Blue Coat Systems hopes to capitalize on the growing interest in WAN optimization software for road warriors and remote workers with the Jan. 14 introduction of a client that combines application acceleration with security.
Blue Coat's new ProxyClient follows the first iteration of its WAN optimization software for laptops with added Web filtering as well as centrally managed anti-spyware and anti-phishing.
Although only a handful of the so-called softWOCs, or software-based WAN optimization controllers, are available to date from vendors such as Blue Coat, Riverbed and ICT, industry analysts predict significant growth for the market niche, Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said.
"It's very early in the development of this market, but I think we'll see significant adoption," said Skorupa. "When mobile professionals hear about it, they start screaming -How do I get this?'"
Gartner forecasts revenues from software-based WOC clients to range from $50 million to $250 million, depending on how fast the average selling price drops.
With its Web filtering, the ProxyClient controls where users can go on the Web and what sites they are allowed to visit. It protects laptops from inappropriate access and keeps the laptop from going to phishing sites or other sites that have spyware.
Existing customers at Richardson Partners Financial in Toronto hope to use the new ProxyClient to "maintain the same security policies" applied in the office when users are on the road, according to Andrew McKinney, director of technical services.
"We use Blue Coat security and optimization internally, but we have a mobile work force, and we lose that outside the company wall," McKinney said. "The end hope is to have a similar experience from a security and performance perspective outside of the office as well."
The Blue Coat ProxyClient also adds byte caching, which looks for patterns in the data going across the WAN link, and when it identifies redundancies, it eliminates them. "It's like compression that builds a library from what it sees in your flow of traffic. With the ProxyClient, it can [speed performance] by as much as 35 times and cut bandwidth use in half to deliver applications," said Johnathon Cervelli, Blue Coat's product marketing manager.
The new byte caching improves the performance of Blue Coat's original SG Client software by as much as five times. It includes a real-time performance indicator that graphically displays the results of the acceleration.
The ProxyClient also includes location awareness, which automatically applies appropriate WAN optimization depending on whether the user is in a branch office that already has a ProxySG appliance or working remotely.
The ProxyClient, due by early April, is free to existing ProxySG appliance customers without the security functions. Web security and control requires a Blue Coat WebFilter license. The acceleration function is free for existing WebFilter licensees.