Blue Coat introduces carrier caching appliance for large-scale bandwidth savings

Published April 6th, 2010 - 01:30 GMT

Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI), the technology leader in Application Delivery Networking, today introduced the Blue Coat® CacheFlow™  Appliance 5000 Series solution.  This product specifically addresses escalating international and mobile backhaul bandwidth consumption and is targeted at service providers in regions of the world where bandwidth is expensive and limited.  Using advanced caching technology, this new appliance helps scale service delivery to meet the burgeoning subscriber demand for online video, large file downloads and other Web 2.0 rich media content while improving subscriber experience.  Available immediately, the CacheFlow 5000 appliance can significantly reduce bandwidth consumption, delivering a typical return on investment in six months with five-year savings estimated in the millions of dollars based on current bandwidth costs.

“Internet consumption patterns have evolved from ‘bandwidth-skinny,’ short-duration activities to bandwidth-hungry, always-on applications – such as online digital media, video, voice/videoconferencing over IP, and online games,” said Melanie Posey, research director, Telecom Markets, IDC.  “As media-rich Internet content and applications emerge and evolve, network-based service providers must adapt to keep pace with end users' demands for capacity and quality of service.”

The Bandwidth Crisis
In 2009, international Internet traffic grew by 74 percent, and service providers added nearly 9.5 terabits per second (Tbps) of new international bandwidth capacity – the same amount as the total international bandwidth existing in 2007 (source: TeleGeography). Despite the increased supply of bandwidth capacity, the significant growth in Internet traffic has kept bandwidth costs high. In some regions of the world, international bandwidth can cost hundreds of dollars per megabit per second (Mbps) per month while in other regions, the same bandwidth might cost as little as tens of dollars.  Service providers in regions where increasing bandwidth is cost-prohibitive risk the ability to profitably scale their services to meet subscriber demand.  This problem is compounded by the fact that subscribers increasingly expect a Web experience that is fast and interactive.

Next Generation Caching
The CacheFlow 5000 appliance uses advanced, purpose-built caching technology to address Web 2.0 content, large files and rich media, including video.  This content traditionally has been difficult to cache due to its large size and dynamic nature.  For example, CacheFlow appliances can cache and deliver content served from dynamically generated URLs, including content previously believed to be non-cacheable. In addition, the CacheFlow appliance validates content freshness before serving it to the subscriber, maintaining consistency with the origin server.

CachePulse Brings Cloud Intelligence to Caching
The CacheFlow appliance leverages the new Blue Coat CachePulse™ service to obtain automatic, network-based updates.  This cloud-based service provides rules and instructions designed to fine-tune CacheFlow 5000 appliances to better address the changing Web and deliver consistent bandwidth savings.  Customers can provide direct feedback into the CachePulse community and share new or emerging Web sites in their region that could benefit from better caching.

“Shock Absorber” for Web Traffic
By installing CacheFlow 5000 appliances in their networks, service providers can create a “shock absorber” to address traffic spikes that occur when Web sites and content become popular over a very short period of time, such as coverage of a major news, sporting or political event.  With its high-throughput design, the appliance has the ability to meet demands for bandwidth savings at Internet peering points, as well as to be deployed in-region to address backhaul traffic and the dynamic delivery of local content.

Web Compliance and Security
The CacheFlow 5000 appliance also runs Blue Coat WebFilter™ to address cultural and regulatory requirements and to mitigate malicious threats. It can also support custom allow and block lists and third party databases, including the Internet Watch Foundation list.  

Service Provider Trust and Experience
The new CacheFlow 5000 appliance builds on the longstanding experience of Blue Coat in working with service providers and global telcos.   Blue Coat has worked with this market since being founded as CacheFlow in 1996, and currently counts each of the world’s top ten service providers as a customer.

“We had the opportunity to participate in the beta of the Blue Coat CacheFlow 5000 appliance and were impressed with the results.  As other carrier customers will agree, it is exciting to see the focus Blue Coat is putting on the carrier market in terms of the purpose-built design and functionality of this new product,” said Dr. Viriya Upatising, chief technical officer of True Internet, a major Internet service provider in Thailand with approximately 750,000 subscribers.  True provides both business and consumer, fixed and mobile Internet services and has been using Blue Coat caching solutions for many years.

“In our region, international bandwidth is quite expensive, so a product like the CacheFlow appliance focused on bandwidth savings helps us manage the spiraling costs of adding more users and traffic,” he continued.  “In our testing, the CacheFlow appliance effectively cached Web 2.0 content, delivered consistently high bandwidth savings on general Web traffic, as well as provided superior throughput and performance.  We look forward to deploying CacheFlow appliances in our network soon.”

New Purpose-Built Appliance for Carriers
The CacheFlow 5000 appliance features 1 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces for high-capacity throughput and can scale to meet multi-gigabit demands through the use of a clustered caching farm.  The appliances have been validated with industry-leading Layer 4-7 load balancing switches, including those from Brocade, Radware, A10 Networks and others.

“The CacheFlow 5000 appliance represents a significant leap forward in addressing the bandwidth challenges facing service providers,” said Jason Nolet, vice president, Application Delivery Products group at Brocade.  “Building on our long-standing partnership with Blue Coat, we have tested and certified our ServerIron ADX application delivery controllers, as well as Layer 2/3 switches and routers, with the CacheFlow 5000 appliance to deliver end-to-end networking capabilities with high availability and high performance load balancing to the clustered solution.”

“The CacheFlow 5000 appliance builds on our expertise in delivering Web content and applications effectively and securely,” said Nidal Taha, Regional Director for ME and Turkey, Blue Coat Systems.  “Our breakthrough caching technology addresses the monumental challenges service providers face in meeting fiercely growing demand for video and Web 2.0 content from mobile and fixed users.”

The CacheFlow 5000 appliance is available immediately.

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