Barracuda Networks Spam and Virus Firewall 900 review

Barracuda’s Spam and Virus Firewall 900 claims an impressive anti-spam performance, but at a high price. In this exclusive review, Dave Mitchell finds out if its real world performance and messaging security features are worth digging deep for.

Price
£31,449

Barracuda's flagship products have always been its Spam and Virus Firewall appliances, and the latest 900 model reviewed here is aimed firmly at the enterprise sector. It has impressive credentials too, as along with a high claimed spam detection rate, it's designed to handle between 15,000 and 30,000 email users and up to 5,000 mail domains.

Barracuda Networks Spam and Virus Firewall 900 image

Considering the price, the 900 appliance isn't that physically impressive, since this Supermicro-based 2U rack server sports a pair of 2.6GHz 6-core Opteron 2435 processors teamed up with a modest 8GB of DDR2 RAM. For storage, there are quartets of 150GB WD Enterprise and 500GB Seagate SATA II drives in hot-swap carriers.

These drives are linked to a simple Areca PCI-X RAID controller and each group is preconfigured as RAID-10 striped mirrors. The WD drives look after the OS and message log storage, while the Seagate array provides a quarantine store.

The appliance is best located in a server room, since its cooling fans are remarkably noisy. This does show its age, as Supermicro addressed overall noise levels on its entire server range some time ago and so more recent models are much quieter.

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Prices start at 31,449 and for this you get the appliance and a one-year basic replacement warranty. Barracuda's Energize Updates service for anti-spam, anti-virus and other security updates adds a further 27,749 for a three-year subscription, while a three-year instant-replacement (next business day) warranty adds another 17,649. This brings the total price to a hefty 76,847.

Despite its size and performance credentials though, the 900 is just as easy to deploy as Barracuda's small business models. The process starts with a local monitor and keyboard configuration used to complete a simple setup routine that asks for an IP address, a gateway and DNS settings.

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