CronLab Pro 2000 Anti-Spam Appliance review

Reviews 3 Feb, 2011

The Pro 2000 from CronLab is touted as a fire-and-forget anti-spam appliance with top detection rates. We put it through a barrage of live tests in the lab to see if it lives up to the hype.

4
Price: 
£5,555
ex VAT
Verdict: 
We can’t fault CronLab on its claims as we found the Pro 2000 easy to deploy and capable of delivering top spam detection rates. The appliance hardware isn’t the best choice and it is more costly than similar products from Barracuda, but if you want an anti-spam appliance that virtually looks after itself then the Pro 2000 is well worth considering.

There may be plenty of anti-spam appliances to choose from, but many businesses are put off them by the fact that some can be difficult to deploy and often require constant tinkering with their scoring systems to get good detection rates.

CronLab aims to avoid these problems. It claims the Pro 2000 can be up and running inside of ten minutes and requires no further configuration or customisation. We decided to put this to the test by dropping this compact 1U appliance into a live environment and leaving it for a few weeks to see how it faired.

The appliance provides anti-spam and anti-virus measures along with protection against phishing, spoofing and spyware. CronLab uses the open-source SpamAssassin mail filter preconfigured with a complete set of policies and augments this with a few proprietary techniques.

Anti-virus scanning is handled by ClamAV, but you can also add BitDefender if you want dual scanning engines. All updates are handled automatically and you don't have access to CronLab’s policies or spam scoring system.

Initial contact is via a local connection where we ran through a simple setup routine. This only takes a couple of minutes as all we needed to do was provide a fixed IP address for the appliance, add DNS servers and set the time zone.

The next step is to use the web browser interface where we entered details of a domain and hostname for the appliance. Information about mail domains to be filtered is required and we added the URL of our mail server, its port number and protocol.

With the appliance configured we then visited our ISP account and altered the DNS MX record for our domain to point at the appliance. This meant that all mail for our entire domain went to the appliance first, was filtered and then passed on to our ISP where our clients could collect their mail as normal.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 1U rack

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Pentium E5500

Memory: 2GB DDR2

Storage: 500GB SATA hard disk

RAID: None

Network: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Management: Web browser

Warranty: 1yr RTB parts or appliance replacement

Options: Email Attachment Saver, 1,000 users; £428 ex VAT