Barracuda Networks launches antispam appliance line

A single device can block up to 10 million spam messages and viruses a day

The busy antispam marketplace has another new entrant: Los Altos, Calif.-based Barracuda Networks, which today unveiled a line of hardware appliances to fight spam and computer viruses.

The vendor said its Barracuda Spam Firewall hardware will allow companies to add antispam and antivirus protection to e-mail networks quickly and at a relatively low cost.

Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda, said the company is new to a market where competing antispam and antivirus appliances can begin at $25,000. The starting price of Barracuda's Model 200 device, which is designed to serve up to 1,000 users, is $1,199. Model 300, which is designed to serve up to 3,000 users, is priced at $1,899. And Model 400, which includes RAID and is designed to serve up to 10,000 users, is priced at $3,999. Subscriptions for automatic updates cost $249 a year for Model 200, $349 a year for Model 300 and $549 a year for Model 400.

Drako said the services can be plugged in and set up in about 15 minutes, and he added that there are no separate per-user licensing costs. "You can grow without paying us any additional fees," Drako said. "We have geared up for pricing to be a major differentiator."

Otto Torrisi, technical manager at Atlantic Scale Co. in Nutley, N.J., a distributor of Toledo scales, said he installed a Model 200 Barracuda Spam Firewall in mid-August ,when his e-mail server was being bombarded by spam messages. About 60% of the incoming messages to his 25 e-mail users was junk mail, he said, and the amount was straining the company's small e-mail server.

Since installing the unit, the company's sales staff has reduced the time spent dealing with e-mail by about half an hour, he said. Torrisi said he previously received about 250 spam messages each weekend, but now that figure is down to about five.

Torrisi said he looked at competing antispam/antivirus software and hardware but chose Barracuda because its price was lower and the hardware and software didn't strain his existing mail server. "[Competing] software was reasonable as far as price goes, but it was a burden on the network, and [other hardware] devices were expensive," he said. "The product was good, but what was better was the support they offered."

He said Barracuda called to check on the device recently, and when he mentioned an unrelated problem with his mail server, the company had some of its engineers help him resolve it, something outside the scope of the deal he has with them, he said.

Darryl Dirickson, technical manager at the Manufacturing Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said he installed a Barracuda appliance for the center's 100 users and it's helped cut incoming spam by 50%. "It's working pretty well," he said. "It's really helped out a lot."

The center has been using the Barracuda appliance since August, he said. Dirickson said he chose the Barracuda product after looking at about five competing options because its Web interface is very manageable and because it could be installed and up and running quickly.

"I haven't had any complaints," Dirickson said. "It's very easy to tweak" to adjust for incoming mail and to block unwanted messages.

Another user, Carson Holbrook, director of systems for the Callaway Gardens resort in Pine Mountain, Ga., said he has been impressed with the Barracuda's effectiveness for his 380 users. "What was so surprising was how cheap it was," he said.

About 55% of the resort's incoming e-mail was spam, he said. Installing Barracuda's appliances has drastically boosted productivity among users, particularly those whose e-mail addresses are listed on the resort's Web site. "They don't have to spend 20 minutes wading through all this crap when they get their e-mail in the morning," Holbrook said.

The company also looked at competing options, including an application service provider, but that would have been far more costly, at 90 cents per user per month, he said.

Barracuda offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on the devices. The company says a single box can block from 1 million to 10 million spam messages and viruses each day and is automatically updated hourly to block new spam and viruses.

The Barracuda Spam Firewall includes applications created by Barracuda technicians that use a mixture of technologies to offer denial-of-service and security protection, IP block lists, user-specified rules and a spam rule-based scoring system with Bayesian analysis. The Barracuda devices reduce loads on e-mail servers by offloading both spam and virus filtering to the device.

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