GFI MailEssentials 2015 is available today. Product manager, Ian Bugeja, tell us what’s new in this version.
What’s exciting for businesses in this release?
In GFI MailEssentials 2015 we are introducing a multi-server feature that makes it easier for IT administrators to manage email security across multiple email servers.
You are most likely to find multiple email gateways in medium to larger organizations. If these are protected by GFI MailEssentials, you need a way to manage all instances at the same time. This is a necessary feature because it reduces the risk of error and time required to keep all systems in sync.
The multi-server feature addresses this issue by consolidating three aspects of your email security infrastructure: configuration, reporting and quarantine.
The configuration of GFI MailEssentials can be synchronized across different servers. We have synchronized all the settings that require daily maintenance such as your whitelist, blocklist, personal lists, all blocking rules and keywords. Now, you just have to update one server and all changes are propagated to the other servers.
Maintaining multiple quarantines can be a time-consuming operation and require considerable effort. With a centralized quarantine all blocked emails go to one location. Searching, approving, deleting or viewing quarantined emails can be done from one dashboard.
What about the reporting data?
The same thing applies. We have introduced what we call ‘centralized reporting’. All reporting data is sent to the same database so that you can easily generate reports for all servers or for a specific server from the master reporting node. This makes it much easier to generate reports on the entire email flow in the organization.
How does this work?
GFI MailEssentials is installed on every server that is acting as a gateway or where email scanning is needed.
In each network, one GFI MailEssentials server needs to be promoted to master server. The master server is the server responsible of coordinating the other slave servers. You can promote a server to be the master by going to the multi-server node in the configuration and setting it to master.
The other servers need to be configured as slaves. This can be done by going to the multi-server page on the slave servers and enrolling them to the master server. Once done all GFI MailEssentials servers will be running in multi-server mode.
Email scanning still happens on each server and the configuration data is taken from the master. Quarantine and reporting data are sent to the master quarantine and reporting server. If the master server is down for maintenance, scanning continues as normal, however quarantine and reporting data are queued locally. Once the master server is up again the data is pushed to it.
How does this help in terms of redundancy and reliability?
Email is so vital that multiple SMTP gateways are quite common and are mainly required for load distribution and redundancy, and in turn, greater reliability. We have designed the multi-server network in such a way that there is no dependent server and although there is a master server this is not required for email scanning. With this feature organizations can aim for redundancy and improved reliability of their email infrastructure.
Are there other improvements in this version?
Yes, we made some updates to the product’s core scanning functionality. We have replaced most lists such as whitelists, blocklists and autowhiltelist and now use a faster and scalable database technology, SQL Server Compact. This enables us to achieve better throughput and scalability when it comes to scanning, especially when these lists are large in size.
We have also revamped the automatic updates system for deployment of product updates. Updates are now easier to install and the IT administrator is assured that GFI MailEssentials is up to date from a support and security perspective.