Blue Coat Adds Client Software to WAN Application-Optimization Portfolio

In a move designed to differentiate it from other vendors in the fast-growing WAN-application optimization space, Blue Coat Networks announced today that it would add client-based application-acceleration and security software to its product portfolio.

Even though other vendors, such as Stampede Technologies and Intelligent Compression Technologies (ICT), offer client-side software for application acceleration, Blue Coat is marketing its SG Client software as the first to allow enterprise to provide application acceleration and security to all remote users, including those using managed and unmanaged clients.

Says Blue Coat:

The Blue Coat SG Client is being designed to accommodate the needs of any user, including mobile workers, teleworkers, branch offices of one or two people and even partners — using managed devices (such as desktops, laptops and PDAs) controlled by corporate IT — or unmanaged devices, such as employee’s home computers, Internet kiosks in airports or hotels and computers in partner organizations.

To control application performance and security on managed endpoints, Blue Coat SG Client loads as persistent, resident client software. For unmanaged endpoints, SG Client can be applied dynamically using an on-demand version of the software. The on-demand version is also appealing to organizations not wanting permanent client software.

The ability to deliver application acceleration and security to both managed and unmanaged endpoints extends control of application experience and security to all users regardless of location. It provides business continuity that could prove essential in the event of a disaster that prevents employees from coming to the office and helps organizations accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce.

Blue Coat says the client-side code will enable enterprise IT staff to provide remote employees with the sort of application acceleration they would receive if they were situated at a branch or remote office running one of Blue Coat’s SG appliances. The Blue Coat SG client will function as peers to Blue Coat SG appliances, and can be managed accordingly.

Similar software offerings are likely to come from Expand Networks and F5 Networks before long, but Blue Coat clearly was eager to claim early bragging rights. Despite the announcement, however, the actual client-side software won’t begin shipping commercially until the first quarter of 2007.

According to a report by Network World, Blue Coat officials indicated that the new software might be priced at about $100 per end-user machine, for both the persistent software license and the on-demand model. For new customers, Blue Coat’s SG appliances start at about $2,000 per box.

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