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Blue Coat Secures Its Tunnel Vision - InternetNews.
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Blue Coat Secures Its Tunnel Vision

Blue Coat Systems , which makes appliances that boost the performance of applications over wide-area networks (WAN), fortified the operating system software for its SG appliances with new security, clustering and failover capabilities.

The thrust of the new SGOS is to optimize applications for companies and their multiple branches so employees, no matter how far from the central office or headquarters they are, do not suffer from poor application performance, said Chris King, director of strategic marketing for Blue Coat.

King said previous WAN optimization products have trouble integrating with existing networks, suppressing network management and traffic assessment tools such as the ubiquitous Cisco NetFlow and firewall software across the WAN.

"These WAN optimization technologies, ours included until this new version, broke NetFlow and obscured information," King said.

With the new SG software, the Blue Coat appliances will provide transparent and translucent tunnel modes to preserve all Layer 4 and routing information. Ultimately, these tunnels will make the data packets available to the network management, firewall and routing software.

Moreover, SGOS now provides the SG appliances with a "digital birth certificate" to boost security. The certificate, unique to each machine with the appliance's serial number, can be used to authenticate each point in the WAN optimization network.

The SG appliances can also now create encrypted tunnels between points to protect data even when the application doesn't have its own encryption. For example, health care organizations could use the tunneling feature to secure the transmission of patient records and help comply with regulations and requirements.

Blue Coat has also taken a page from the storage system players, adding clustering software that can configure additional appliances without having to reconfigure each machine in the cluster. In this cluster, each SG appliance is aware of the others and can automatically reassign workloads based on data needs.

Consistent with the theme of boosting application over the WAN for companies with scattered offices, Blue Coat also introduced its SG Client software to help boost WAN performance and security for employees or users who aren't locally based.

King said this product accelerates applications that use CIFS and TCP protocols, while applying security and policy control, for any desktop, laptop or handheld on the network. Thanks to its ability to support policies set by the admins, SG Client will also shield machines from spyware and other forms of malware.

Blue Coat's enhancements to its SGOS and the new SG Client technology are a reprieve of sorts for remote office employees.

IDC analyst Cindy Borovick said in a statement remote users have been overlooked with the current generation of WAN optimization products, which, in addition to Blue Coat, includes appliances from Riverbed Technology , Packeteer  and Cisco Systems .

SG Client, delivered in several phases over the next year, will be available later in the first quarter starting at $20 per user.

The new SGOS software will ship in appliances beginning this week as a free upgrade to existing customers.