Sift out junk messages in GroupWise with MTASieve

How do you keep your e-mail server running smoothly with all of the viruses, spam, and monster attachments? Install a content control program like MTASieve. Eric Toll explains how it works and how your organization might benefit from using it.

You provide your users with a reliable e-mail system like GroupWise, and how do they reward you? They clog your network with nonbusiness-related e-mail, end up on spam lists, and act as virus magnets, pulling every e-mail virus on the planet right to your server.

To get your e-mail system back in order and filter out the junk, you can use MTASieve, a third-party software product that runs on your GroupWise servers. In this Daily Feature, I’ll explain the benefits of MTASieve, where to get it, and how to install it.

What is MTASieve?
MTASieve is a product from Amarna Software Productions LLC and Digital Integration. MTASieve offers mail transport agent (MTA)-level content control and virus scanning of all GroupWise e-mail messages, which pass through it. This product runs as an NLM on a NetWare server, typically on the same server as GroupWise itself.

MTASieve gives you control over the mail traveling through your GroupWise system. You can do such things as:
  • Scan messages for viruses.
  • Block oversized messages.
  • Block messages containing forbidden attachment types.
  • Archive selected messages.
  • Block messages with specified addresses.
  • Filter for undesirable message/attachment content.
  • Send an e-mail to the party that sent a virus or was blocked.

Getting a copy of MTASieve
You can download a copy of MTASieve from Digital Integration's Web site. You can download a demo version of MTASieve. It’s a fully functional copy, but it only has a 30-day trial period. After that, it stops working. If you want to continue using it past that time, you’ll have to obtain a key from Digital Integration. You can order it directly from their Web site.

MTASieve costs $995.00 per MTA. That means you’re not limited to a specific number of users or mailboxes. One copy will cover as many users as your server can handle.

If you need live technical support, it's important to note that Digital Integration is located in New Zealand, which is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Check your clock before calling to save on unnecessary international long distance charges.

System requirements
Before you install MTASieve, make sure your server meets the requirements. MTASieve runs on servers running NetWare 4.1x or later; NetWare 3.x isn’t supported. Additionally, MTASieve supports GroupWise 5.5.2 or above and GroupWise 5.5 Enhancement Pack. MTASieve works fine with GroupWise 6. However, if you first install GroupWise 5.5 and later upgrade to GroupWise 6, you’ll have to replace the GWMTAVS.NLM file in the server’s SYS:\SYSTEM directory. To do so, delete it and rename GWMTAVS.BP, also in SYS:\SYSTEM, to GWMTAVS.NLM.

Make sure you’ve applied all of the latest support packs on your server—not only the base NetWare support packs but also the latest GroupWise support packs.

After you’ve verified that you have the proper software versions installed, you can prep the server. Ensure that you have space on your server’s SYS volume. The total free disk space requirements depend upon the program settings you choose when you install the package. The basic MTASieve NLMs themselves require about 1 MB of free disk space.

If you want to scan for e-mail viruses as they come into your server, you’ll need a separate server-based antivirus NLM solution on the server. MTASieve can work with virtually all flavors of NLM-based antiviral scanning engines, such as the ones from McAfee, Norton, Sophos, and Trend Micro. But you’ll only need these products if you’re going to be using MTASieve’s virus scanning functions.

Installing the application
There’s actually nothing exciting about MTASieve’s installation process. It works just like any other modern Windows application. Double-click MTASieve’s Setup program after you download it, accept the agreement, enter the default paths, and make the selections appropriate for your system. When it’s done, you’ll have a program group called MTASieve on your administration workstation’s Start menu in the Programs folder.

After you complete this installation, you can begin to install MTASieve on your GroupWise server by clicking Start | Run | MTASieve Configuration. This will start MTASieve’s configuration wizard, which works like any Windows configuration wizard. Just follow the prompts. Some of the key information you’ll need to provide includes:
  • The location of the configuration file for the GroupWise domain.
  • The name of your company’s GroupWise domain.
  • The TCP/IP address of the GroupWise server.

Next, you can start MTASieve. Go to your server’s console, press [Alt][Esc] to jump to the GroupWise MTA, and press [Esc] to shut down the MTA. You can also perform this from the server’s system console by typing unload GWMTA and pressing [Enter].

Then, load the new and improved version of GroupWise by typing GRPWISE at the server’s console prompt and pressing [Enter]. The GroupWise NCF file will load GroupWise in the usual manner, except it now also loads MTASieve’s NLMs at the same time as the rest of GroupWise.

To view MTASieve in action, press [Alt][Esc] and select the MTASieve screen from the Current Screens menu. When you do, you’ll see the screen shown in Figure A. You can watch MTASieve scan each e-mail that passes through your GroupWise server. You can also use it to get quick statistics on such things as the number of files scanned and the last event MTASieve encountered.

Figure A
You can watch MTASieve filter messages as they flow through your server.

As e-mail is the lifeblood of your organization, it’s your job to make sure it flows smoothly. There are many things that can clog your e-mail system, so it’s impossible for any single person to maintain the e-mail system manually. GroupWise administrators don’t have many options when it comes to automated e-mail filtering. Fortunately, you can use a program such as MTASieve to help sift out the e-mails that can cause problems on your network.

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