Following a solid history with VOP Mail and VOP Radius servers, Vircom has produced VOP modusMail, a strong mail server for enterprises. With few exceptions, this product fits the needs of a versatile enterprise-level mail server, and like the economists say, “all things being equal” with the basic mail server, VOP modusMail’s outstanding capability to control both virus and spam problems sets it apart.
Installation and Management
Following a solid history with VOP Mail and VOP Radius servers, Vircom has produced VOP modusMail, a strong mail server for enterprises.
A GUI interface may not be de-rigueur for a mail server, but it does help.
For example, it has become something of the norm, as it is with VOP modusMail, to install and perform basic configuration of a mail server in minutes instead of hours. To a certain extent the beauty of the user interface is in the eye of the beholder, but we found the VOP modusMail Management Console to be well organized and easy to use — a far cry from the struggles routinely encountered with un-enhanced sendmail (albeit in another, parallel universe).
Vircom has done a good job of gathering the many and various management capabilities under one GUI roof. This contributes to making features, such as spam control, seem more integrated than they do in other mail server products.
You’d be hard pressed to find a major feature that VOP modusMail doesn’t support, such as mail protocols SMTP, ESMTP, POP3, and IMAP-4. VOP modusMail uses the tested VOP Mail Server, which we found to have above average database connectivity in several areas as well as good performance. While this system doesn’t have the clustering control of the largest enterprise mail systems, its scalability is not limited to a single server.
Perhaps the centerpiece for enterprise and ISP purposes is its support for multiple real and virtual domains. We found it easy to set up several virtual domains on a single server and then parcel out some of the administrative responsibility to users. Mailbox management for users is equally easy to configure.
When it comes to user authentication, as you’d expect from a company that makes a Radius server, the support is comprehensive, with support for, for example LDAP, Radius, EcoBuilder, ODBC database, and NT SAM. Another notable feature about VOP modusMail is its capability to interface with billing and account management programs (e.g., iBOB, RODOPI, Platypus, and Hawk-I).
In addition, VOP modusMail’s logging and monitoring options are extensive and support external database acquisition (ODBC). It also has a built-in mail list server with an array of features to support it.
Security and Spam Control
The concept of a mail server with antivirus and antispam components is not new. What distinguishes VOP modusMail from the pack is that in VOP modusMail these components are top of the line and integrated into the basic server — not an aftermarket add-on.
The core of VOP modusMail’s virus protection is the Norman Data Defense System. This is perhaps not as well known in the United States as McAfee or Norton, but it has won its share of awards. Scan results can be cached for better performance, and antivirus options can be assigned to specific users, domains, or systemwide.
VOP modusMail doesn’t just dump suspect files into a quarantine folder. It gives the administrator tools to work with them, such as the capability to securely examine files, impose quarantine quotas, release suspected files, and customize notification for users about the quarantined files.
The heart of the spam control goes beyond the usual system-level blockers (i.e., reverse DNS lookup, domain blocking, multiple real-time blacklists, antirelay filtering, and dynamic blacklisting) and includes an implementation of the Sieve language, an emerging standard for filtering e-mail messages. Although using Sieve requires some programming skill, an administrator can do wonders in catching even the most sophisticated spammers — without arbitrarily cutting off important business mail.
One of the new features in version 1.2 are Sieve scripts (provided free by Vircom) that make it possible to implement some very effective antispamming without digging into Sieve coding. Updates to new spam filters and virus definitions are available 24/7.
Surprisingly, considering how security conscious VOP modusMail is with antivirus and spam control, support for SSL and other forms of encryption is not nearly as extensive as, for example, the multiplexor support of SSL in iPlanet Messaging Server, nor does VOP modusMail offer tools to work with network firewalls.