Sendmail Sentrion GP product review


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Sentrion GP

Price: $14,000, including Mailstream Manager; antivirus and antispam are each $2.45 per user for 1,000 users


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Sendmail's Sentrion GP

With antispam, AV and a granular, Web-based policy interface, the Sentrion GP appliance builds on the venerable open-source Sendmail software to produce an enterprise-caliber e-mail security product.


The open-source Sendmail Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), more than 25 years old, has long been known as perhaps the most arcane and difficult-to-configure application in all of IT. Now, with its Sentrion GP appliance and Mailstream Manager policy management tool, Sendmail (the company) has tamed MTA into a serviceable security and policy control product for any enterprise e-mail backbone.

We focused on the security features of the appliance to see if it could meet enterprise requirements for antispam, antivirus and policy control. While there are still some rough edges, Sentrion has the capabilities most needed for e-mail security. Our Sentrion included fully integrated software for Cloudmark antispam and McAfee antivirus; Frisk Software's F-Prot AV is also offered. All are licensed separately.

Sentrion GP packages the venerable Sendmail MTA (a base-Linux operating system), some server hardware, and sufficient Web-based configuration and management tools to keep you from ever looking at the "sendmail" configuration file again. If you have multiple Sentrion appliances, Sendmail also offers Mailstream Manager, a stand-alone Web-based tool that centralizes a subset of policy management and monitoring features.

Sentrion's management system is an odd mix of Sendmail-specific terminology and architecture combined with some new and elegant graphical tools for defining policy. If you're a Sendmail user, you'll be comfortable within its parameters; but, if your background is Microsoft Exchange or Notes, you might find some of the terminology and concepts arcane and confusing. Although the Sentrion appliance tries to hide Sendmail MTA under the hood, a bit of training on the open-source app would go a long way.

The most important part of Sentrion from a security perspective is its Web-based policy management tool. The tool is nearly identical whether you are configuring a single device or using Mailstream Manager's centralized management. The interface is elegantly complete, bringing the capabilities on par with other high-end, policy-based mail management systems.

This was first published in May 2006

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