Fortinet Launches SDN Framework For Enhanced Data Center, Cloud Security

Fortinet Tuesday launched a software-defined security framework that it says will allow enterprises to build a holistic security approach around their data center and cloud infrastructure.

The new framework is designed to solve the problem created by the massive changes occurring in the data center, which are leading to a lack of visibility and a piecemeal approach to security, said Warren Wu, senior director of product marketing, data center at Fortinet, Sunnyvale, Calif.

Businesses have taken an "incremental" approach to security, but "no one has treated security holistically ... and stepped back and asked what it all means," Wu continued. "This framework guides where we've been in the past but also the things we need to design and envision for the future."

[Related: The Art Of Deception: New Class Of Security Startups Use Decoys To Disrupt A Hacker's Movement]

Sponsored post

The new software-defined security framework includes a data plane that encapsulates security engines from fixed hardware boxes into logical instances, a control plane for easy security orchestration and automation, and a single-pane-of-glass management plane, according to Wu.

"The framework breaks up the incremental security changes ... and really ties it all together and expands fundamental change across the entire architecture," he said.

Fortinet has teamed up with vendor partners including Extreme Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Ixia, Plumgrid, Pluribus Networks and NTT to deliver the new offering.

Hamid Lalani, technical alliances manager, lead global product line manager at HP Networking, said the new offering is a sign of "maturity" from Fortinet around network security. He said HP will be working with Fortinet to deliver the solution to its partners through the HP SDN App Store.

"We think that there is a lot of opportunity to take a very rich security portfolio like Fortinet that is SDN-enabled. ... SDN is becoming more real," Lalani said. "We will see which things work well and which things create a true value-add in the customer base and be ahead of this marketplace. That’s the strategy."

For partners, Wu said the framework will help them move customers to cloud solutions while also ensuring their security. On top of that, the framework will allow partners to help their clients architect their entire approach to security in a much more proactive and strategic way, Wu said. While the framework will require an organization to ultimately rip and replace their security solutions, Wu said that Fortinet is working to "ease the transition" and work with partners and clients to orchestrate hybrid solutions over the next few years.

"[Fortinet is] 100 percent fulfilled through the channel, so all of this is crucial not just for the end customer but for our channel partners, who are asking for and appreciating this too," Wu said.

"From the business perspective, all of this that we're doing around security with the SDN framework is to really accelerate the business," Wu continued. "When we're looking at cloud computing and agile networks, in the end a lot of it is around getting more flexibility and speed in the data center ... but at the same time they want to ensure that the user's data is secure."

Wu said that Tuesday's news will be a guiding force for the security vendor's product road map going forward. He said partners can expect more pieces of the framework and add-ons to be announced in the coming months.