amavisd-new is a high-performance and reliable interface between mailer (MTA) and one or more content checkers: virus scanners, and/or Mail::SpamAssassin Perl module.
It is written in Perl, ensuring high reliability, portability and maintainability. It talks to MTA via (E)SMTP or LMTP protocols, or by using helper programs. No timing gaps exist in the design, which could cause a mail loss.
It is normally positioned at or near a central mailer, not necessarily where users' mailboxes and final delivery takes place.
If looking for a per-user and low-message-rate solution to be placed at the final stage of mail delivery (e.g. called from procmail or in place of a local delivery agent), there may be other solutions more appropriate.
When calling of Mail::SpamAssassin (SA) is enabled, it calls SA only once per message regardless of the number of recipients, and tries very hard to correctly honour per-recipient preferences, such as pass/reject, check/nocheck, spam levels, and inserting spam-related mail header fields.
amavisd-new benefits from the use of Perl module Net::Server, which offers a fast pre-forked multichild process control.
amavisd-new provides rfc2821-compliant SMTP server and client, a rfc2033-compliant LMTP server and client, and generates rfc3462/rfc3464-compliant (ex rfc1892/rfc1894) delivery (and non-delivery) status notifications.
This makes it suitable for mail anti-virus and/or anti-spam checking on a busy mail gateways that care for reliability and standards compliance.
amavisd-new grew out of amavisd(-snapshot) (which in turn is a daemonized version of amavis-perl), but through five years of development turned into a separate product, hardly resembling its origin.
The code is several times the size of its predecessor, yet faster in throughput, richer in features, compliant to standards, includes optional support for spam detection, and makes virus scanning optional and easier to adjust/extend. Compatibility with helper programs from amavisd(-snapshot) is retained.
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