The first thing to note is that it provides deployment flexibility by providing the option to run as a physical or virtual appliance in VMware vSphere of Microsoft Hyper-V Server. Both deployment options offer a vast amount of capability and features including spam detection, protection from email-based viruses, content management, encryption and data leakage prevention.
We chose to deploy the appliance as a virtual machine using VMware. We found the initial installation to be quite straightforward and easy to complete. This installation consisted of mounting the CD ISO image to a pre-configured virtual machine and letting the mostly automated process install the appliance operating system and features. After the virtual appliance was created, we were able to access the appliance's web-based setup wizard. We found this to be easy to follow with clear step-by-step configuration instructions. We then accessed the web-based management GUI for the appliance which we found to be well-organized with a clean and intuitive layout.
All configuration and management of the appliance is done using the web GUI. While navigating the GUI itself, we found ourselves comfortable finding various policy configuration options and other features and functions. Overall, we had an easy time configuring the appliance for our environment. As for configurability, we found this appliance offered granular policy controls and many easy to configure features and functions. Many could be activated by simply clicking a button or creating a rule. This tool also featured many out-of-box content-inspection capabilities to monitor and manage many attachment file types ensuring that both inbound and outbound email meets the policy requirements of the organization.
Documentation included installation and full administrator guides. The installation guide provided clear step-by-step instructions, along with many screen shots, on how to install the appliance both in virtual deployments and physical. As well, it provided an introduction to the initial configuration steps once the appliance is installed. We found all documentation to be in an easy-to-follow format with many screen shots and configuration examples.
Clearswift offers customers full 24/7 phone- and email-based technical support as part of the annual subscription price of the product. Customers also have access to an online portal, which includes many resources, such as product documentation, a knowledge base and a user forum.
Pricing is quite reasonable, but does involve some recurring cost. The initial purchase of the product to support up to 100 users is just under $3,600 including hardware. For customers providing their own hardware or going the virtual route, the price for the same amount of users drops to just over $1,800. As for the subscription cost, for the same amount of users customers pay an annual cost of $1,847. Despite the mandatory recurring subscription cost, we find this product to be a solid value for the money based on its comprehensive feature set and overall ease of use and management.
This one defines what we mean by full featured. We make it our Recommended product.