BlueCoat's WAN optimization software targets teleworkers

* Partnership with Crescendo provides hooks to application delivery market

Many vendors in the WAN optimization and application acceleration markets got their start as specialists, focused on specific tasks such as load balancing, compression or traffic classification. But as the market has matured, IT buyers' expectations have changed. Use of specialty optimization devices is giving way to more all-in-one appliances as enterprises look to satisfy the goal of end-to-end application acceleration.

One vendor working to expand its footprint is Blue Coat Systems, which is adding to its client-based software offerings as well as forging a partnership with a vendor that makes front-end appliances for speeding Web application performance.

Blue Coat already stands out among WAN optimization controller vendors for its security emphasis; the company makes a line of Web security gateway products for defending against viruses and other malware.

This week Blue Coat announced it’s shipping its latest product, ProxyClient. The software combines Web security and network optimization features in a single product designed for use on remote client desktops and laptops. First announced earlier this year, the WAN optimization client software can accelerate files and applications to remote employees while also extending a company’s centrally managed Internet usage policies and malware protection to remote endpoints.

ProxyClient’s WAN optimization technologies include byte caching, to accelerate access to files and speed response time of remote Web applications. It also uses Blue Coat’s WebPulse service to enforce a company's Internet usage policies and protect against spyware, mobile malicious code and phishing exploits.

The base ProxyClient software with WAN optimization is available for free to customers using Blue Coat's ProxySG appliances. Web security features require a license for Blue Coat's WebFilter software.

Blue Coat also this week announced a partnership with Crescendo Networks, which makes application delivery controllers that offload key chores from Web servers in order to speed response times. Crescendo’s AppBeat DC appliances are deployed in an asymmetrical model (meaning only in the data center) to reduce processing bottlenecks that can slow application delivery over the Internet.

Used together, the two vendors’ gear can provide enterprises with an end-to-end system that accelerates applications from the server edge in the data center to branch offices and remote users, Blue Coat says.

While Blue Coat’s gear is aimed at accelerating applications over the WAN to branch offices, Crescendo targets users outside the corporate network by offloading processing-intensive tasks and balancing traffic loads from within the data center. (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products)

Enterprises have to consider application performance not only for their remote workers but also for partners, customers and other constituencies accessing company information from outside the corporate WAN, says Bethany Mayer, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Blue Coat. "With this joint solution, organizations can increase collaboration among these constituencies by extending the operational and cost advantages of application acceleration to all users,” she says.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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