Blue Coat targets Cisco, Riverbed

23 Mar 10

Product Marketing Manager Chris Webber (pictured) has told IT Brief that the firm's move into virtualisation will ultimately give customers and resellers more choice.

Last week Blue Coat Systems announced it had become the first WAN Optimisation supplier to fully embrace virtualisation for branch offices with virtual appliances running on industry standard servers.

Speaking to IT Brief, Webber explained the reasons behind the move into new areas of business. “Traditionally Blue Coat has offered our WAN accelerators as hardware based appliances and that’s been our strategy all along. Earlier in the year our CEO was pretty public about the fact that we’re going to expand our strategies so our customers don’t have to stick with a long type of deployment. This is really the first step.”

Webber named Cisco and Riverbed as main forms of competition in the virtualisation space. “It’s interesting that Cisco and Riverbed have similar offerings, which is a branch office solution that offers room for some other services. But what they sell you is a super-sized appliance with a little extra room. The disadvantage there is it’s almost like a landlord renting you a room. You move into that room and you think it’s all well and good but suddenly you realise that you can’t have pets or play loud music because the landlord’s got rules.

“Cisco and Riverbed both have things that they approve you to run and things that they sell. If you try to expand, or grow, or buy new – to continue using my silly analogy – furniture, there may not be room for you and you’re stuck in an environment that doesn’t work.”

Webber said that Blue Coats wants to give customers the software and let them choose what server to run and how to spec it appropriately. By supporting virtualisation on industry standard servers instead of proprietary appliances, Webber said the firm is enabling complete branch office box solutions that can create business opportunities for resellers.

“If a reseller already has a strong server relationship with a server vendor, maybe that’s a Dell, an IBM, or a HP, they can now work with those people who already are talking to the buyer who has their branch office server as part of their plan. Those server people already have the right buyer, the right contact and our channel can work with those folks to reach different customers who maybe they haven’t reached in the past.”

A few weeks ago Blue Coat expanded its WebPulse offering with a fifth data centre in Australia, which will provide a better response against security threats, the firm’s ANZ Country Manager told IT Brief.

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