Tumbleweed MailGate 2.2

Tumbleweed MailGate 2.2

Summary: This mail server security appliance is child’s play to set up and manage, and great for companies with limited technical expertise.

TOPICS: Security, Reviews
  • Editors' rating:
  • User rating:
  • RRP:


  • Fast deployment
  • hardly any day-to-day management needed
  • user quarantine controls


  • Inbound filtering only
  • limited customisation

Tumbleweed’s MailGate 2.2 differs markedly from other mail server security appliances in that it offers very little scope to manage the spam and virus filtering tools it provides. The upside to that, however, is quick and easy deployment plus very low overheads when it comes to day-to-day management. Tumbleweed MailGate costs from £4,000 for up to 1,000 users.

We tested a 1U MailGate appliance with just one Pentium 4 processor and internal disk drive, although a dual-processor version with mirrored drives is available for large networks. A single 10/100Mbps Ethernet connector is used for LAN attachment and, like many mail server security appliances, the MailGate is designed to act as a relay or message transfer agent, forwarding incoming SMTP packets to a local Exchange, Lotus or other mail server.

To get started, you need to either update DNS to direct mail to the appliance, or program your firewall to forward port 25 (SMTP) to its address. That address is set via a control panel on the front of the server, after which a browser is used for the remaining setup and management. The interface is far from the prettiest we’ve seen but it does the job, and with fewer options than the competition it proved to be very easy to navigate.

In fact there’s very little to set up at all. Domains to be processed and target servers must be identified, and there’s LDAP support to authenticate users, if needed, but not much else. There are no filtering rules, keywords or external blacklists to worry about, just a proprietary IBF (Intent-Based Filtering) engine based on artificial intelligence technology. The latter simply gets on with its job: it works out what’s spam, what’s bulk mail and what’s normal traffic; antivirus filtering is also provided, using either Kaspersky or McAfee engines -- or both.

The emphasis is very much on ease of use, with no controls over what happens to spam -- it’s all just quarantined. Users can then manage their quarantine folders directly, with new users automatically identified when mail is received and sent a link that password-enables them to log onto the MailGate directly. They can then edit their settings, see and control quarantined messages, and mange their own white/black lists.

Of course, administrators can also manage the process, and the management interface accordingly includes basic status graphs and reporting tools. There’s also master access to quarantined messages, although in practice Tumbleweed’s MailGate 2.2 is very much a solution you can set and forget about most of the time.


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Topics: Security, Reviews

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  • 9.5

  • 10.0

    I am amazed that this product is so accurate. I love the end user capabilities.
  • 10.0

    The appliance took less than 30 minutes to install and has been very easy to manage. We saw excellent capture rates right out of the box. Tumbleweed has definitely brought email back to the way it used to be and has reduced my overall total cost of ownership in the process.
  • 8.0

    I'd just like to point out that a lack of features is not necessarily a bad thing. The goal of an email gateway is to block spam and viruses, and MailGate does that beautifully. If you don't need all that extra cruft, then why include it?

    IT professionals are overworked as it is. The last thing they need is an overly complicated and confusing product to worry about configuring properly.
  • 6.0

    Since Mailgate was installed, I've received more spam than before, hmm.
  • 3.5

    As a customer, any service that cannot find a solution for complaints always provides a reason to spend my money elsewhere.