OmniTI Ecelerity Edge 75 review

£3981
Price when reviewed

Along with the IronPort C60, the Edge 75 is another message security appliance that stands out from the crowd, but not necessarily for all the right reasons. On the plus side, US-based manufacturer OmniTI Computer Consulting claims that the Edge 75 offers one of the industry’s fastest MTAs (mail transfer agents). The product is also based heavily on the Sieve mail-filtering language, which was developed by the IETF around five years ago as a simple means of providing client- or server-side mail filtering.

OmniTI Ecelerity Edge 75 review

While using Sieve isn’t a problem in itself, the biggest drawback of the Edge 75 is that OmniTI hasn’t done anything to wrap the language in a user-friendly interface. In particular, in its current configuration, the Edge 75 requires administrators to have an in-depth working knowledge of Sieve: try editing existing policies and rules or creating new ones and you’ll be taken to a window where you enter text-based Sieve commands directly.

Aside from this, the Edge 75 is simple enough to install. As with many appliances running a Linux-based kernel, this is hidden neatly by a well-designed web interface. It provides wizards and other tools that automate the configuration process, so you need no working knowledge of the underlying OS.

With the appliance slotted into our closed test network, we introduced it to our domain and mail servers, and reconfigured our test clients to use the appliance as their SMTP server. The home page opens with a complete rundown on mail activity, and there’s an incredible amount of graphing detail provided on SMTP sessions, general throughput and mail queues. Spam is handled by the standard diet of reverse DNS lookups, connection checks and black and white lists. The appliance will also look at URLs referenced in mail or any IP addresses and remotely check with OmniTI’s DNS service to see whether they’re blacklisted. Policies drive the appliance’s reactions, so you can add your own black and white lists of IP addresses and modify or create your Sieve filtering rules. You’ll definitely need to do this, as the appliance default policy caught only 55 per cent of our spam sample. Progress is further hampered by the fact that OmniTI only currently provides documentation on the appliance for its MTA and the Sieve commands. Consequently, there’s nothing to guide you through using the browser interface, although we did find OmniTI’s support staff extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

Viruses get a tough time with Kaspersky or F-Secure on the case, and signatures are updated automatically. However, default responses to an infection are limited. We found infected messages were simply thrown back at the client, with a server error advising that a virus had been detected. You can modify this behaviour, but you’ll need to use Sieve to do it.

Although we weren’t overly impressed with the Edge 75, we can see that administrators with a good grounding in Sieve can get a lot out of it. For SMEs that prefer not to get their hands dirty, we recommend appliances such as the Tumbleweed Mailgate 2.2 or Spam Firewall 300 from Barracuda Networks. We’ll keep an eye on the Edge 75, though, as we were advised that OmniTI plans to implement policy wizards in the next version and sort out the documentation as well.

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