By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-06-28 Print this article Print

From a hardware perspective, the IronPort C60 is the most robust appliance we tested, with dual processors, RAID Level 10 and redundant power supplies.

While the MXtreme Mail Firewall MX 200 and IronMail appliances are targeted at small and midsize enterprises, the IronPort C60 is designed to handle larger volumes of mail. The IronPort C10 and C30 models compare more directly with the MXtreme Mail Firewall MX 200 and IronMail, respectively.

Like the MXtreme, the IronPort relies on Brightmails anti-spam engine for spam filtering. The IronPort also uses Sophos anti-virus system for virus filtering. Both do a good job at addressing these threats.

One of the biggest problems we have with the IronPort appliance is its management capabilities.

The Web-based console manages four aspects of the product: performance metrics, reporting, anti-spam and anti-virus. Everything else is managed through the command-line interface. This will prevent anyone from doing significant damage to the box via the Web browser, but it makes otherwise-mundane tasks, such as managing the content-filtering engine, onerous.

In addition, unlike the other appliances we tested, the C60 doesnt have a KVM (keyboard, video and mouse switch) interface; instead, we accessed the command line via Telnet. The appliance also supports SSH (Secure Shell). Administrators can block access to Telnet or SSH on any of the C60s three NICs.

The appliances content-filtering component worked well in our tests, and we liked that it can ensure that certain users send only encrypted content. This will be useful in organizations where HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is a concern.

The content-filtering component, however, doesnt tie into the Web-based reporting tools.

In fact, we would like to see better overall reporting options—the defined reports focus mainly on performance of the system and the anti-spam and anti-virus engines. We would also like to see the ability to e-mail and transfer reports via FTP added to the product.

eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be contacted at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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