IT Pro Verdict
We were impressed with Libra ESVA as it delivered excellent anti-spam performance in our live tests. The software is very easy to deploy and configure and although we had some criticisms these are likely to be rectified in future versions. Libra’s low prices also make ESVA a worthy choice for SMBs looking to virtualise their network security services.
The appeal of the virtual appliance for messaging security hasn't been missed with most vendors now offering versions of their anti-spam software for VMware environments, but Italian company Libra goes further. Not only does is its ESVA (email security virtual appliance) product designed to run only in VMware virtual machines (VMs) but it also claims a very high spam detection rate and looks very affordable for smaller businesses.
ESVA is delivered as an OVF file so it can be used with VMware Server, ESX Server, Workstation or Player. Libra has an image available for Microsoft's Virtual PC but stresses that, along with VMware Workstation and Player, this should only be used for evaluation purposes. Libra advised us that it will also be supporting Microsoft's Hyper-V and should have this available by the end of this year.
The open source community may well have come across ESVA before as it was originally developed by Global Domination and is still available as a free download. However, as with many of these types of projects, support has been very patchy with the developer disappearing for most of this year making it a risky choice to use in a business environment.
Libra started supporting the project in 2008 but after making substantial improvements to the core functions of the software, went commercial with its own version shortly afterwards. Libra ESVA is now a very different beast to the open source version and the company provides full support for its paying customers.
Libra claims a ten minute installation process which we can verify. After downloading the OVF file, we deployed it as a template to our ESX Server 4.0 system and had a new VM with the appliance loaded on it in a few minutes.
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.