This software is the Windows/ Exchange counterpart to the vendor's excellent offerings in the Linux/Solaris world.
As stated, this is an anti-spam and anti-virus product aimed at Exchange servers. Ease of installation has always been one of the vendor's strong points, and this did not disappoint. The start-up booklet guided us through installation without a hitch.
The software requires Windows 2000 upwards to install and can be placed either on the same machine as the Exchange server or another computer.The software also needs SQL Server running on the network, or it will install MSDE to use as a quarantine database.
An administration group is also created to administer the product.
For the test, we installed everything on a separate computer to the one running the Exchange server. We found that the product was very intuitive to use – clicking on the Play icon on the status page of the console was all that was needed to start the service.
Spam filtering is done via another tab. On this one, the user would set the slider control to increase the amount of mail treated as spam. There is another slider control for "suspected spam." A novel system, but it feels a little odd not to have more granular controls over keywords, IP addresses and suchlike.
We looked through the documentation supplied on disc, but extra functionality was limited to whitelists, blacklists and "extra network-related checks" that "might result in slower email handling."
That aside, the product does well in blocking spam, so the other problems might not be such a big issue after all. The performance of the product was reasonable – our test emails did put some strain on the system, but regular email throughput was managed well.
Over the whole group test, a number of vendors use Sophos's anti-spam technology. The product works well, but we hope Sophos improves speed in the next version.