Symantec is set to announce a series of appliances that combat both spam and viruses. The 8240 and the 8260 appliances are based on the anti-spam technology gained from Symantec's acquisition of Brightmail combined with Symantec's anti-virus software.

Corporations often find appliances are easier to set up and use than loading and configuring software on a hardware platform, says Tom MacArthur, principal with systems integrator Storbase, which is beta-testing the 8200.

Although customers sometimes request to have multiple security protections - whether it is anti-spam, anti-virus, VPN/firewall, intrusion prevention or others - unified into one appliance, the downside might be additional latency in processing.

According to MacArthur, there appears to be slightly increased latency that results from combining anti-virus and anti-spam processing, but his tests of the 8200 appliance don't indicate it would be a concern in e-mail transmission even under heavy loads.

The 8200s will compete against McAfee's WebShield line.

Symantec also plans to announce the 8160, a dedicated anti-spam gateway that uses TCP traffic-shaping to slow the speed at which originating sources of spam can send to less than one message every several minutes. Symantec's gateway, based on technology gained in its acquisition of TurnTide last July, is a defensive measure for companies that get large volumes of spam, says Carlin Wiegner, Symantec product manager for mail security solutions.

"The 8160, which would typically sit in front of the mail gateway, uses a process in (TCP) to tell the various IP addresses originating spam to go more slowly," he said.

The result of this basically makes it uneconomical to send spam to the targeted IP addresses. He says the US$5,000 traffic-shaping appliance could be used as a stand-alone anti-spam device, or in conjunction with either of the 8200 series of combined anti-spam/anti-virus appliances expected to ship next month.