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Blue Coat's New Assessment Service

SMEs might suspect that they can benefit from application acceleration technology, but often identifying just how much they can benefit is a challenge. Blue Coat aims to help with a new cloud-based assessment service that Blue Coat resellers can use to quickly profile an enterprise network, deploying the service in thirty minutes or less and collecting data using their PacketShaper appliance. Once data is collected, results can be analyzed and a detailed report provided in a matter of days instead of weeks.

In the past, profiling corporate networks required a long and often costly process that wasn't worthwhile for resellers to offer to most customers. They had to truck in a PacketShaper and configure it to work on site. Then they had to make another visit out to the corporate site a week or two later to retrieve the equipment and the data. Then the challenge really began, spending a week or two analyzing the data. Finally, they came back to show the results to the client. The upshot was that most small enterprises might not even be offered the opportunity to have their networks assessed because of the upfront investment required by the company.

Blue Coat has shortcut the approach by creating a cloud-based analytic engine. Instead of spending a week or two analyzing the data, Blue Coat resellers upload the data to the engine and can now receive formatted results in a day or two. The analysis provides traffic profiling information on a given line allowing organizations to identify items such as

  • The amount of inbound traffic
  • The percentage of traffic consumed by social media, multimedia, and Web applications
  • The median health of the network
  • Times of day for traffic peaks
  • The efficiency of the inbound networks

"On-site profiling is actually not that big of a deal. Enterprises still may need some help analyzing the data, and security concerns may prevent many companies from using cloud-based services off-site," Michael Biddick, CTO of Fusion PPT said.

The engine is an important move for Blue Coat. The company's stock dropped 17 percent after the company met estimates for its fiscal first quarter ended April, but forecast this quarter's revenue and EPS below expectations. 

Part of the challenge for the Blue Coat channel was identifying the opportunities for each of the company's products. The assessment service should do just that by giving partners clear indicators as to where when each product will be most appropriate. Bursty traffic might call for PacketShaper while getting a handle on Web browsing could call for company's ProxySG or WAN Op, if business data and applications are sluggish across the WAN.

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