Blue Coat Systems, a leader in the WAN optimization controller (WOC) market, is spreading its wings at Interop with an advanced asymmetric acceleration technology for its MACH5 WAN Optimization and Virtual Appliances. The company says that its CloudCaching Engine breaks the barrier that prevents traditional WAN optimization solutions--which are designed to accelerate file and email traffic using a symmetric deployment of physical or virtual appliances in the branch office and data center--from optimizing most applications based in the public cloud.
The problem, and its solution, is significant, says the company. According to data from Nemertes Research, a majority of companies (52.3 percent) use software as a service (SaaS), and the average number of SaaS applications per company is climbing sharply, from fewer than two last year to more than five this year. As more companies seek to deliver more applications to their users via SaaS, application delivery optimization (ADO) that can improve the performance and reliability of access to those applications--without requiring access to the providers' infrastructure--will become steadily more important.
The key to the CloudCaching Engine is its ability to do asymmetric or "one-sided" optimization of public cloud-based applications, accelerating content and applications from the public cloud without having an appliance located in the cloud data center hosting that particular application. In addition, Blue Coat says, its solution can accelerate SSL-encrypted traffic, even without control of the authentication certificates from the public cloud service.
The solution also offers a huge upside for cloud-based Microsoft SharePoint and other cloud-based applications and services, delivering an average of 40x acceleration for Microsoft SharePoint BPOS without requiring appliances or virtual appliances on Microsoft cloud infrastructure. For cloud-delivered video applications, Blue Coat can deliver an increase in more than 500x bandwidth capacity for on-demand video. The company is also introducing a high-capacity version of its virtual appliance for large private cloud data centers that can use symmetric optimization. Shipping at the end of June, the MACH5 Cloud Virtual Appliance scales to 45Mbps for private cloud and infrastructure-as-a-service installation.
In mid-February, Blue Coat upgraded its MACH5 to become the industry's first IPv6-compatible WAN optimizer, offering a sophisticated IPv6 application layer gateway that provides IPv6 connectivity, security and optimization in a single device. MACH5 appliances for WAN optimization, including optimization and acceleration for public cloud content and applications, are available immediately, starting at $2,995 for a turnkey appliance.
"Blue Coat's new solution puts it outside the traditional WOC space since it is asymmetrical," says analyst Andre Kindness, Forrester Research. "It's almost an ADC, but next to the user and not servers. Consequently, WOC, application delivery controllers (ADCs), and cloud gateways will slowly transform into a uXn solution."
Cloud cache is just another cloud story, he says, but there is a more interesting trend happening in the application acceleration space. "Walls between application delivery controllers, WAN optimization and cloud gateways are blurring, and companies are starting to realize that they can't focus on just application or static situations. Users and the location of the information is highly dynamic. Users expect a mashup. There will be solutions that can orchestrate this mashup based on the capabilities of ADC, WOC and cloud gateways."
John Burke, principal research analyst, Nemertes Research, says there will be continued growth in private external cloud usage. This will require things like virtual optimizers to scale as needed, so the updated MACH5 VA is the right kind of step to take, he says, adding, "We also are tracking increases in the percentage of branches with direct-to-branch Internet access, especially the rise of Internet-only branches in support of the virtual enterprise. In addition to making WAN aggregation a key technology going forward, rising reliance on Internet branches increases the need for asymmetrical optimization in the branch."
Interop Audio: Blue Coat Optimizes Cloud Data Flow
Andrew Conry-Murray, Jonathan Feldman, and Lorna Garey sat down with Blue Coat's senior director of corporate communications Steve Schick.