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Blue Coat Puts on Video Hat For Enterprise - InternetNews.
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Blue Coat Puts on Video Hat For Enterprise

Blue Coat Systems is boosting its the ability to deliver live streaming video and video-on-demand content across the wide-area networks (WAN), an offering one analyst said could draw strong interest from companies using video to train or keep employees up to speed.

Blue Coat , which began life as a content delivery provider called CacheFlow, next week will unveil a software interface and a partner strategy to speed video over the WAN with the cooperation of enterprise video vendors.

The technology will run on Blue Coat SG appliances, accelerating video delivery while cutting back the I/O impact of so-called "junk" and unacceptable video, said Chris King, director of strategic marketing for Blue Coat.

King said piping video rapidly and securely is becoming increasingly important at a time when distributed workforces based in remote locations all over the world need to share information.

Without reliable delivery over the WAN, streaming video content is pointless, which is where Blue Coat comes in.

King said Blue Coat SG appliances, thanks to new policy controls, can sift through business-sanctioned streaming or on-demand video from junk video and treat it accordingly.

"You want to accelerate the good and stop the bad," King told internetnews.com. "But you also want to keep this large gray area that's in between good and bad from melting my network or interfere with legitimate business traffic."

For example, some video can be kept out of the corporate network or limited to a certain time of day, length of time or amount of bandwidth.

To achieve this, Blue Coat SG appliances will cache video locally in each branch office so that it can be piped to employees with minimal impact on the WAN.

SG appliances can also cache progressive download video such as that offered by YouTube.com.

For live streaming video, the appliances use Blue Coat's "stream-splitting" technology to "multicast" a single live video stream across the WAN to a branch office and then deliver it to each employee who has requested it.

To access such features, corporate users will use a software interface Blue Coat created to trigger one-click distribution of live streaming or on-demand video through an enterprise network using video publishing software from Media Publisher and Jubilant Technologies.

The interface also lets users jettison outdated or extraneous video with one click. The offering comes with a reporting capability to track whether employees have viewed required videos.

Accessing the new capabilities does not require an upgrade just a policy configuration change to the SG box, King said. Integration with Media Publisher and Jubilant requires a separate hook up between an SG appliance the publishing systems.

Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said Blue Coat's content delivery and video streaming chops from its days as CacheFlow, combined with the security encryption and WAN optimization tools the company added in the last few years, enable it to offer customers a portfolio that rivals Packeteer , Riverbed Technology  and Expand Networks cannot currently claim.

The analyst said Blue Coat's announcement will also put the vendor deeper into direct competition with Cisco Systems. Cisco offers the Application and Content Networking System (ACNS), a comprehensive collection of products that employees anything from video encoders to portals and content management to facilitate corporate training via Internet video.

Is there enough business to go around for Cisco and Blue Coat?

"What we have seen is a big resurgence in demand for video-based training in the branch office," Skorupa told internetnews.com, noting that he fields three calls a week from potential customers asking how they can add such streaming capabilities.