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Device Profile: IntelliReach MessageScreen email filter appliance

Jul 16, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

IntelliReach has used SuSE Linux in a spam-, virus-, and image-filtering network appliance supporting Notes, GroupWise, and Microsoft mail servers. The MessageScreen blocks 98 percent of spam, the company says, with “virtually zero” false positives. It targets companies wishing to create and enforce effective email policies.

MessageScreen uses deep scanning technology that examines message headers, body, and attachments, applying as many as 8,000 available filtering rules based on Real-Time Block Lists (RBLs), Sender Server Verification, lexical intelligence, predictive analysis, advanced heuristic scoring, and anti-virus and image scanning. In addition to filtering, the MessageScreen supports secure email, provides email storage and archiving, enforces email policy compliance, and monitors and reports on email systems.

MessageScreen is configured through a secure Web-based interface, and provides users with a secure interface with which to manage their filter settings and access quarantined files.

MessageScreen is available in several appliance sizes targeting organizations of “any size.” The LX100 supports throughput of 30,000 5KB messages per hour with virus- and spam-filtering, IntelliReach claims, while the LX300 supports up to 58,000 messages per hour. Throughputs drop 20 percent when RBL is used. Where still larger throughputs are required, multiple MessageScreens can be configured in a cluster, IntelliReach says.

What's under the hood?

Both MessageScreen models are based on a 1U network appliance hardware platform manufactured, provisioned, and distributed by Network Engines, according to Jeff Coveney, director of product management. The LX100 is based on a single 2.4GHz Intel Xeon processor, with 1GB of RAM, while the LX300 uses dual 2.8GHz Xeons with 2GB of RAM.

Both devices come with dual front hot-swap 7300 RPM 120GB SATA hard drives, configured in a RAID1 (mirrored) array. The devices also have redundant 10/100/1000 BaseT Ethernet ports.

Software side

MessageScreen is available with either SuSE Linux, or Solaris; however, according to Coveney, “Linux allows throughput increases of up to 8x from a standard Solaris implementation.”

Coveney adds, “We realized early on that Linux will also give our users the lowest total cost of ownership.”

IntelliReach engineering personnel developed the SuSE Linux port, according to Coveney. “The port to Linux was pretty straightforward for our development staff and the only additional work was broad QA testing. We attribute the ease of porting to MessageScreen's application design.”

Coveney did not specify whether the system software includes open source spam-filtering programs such as spamassassin, but clearly there is no shortage of powerful open source code aimed at the combatting the blight of spam. The devices use a commercial virus-filtering engine from Sophos, Coveney said.

Coveney says that his company is quite impressed with Linux, and he predicts a bright future for the operating system in network devices. “Taking into consideration the factors that drove IntelliReach to port MessageScreen to Linux, i.e. performance, low TCO, and user demand, we foresee Linux becoming the predominant platform for network appliances.”

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