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News

Improved security appliances with Xeon processors

IronPort Systems : 18 September, 2007  (New Product)
Ironport proprietory OS performance exploits full port of latest Intel processor to help stay abreast of the continuing demands of network threats.
IronPort Systems has announced the use of Multi-core Intel Xeon processors to power IronPort's next generation of email and Web security appliances. IronPort appliances use AsyncOS, a proprietary operating system that takes full advantage of the significant performance increases made possible by Intel Multi-core technology. This performance improvement helps enterprises, Internet service providers (ISPs) and smaller organisations stay ahead of the never-ending deluge of spam e-mail.

It is estimated that more than 90 percent of all email is spam. According to data from IronPort's SenderBase, the world's first and largest email traffic monitoring service, the volume of spam has been roughly doubling every year, with no end in sight. As of August 2007, IronPort has observed an 18 percent month-over-month increase in spam volume. More than 80 percent of spam is sent by infected "zombie" computers, typically in consumer broadband networks. As spam filters become more effective and more widely deployed, a spammer simply sends more messages with the hope that enough will get through spam filters to make the spammer's business profitable.

In addition to the brute-force tactic of doubling spam volumes year-over-year, spammers have adopted a variety of techniques to bypass traditional filters. Spammers have migrated from simple text messages to HTML messages and image-based spam. The latest variant is known as attachment spam, where spam messages are embedded into popular attachment types such as Adobe PDF or Microsoft Excel files. This poses additional burdens for spam filters because the average spam message size has increased from approximately 3 kilobytes in 2005 to 40 kilobytes in 2007. Not only are the messages larger, but more computer processing power is necessary at the perimeter to interpret the new attachments and distinguish spam from legitimate mail. The combination of exponential growth in message volumes coupled with larger message sizes requires more processing power per message--and many traditional anti-spam systems struggle to keep up. As a result, end users see more spam in their inboxes and may experience delays in sending and receiving mail.

The next generation email security appliance from IronPort, the IronPort X1050, uses the dual Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor 5300 series to stay in front of new spammer tactics. The IronPort AsyncOS operating system is able to take full advantage of all eight cores, yielding system throughput approximately 800 percent greater than a comparable single-core appliance. This increase in processing power allows the IronPort appliance not only to process more email messages, but also to run more sophisticated rules and analysis to help thwart the latest spam techniques.

The combination of IronPort software and Intel's advanced hardware systems yields a robust solution to surging spam.
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