SmarterMail 16 for System Administrators

SmarterMail 16 for System Admins

System Administrators manage the SmarterMail server as a whole and ensure that Domain Administrators and end users have safe, secure and reliable access to SmarterMail. They set up domain and user defaults -- things like disk space allocations, the total number of aliases allowed, max message size and more -- as well as default antispam and antivirus rules for all of the domains on the server. In addition, System Administrators are responsible for the overall health of the server, from preventing Denial of Service and brute force attacks to monitoring CPU and memory usage. For the System Administrator, prevention and proactivity are integral for ensuring optimal performance.

From the very beginning, SmarterMail was built to simplify system administration. In addition, SmarterMail gives System Administrators the tools they need to ensure that their mail servers are performing at the highest levels possible. Unlike other products, SmarterMail combines power, simplicity and performance. Below are some of the changes we’ve made to the system administration side of SmarterMail 16.x.

Setup and Installation of SmarterMail

SmarterMail setup

SmarterMail 16.x dramatically simplifies every aspect of getting your mail server up and running. We made the installation process simpler, then we made the overall configuration and management of SmarterMail simpler. Even though it was already the easiest mail server to configure, there was plenty of room for improvement in SmarterMail 16 after ten years of added features.

What did we do? For starters, the installation process now takes care of installing all of the program files SmarterMail needs to run plus we walk you through setting up a SmarterMail app pool and the SmarterMail website in IIS with our new Configuration utility. You no longer need to set up the site in IIS by hand! These changes dramatically reduce the time it takes to get SmarterMail up and running.

Next, based on our years of running mail servers, customer feedback and our own testing, we added the ability to create domain and user defaults, and then propagate those settings to all domains and users, or to a subset of domains and users. We also greatly improved the organization of settings, grouping items together for ease of access. Next, while we offered pre-configured antispam and antivirus settings in previous versions, and had Administrators choose of those settings to use, with SmarterMail 16.x we created a baseline for your mail server’s antispam, antivirus and abuse detection, which includes default IDS and DoS settings, that are better defined, and better performing. That means the setup process for SmarterMail is just 3 easy steps: you enter your licensing info and create your System Admin account, you add your hostname and bound IPs, and then you set your SmarterMail paths. It’s that simple!

Mail Server Management

SmarterMail management

Once you get SmarterMail installed and configured, it’s time to get down to the business of managing your server. That means having access to the tools and reports you need to efficiently monitor things like:

  • User activity across all domains on the server
  • All current connections, by protocol, including XMPP and ActiveSync connections
  • Active IDS blocks by protocol
  • CPU and memory usage
  • Drive health and average disk reads and writes
  • Incoming and outgoing message traffic
  • Abuse detection violations, including DoS, email harvesting and internal spammers
  • Sessions based on various protocols, including SMTP, IMAP and POP
  • Greylisted connections and MUCH more

In addition to the large number of interactive tools, we also offer significant logging and access to the various log files SmarterMail creates for in-depth analysis and debugging purposes, or for working with SmarterTools expert support staff. These logs include, but are by no means limited to: delivery logging, spool logging, protocol sessions and much more! A mail server is complex and can be performing thousands of things at one time. The logging in SmarterMail is incredibly detailed and allows almost anything to be discovered.

Then there is SmarterMail’s powerful Events system. As a System Administrator, it’s imperative that you proactively monitor all aspects of the server to make sure that an issue doesn’t turn into a problem that will affect users. That’s where the event system comes into play. A System Administrator can create an Event to fire when the server’s disk space is running low or get notified if an abuse detection rule is triggered. Events can be used so that you know if a specific IP is blacklisted, so that you can contact the list administrator and get the block lifted BEFORE your users find out. Events can even be set up so that you know when your license is expiring or when a new major or minor version of SmarterMail is released.

Robust Antispam and Antivirus Management

SmarterMail antispam management

Antispam and antivirus areas have been greatly simplified with the ability to extend functionality. Over the years many methods of combatting SPAM have changed, and while SmarterMail has adapted, this area remains as powerful as ever: the features and actions you are used to using are still there, they’re just easier to find and manage. However, you will find a revised approach to our spam and virus protection as well as a new default list of RBL’s, which is based on customer and user feedback. Of course, it’s also possible to add your own RBLs and/or URIBLs or external spam checks, such as antispam services or appliances, as needed.

Reporting

SmarterMail reporting

Reporting has been completely revised to offer System Administrators more information in incredible looking dashboards and reports. No other email server gives you so much information, not to mention presenting it in an easy-to-understand format. You have all the information you need to make decisions on how best to manage and maintain your SmarterMail servers. In addition, many of the reports are also available to Domain Administrators and end users, which reduces the amount of time a System Administrator needs to provide with certain pieces of information are needed at those levels.

  • The Dashboard shows you your service uptime, your current CPU and Memory usage, the average read/write of your primary drive, and the number of messages in the spool
  • Protocol overview shows you bandwidth usage, message traffic stats, SMTP, IMAP and POP sessions and more
  • Server Health overview gives you a bit more detail about the CPU and Memory usage on the machine, plus average read/write statistics, hard drive usage and more
  • Security overview shows you your total number of connections, abuse detection violations, ClamAV and/or Cyren stats and more
  • Antispam overview shows you the number of incoming spam messages you’ve received, by reporting level (low, medium, high), as well as the number of greylisted connections and information on any add-on you’re using, such as Cyren Premium Antispam and Message Sniffer

Of course, overviews are great for point-in-time assessment, but the ability to drill down into more detail is what makes SmarterMail so powerful. Each overview also has a more detailed report associated with the information provided: just click on a card and go directly to the details associated with the information displayed. You can even drill down into that information and view trend data or even data by domain.

Spool Management

SmarterMail spool management

Here is where SmarterMail 16.x really excels. For example, a dashboard overview of your Spool with the ability to manage and perform actions on individual emails and groups of emails. In addition, System Administrators can block a user on your server immediately because you see them spamming. These actions, and so many more are available in SmarterMail 16.x. Effective and powerful spool management further distinguishes SmarterMail from products that are still stuck in the 1990’s!

Real-time Impersonation

SmarterMail impersonation

System Administrators can access any account on their SmarterMail server, instantly, easily, and from anywhere within the SmarterMail interface, using real-time impersonation. While SmarterMail always offered impersonation, now it’s right at your fingertips. Impersonation is an effective way to troubleshoot problematic users, review sent messages to put a stop to potential spammers, check an account’s settings and much more. No other email server makes it so easy to quickly handle account issues.

Countless Optimizations

What System Administrators will really appreciate is how efficient SmarterMail 16.x is. We put a ton of time and effort into optimizing the back end of SmarterMail and these optimizations allowed us to greatly reduce the amount of CPU and memory necessary for virtually every single action Smartermail performs. For example, moving to an API-driven architecture distributes interface rendering to the client machine instead of doing everything on the server. This dramatically reduces the load off web requests as well as reducing the overall data being delivered to and from clients during a session. We send data, but no new web pages, html, etc. That means SmarterMail 16 is extremely efficient and is a reason why it’s capable of servicing more domains and users. All of these changes mean that SmarterMail is 60% faster than any previous version we've released to date, making SmarterMail one of the highest-performing mail servers on the market.

SmarterMail 16.x is truly a ground-up overhaul of our already fast, simple and powerful email server. These are just a few of the things that make it an System Administrator’s dream. Next, read about how SmarterMail 16.x benefits Domain Administrators and offers End Users an ideal email experience.