configuration or provisioning of new devices on the network. The ADOM layer contains one common object database per ADOM, which contains information such as addresses, services, antivirus and attack definitions, and web filtering and email filter.

Device manager layer

The device manager layer records information on devices that are centrally managed by the FortiManager unit, such as the name and type of device, the specific device model, its IP address, the current firmware installed on the unit, the device’s revision history, and its real-time status.



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