Fortinet has a new FortiASIC for Edge?

Fortinet has been producing trusty security silicon for quite a while. It’s good to see the continuing innovation coming from the FortiTEAM. The Fortinet SP5 purpose-built ASIC is looking very good at launch.

What’s the goal? Must go faster, consume less power, and do more in hardware. The uses cases from Fortinet include edge compute, OT, branch, campus and 5G infrastructure. Wait… Edge?

Fortinet copy pasta — “Edge Compute: As edge computing improves efficiency and cost control through processing close to the edge, FortiSP5 supports high-speed networks and security threat protection for both commercial and operational technology (OT) environments, minimizing bottlenecks for traffic movement.”

FortiSP5 is not inside your edge compute. They’re saying FortiSP5 is supporting security and traffic movement. The term Edge may still be confusing and Fortinet is recognizing you still need the network demarc. It may be a security dmac, Internet demarc, SD-WAN dmarc, or 5G dmarc. In any of those cases you need a security layer between trusted and untrusted.

The FortiSP5 ASIC running underneath FortiOS is a purpose built application-specific accelerator. (Very good! Go team hardware!) However, anything that is not pushed through FortiSP5 is going back through the CPU cores. The vertical integration is very good and Fortinet has been very good at managing the hardware and software lifecycles required to add features.

Fortinet says 17x faster firewall performance compared to leading standard CPUs. Awesome! What is a “leading standard CPU” and how is FortiSP5 17x faster? A lot of processing happens on… wait for it… processors. Purpose built ASIC is clearly advantageous and I’m team hardware. It’s just a bit difficult to talk about comparisons without sourcing a real comparison.

Final Take:

Some industry buzzwords were added to the marketing release. No surprise. FortiSP5 is another generation forward and the team is still proving that silicon still matters. Does this ASIC exist in the edge? No, it exists in your security demarcation. If you have a closed SD-WAN, do you need all the security features FortiSP5 includes? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Looking forward to seeing what products will hold this new FortiSP5. Good job FortiTEAM!