Blue Coat Systems has turned to the cloud to offer an analysis system that it claimed would improve network performance. The Blue Coat Assessment Service uses some of the functionality of its own PacketShaper appliance to provide the analysis.
The system has been designed to allow Blue Coat resellers to deploy a PacketShaper appliance in the network of a customer and then, at the conclusion of a data collection period, typically seven days, use the cloud service to perform the analysis of the network traffic.
According to Nigel Hawthorn, Blue Coat's VP of marketing, EMEA, "PacketShaper has been around for 10 years and we've long suggested using it for network analysis. But it's not been an easy process - systems engineers have to put device in customer network, come back a few days later, gather that information, manipulate it and try to work out what's important to the customers
He said it was much less complex that the previous system. "The reseller only has to put in the data once. And the system doesn't send all the data to the cloud, just the metadata enough to compile the graphs and pie charts."
While the cloud-based service will offer reports on traffic performance, protocols and applications being used, it won't offer details on individual users. "You'd be able to pick up that Spotify, for example, was being used but not who was using it," said Hawthorn. He added that the PacketShaper could be tweaked according to the demands of the organisation's users. "A university could tone down peer-to-peer so it didn't impact other levels or a company could allow VoIP," he said.
The new service will be available to resellers in August.