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> Chapter 23 - System Administration > Central management

Central management

Administering one or two FortiGate units is fairly simple enough, especially when they are in the same room or building. However, if you are administering many FortiGate units that may be located in locations in a large geographical area, or in the world, you will need a more efficient method of maintaining firmware upgrades, configuration changes, and updates.

The FortiManager family of appliances supply the tools needed to effectively manage any size Fortinet security infrastructure, from a few devices to thousands of appliances. FortiManager appliances provide centralized policy-based provisioning, configuration, and update management, as well as end-to-end network monitoring for added control. Managers can control administrative access and simplify policy deployment using role-based administration to define user privileges for specific management domains and functions by aggregating collections of Fortinet appliances and agents into independent management domains. By locally hosting security content updates for managed devices and agents, FortiManager appliances minimize web filtering rating request response time and maximize network protection.

This chapter describes the basics of using FortiManager as an administration tool for multiple FortiGate units. It describes the basics of setting up a FortiGate unit in FortiManager and some key management features you can use within FortiManager to manage the FortiGate unit. For full details and instructions on FortiManager, see the FortiManager Administration Guide.

This section includes the topics:

In order for the FortiGate unit and FortiManager unit to properly connect, both units must have compatible firmware. To find out if your firmware is compatible, refer to the FortiOS or FortiManager Release Notes.

Adding a FortiGate to FortiManager

Before you can maintain a FortiGate unit using a FortiManager unit, you need to add it to the FortiManager. This requires configuration on both the FortiGate and FortiManager. This section describes the basics to configure management using a FortiManager device. For more information on the interaction of FortiManager with the FortiGate unit, see the FortiManager documentation.

FortiGate configuration

These steps ensure that the FortiGate unit will be able to receive updated antivirus and IPS updates and allow remote management through the FortiManager system. You can add a FortiGate unit whether it is running in either NAT mode or transparent mode. The FortiManager unit provides remote management of a FortiGate unit over TCP port 541.

If you have not already done so, register the FortiGate unit by visiting and select Product Registration. By registering your Fortinet unit, you will receive updates to threat detection and prevention databases (Antivirus, Intrusion Detection, etc.) and will also ensure your access to technical support.

You must enable the FortiGate management option so the FortiGate unit can accept management updates to firmware, antivirus signatures, and IPS signatures.

To configure the FortiGate unit - web-based manager
  1. Log in to the FortiGate unit.
  2. Go to System > Admin > Settings.
  3. Enter the IP address for the FortiManager unit.
  4. Select Send Request.

The FortiManager ID now appears in the Trusted FortiManager table.

As an additional security measure, you can also select Registration Password and enter a password to concon nect to the FortiManager.

To configure the FortiGate unit - CLI

config system central-management

set fmg <ip_address>



To use the registration password enter:

execute central-mgmt register-device <fmg-serial-no><fmg-register-password><fgt-usrname><fgt-password>

Configuring an SSL connection

An SSL connection can be configured between the two devices and an encryption level selected. Use the following CLI commands in the FortiGate CLI to configure the connection:

config system central-management

set status enable

set enc-algorithm {default* | high | low}



The default encryption automatically sets high and medium encryption algorithms. Algorithms used for high, medium, and low follows openssl definitions:

  • High - Key lengths larger than 128 bits, and some cipher suites with 128-bit keys.


  • Medium - Key strengths of 128 bit encryption.

Algorithms are: RC4-SHA:RC4-MD5:RC4-MD

  • Low - Key strengths of 64 or 56 bit encryption algorithms but excluding export cipher suites


FortiManager configuration

Once the connection between the FortiGate unit and the FortiManager unit has been configured, you can add the FortiGate to the Device Manager in the FortiManager unit’s web-based manager. For details on completing the configuration, see the FortiManager Administration Guide.

Configuration through FortiManager

With the FortiManager system, you can monitor and configure multiple FortiGate units from one location. Using the FortiManager’s Device Manager, you can view the FortiGate units and make the usual configuration updates and changes, without having to log in and out of multiple FortiGate units.

FortiManager enables you to complete the configuration, by going to the Device Manager, selecting the FortiGate unit and using the same menu structure and pages as you would see in the FortiGate web-based manager. All changes to the FortiGate configuration are stored locally on the FortiManager unit until you synchronize with the FortiGate unit.

When a FortiGate unit is under control of a FortiManager system, administrators will not be able to change the configuration using the FortiGate. When trying to change options, the unit displays a message that it is configured through FortiManager, and any changes may be reverted.

Global objects

If you are maintaining a number of FortiGate units within a network, many of the policies and configuration elements will be the same across the corporation. In these instances, the adding and editing of many of the same policies will be come a tedious and error‑prone activity. With FortiManager global objects, this level of configuration is simplified.

A global object is an object that is not associated specifically with one device or group. Global objects includes security policies, a DNS server, VPN, and IP pools.

The Global Objects window is where you can configure global objects and copy the configurations to the FortiManager device database for a selected device or a group of devices. You can also import configurations from the FortiManager device database for a selected device and modify the configuration as required.

When configuring or creating a global policy object the interface, prompts, and fields are the same as creating the same object on a FortiGate unit using the FortiGate web‑based manager.

Locking the FortiGate web-based manager

When you use the FortiManager to manager multiple FortiGate units, a local FortiGate unit becomes locked from any configuration changes using the web-based manager for most administrators. The super_admin will still be able to make changes to the configuration; however, this is not recommended as it may cause conflicts with the FortiManager.

Firmware updates

A FortiManager unit can also perform firmware updates for multiple FortiGate units, saving time rather than upgrading each FortiGate unit individually.

The FortiManager unit stores local copies of firmware images, either by downloading images from the Fortinet Distribution Network (FDN) or by accepting firmware images that are uploaded from the management computer.

If you are using the FortiManager unit to download firmware images, the FDN first validates device licenses and support contracts and then provides a list of currently available firmware images. For devices with valid Fortinet Technical Support contracts, you can download new firmware images from the FDN and the firmware release notes.

After firmware images have been either downloaded from the FDN or imported to the firmware list, you can either schedule or immediately upgrade/downgrade a device or group of device’s firmware.

See the FortiManager Administration Guide for more information on updating the FortiGate firmware using the FortiManager central management.


FortiManager can also connect to the FortiGuard Distribution Network (FDN) to receive push updates for IPS signatures and antivirus definitions. These updates can then be used to update multiple FortiGate units throughout an organization. By using the FortiManager as the host for updates, bandwidth use is minimized as updates are downloaded to one source instead of many.

To receive IPS and antivirus updates from FortiManager, indicate an alternate IP address on the FortiGate unit.

To configure updates from FortiManager
  1. Go to System > Config > FortiGuard.
  2. Select AntiVirus and IPS Options to expand the options.
  3. Enable both Allow Push Update and Use override push IP.
  4. Enter the IP address of the FortiManager unit.
  5. Select Apply.

Backup and restore configurations

A FortiManager unit stores configuration files for backup and restore purposes. A FortiManager also enables you to save revisions of configuration files. Configuration backups occur automatically when the administrator logs out or the administrator login session expires.

FortiManager also enables you to view differences between different configurations to view where changes have been made.

Administrative domains

FortiManager administrative domains enable the super_admin to create groupings of devices for configured administrators to monitor and manage. FortiManager can manage a large number of Fortinet appliances. This enables administrators to maintain managed devices specific to their geographic location or business division. This also includes FortiGate units with multiple configured VDOMs.

Each administrator is tied to an administrative domain (ADOM). When that particular administrator logs in, they see only those devices or VDOMs configured for that administrator and ADOM. The one exception is the super_admin account that can see and maintain all administrative domains and the devices within those domains.

Administrative domains are not enabled by default and enabling and configuring the domains can only be performed by the super_admin.

The maximum number of administrative domains you can add depends on the FortiManager system model. See the FortiManager Administration Guide for information on the maximums for each model.