Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI), the technology leader in Application Delivery Networking, today announced that Blue Coat® PacketShaper® appliances can now deliver instant awareness of Web applications and content, enabling organizations to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving Web with minimal IT effort. With the industry’s first “classification by URL category” functionality, PacketShaper appliances provide intelligent control that can immediately manage new Web applications and content without requiring updates or new policies.
“Today, HTTP traffic is increasingly business related, yet most organizations do not have visibility into this traffic type, making it impossible to distinguish between business-critical Web applications and those that could be harmful, not to mention all the Web content in between like social networking and video,” said Cindy Borovick, vice president of enterprise communications infrastructure and datacenter networks at IDC. “Companies must be able to clearly differentiate Web traffic in a way that is fine-grained and can scale with the growth of new content and applications.”
Instant Awareness through WebPulse
PacketShaper appliances can now utilize the cloud-based Blue Coat WebPulse™ service (bluecoat.com), a community of 70 million users that provides comprehensive Web awareness through shared information, to understand and categorize Web applications and content in real time. This integration with the WebPulse service enables PacketShaper appliances to categorize tens of millions of Websites and billions of URLs into 80 logical and manageable categories, allowing organizations to collectively manage and apply policies to similar content.
With the WebPulse service, each URL can be classified in up to four distinct categories, enabling more precise and granular visibility into and management of Web applications and content. For example, an organization can allow access to Facebook for status updates and chat while limiting bandwidth allocated to Facebook games.
Scalable Policies for Tomorrow’s Applications
With classification by URL category integrated into Blue Coat PacketShaper appliances, organizations can create policies today that automatically apply to newly discovered content and applications without the need to download new signatures, change configurations or create a new policy. For example, when a new online game is discovered, it is classified in the Games category, and the PacketShaper appliance immediately controls it based on the defined policy for the category.
Traditional solutions that attempt to discover applications based on domain name lack the scalability and flexibility to keep pace with the rapid growth of Web-based applications and content. These solutions require an IT manager to create a new policy for each new online game even if it is the same policy that is already in place for all other classified games. Without the ability to create and manage policies for a group of similar content, these solutions become extremely resource intensive and unmanageable as content and applications grow. Additionally, this approach doesn’t provide the granular differentiation to effectively control traffic from a site like Facebook, which encompasses many categories, including email, chat, videos and games, that an organization might want to manage differently.
“The integration with WebPulse provides PacketShaper appliances with a comprehensive, dynamic view of Web content and applications, which enables companies to stay ahead of the curve,” said Nigel Hawthorn, VP EMEA Marketing at Blue Coat Systems. “This awareness, combined with the strong bandwidth and application controls that are the foundation of the PacketShaper appliances, gives organizations the performance predictability they require for critical Web-based business applications and the flexibility to set policy for other Web-based content.”
New Appliance More than Doubles Performance
The new classification by URL category functionality is available on all existing PacketShaper appliances as a software upgrade. Additionally, Blue Coat is introducing a new high performance PacketShaper appliance that more than doubles the performance of the PacketShaper 10000 appliance. The PacketShaper 12000 appliance manages up to 3 Gbps of aggregate throughput for typical enterprise traffic, providing a high capacity platform for today’s complex mix of applications and content.
Scalable Reporting for Enterprises
Blue Coat has also enhanced IntelligenceCenter, the central reporting platform for distributed PacketShaper appliances, to enable reporting on the new classifications by URL categories. This new Blue Coat IntelligenceCenter 3 also has a 10X increase in data collection scalability for enterprise-scale reporting and adds role-based access controls that provide flexibility to define specific roles and functions for network administrators. With role-based controls, organizations can define actions, including viewing reports, managing alerts and changing topologies, for specific resources that could include devices, regions or sites.
Pricing and Availability:
• PacketShaper 8.6: Available now as a software upgrade for all customers with a current support contract for a PacketShaper appliance
• PacketShaper 12000 appliances: Targeted for December 2010, with prices starting at $55,000
• IntelligenceCenter 3: Available now as a software upgrade for all customers with a current support contract for IntelligenceCenter.