Blue Coat Debuts Public Cloud WAN Optimization Products


With so much emphasis on cloud computing and the infrastructure needed to support it, WAN optimization vendors are looking at ways to make their products more flexible, as well as more robust.

Blue Coat Systems is no exception, and this week announced the next version of its WAN optimization platform, as well as a product that accelerates public cloud-delivered SaaS applications.

That product is CloudCaching Engine, which is intended to provide WAN optimization in public cloud situations. Up until now, that has been a problem.

Using CloudCaching Engine, no dedicated WAN optimization devices need to be placed in the cloud provider's infrastructure, said Mark Urban, senior director of product marketing at Blue Coat.

"Increasingly, we see customers that look at WAN optimization and the value of making things faster and reducing the costs of bandwidth and infrastructure. But as they move to the public cloud, they see some complications," Urban explained. "Our goal with this announcement is to enable channel partners and customers the ability to have different approaches for the different use cases of cloud optimization."

The CloudCaching Engine accelerates cloud-delivered applications through asymmetric -- "one sided" -- optimization. It sits on Blue Coat's MACH5 appliances in a branch office and, among its features, can accelerate SSL-encrypted traffic even without control of the authentication certificates from the public cloud provider the traffic is coming from.

Blue Coat claims an average of 40-x acceleration for Microsoft's SharePoint BPOS without requiring appliances or virtual appliances running on Microsoft-based cloud infrastructure. For cloud-provided video applications, Blue Coat claims an increase of 500-x bandwidth capacity.

Also released this week is version 6.2 of Blue Coat's SGOS operating system for its MACH5 WAN Optimization line, which includes optional video caching for native, on-demand Adobe Flash content, encrypted MAPI and support for Exchange 2010 to enable faster retrieval of e-mail attachments, and "at a glance" views of WAN traffic in a visual report format.

There are also two new MACH5 appliances. First is Blue Coat's 9000-40, which can provide one gigabit of throughput for WAN optimization in larger data centers and can handle traffic from multiple branch offices and applications. Second is a higher-capacity version of Blue Coat's MACH5 Virtual Appliance, which can scale to 45 Megabits per second for infrastructure-as-a-service environments.

The 9000-40 is available at the end of May, while the Cloud Virtual Appliance will be available at the end of June.

Blue Coat's announcements come amid the backdrop of a number of corporate changes. The company late last week adjusted guidance for its fourth fiscal quarter ended April 30, saying net revenue for the quarter will be in the $120.5 million to $121.5 million range -- lower than the $121 million to $128 million guidance Blue Coat had previously provided. Blue Coat is scheduled to report fourth quarter 2011 earnings on May 26.

Blue Coat also last week confirmed a number of executive and structural moves. Brian NeSmith, chief product officer, and Dave De Simone, senior vice president of products and technology are both leaving Blue Coat, although they will stay on to help transition the company through the end of June. NeSmith, who has been with Blue Coat since 1999, was its president and CEO until August 2010, replaced by former IBM and Avocent executive Mike Borman.

Going forward, Blue Coat will be structured as three product groups: web security, WAN optimization and cloud services. They'll be headed respectively by Darrell Long, vice president and general manager, Tom Shea, vice president and general manager, and Jim Vogt, senior vice president and general manager, respectively. All report to Borman.