McAfee gives content filter a hardware boost

Rising levels of spam have caused McAfee to upgrade the hardware of its WebShield appliance

McAfee is replacing the hardware on its content management products to keep up with the growing level of spam.

Although the WebShield name will remain the same, the changes will allow for significantly faster throughput on the product, says McAfee. The company is releasing a 3000 series appliance in place of its e1000, e500 and e250 predecessors.

"There's no change in functionality, just a change in hardware," said Mick Paddington, senior marketing manager for McAfee. "We were having SMTP and throughput challenges and had a ceiling limit that we looked to change."

Paddington added that the increasing level of spam was causing customers to demand more powerful appliances: "As you know, email doesn't get any less [frequent]. We have to keep up with demand for hardware. We've measured how many SMTP messages [the new product] can take, and that has doubled."

McAfee said there would still be three WebShield models, but they would all now be rack-mountable. The appliances have been scaled up and now range from 80-gigabyte hard drives with 512MB of RAM, to a device with two SCSI drives and four gigabytes of RAM.

Computer manufacturer Dell has been put in charge of making the appliances, which will be available at the end of the month.

A recent report from analyst firm IDC said that by 2008, 85 percent of IT security solutions will be catered for by hardware appliances. Analyst Thomas Raschke said the popularity of hardware appliances would soar because they were ideal for understaffed security departments.