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Blue Coat Systems ( ), founded in 1996, is a publicly-held company based in Sunnyvale, California. Blue Coat secures Web communications and accelerates business applications across the distributed enterprise. Blue Coat’s family of appliances and client-based solutions – deployed in branch offices, Internet gateways, end points, and data centers – provide intelligent points of policy-based control enabling IT organizations to optimize security and accelerate performance for all users and applications. Blue Coat has installed more than 8,000 customers worldwide and is ranked number one by IDC in the Secure Content and Application Delivery market.

Blue Coat appliances and software technology help IT organizations secure Web communications and accelerate delivery of business applications for users across the distributed enterprise. - including Internet gateways, branch offices, data centers, and even individual end points.


The Blue Coat ProxySG appliance family runs the purpose-built SGOS operating system as a proxy server for 15 protocols, including HTTP, FTP, SSL (forward and reverse), CIFS, MAPI, Telnet, SOCKS, P2P, Microsoft Media Services, RTSP, QuickTime, AOL IM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger, and TCP-Tunnel. ProxySG appliances include a policy engine for control and security. Blue Coat ProxySG appliances' MACH5 (Multi-Protocol Accelerated Caching Hierarchy) technology accelerates WAN traffic through bandwidth management, protocol optimization (e.g., CIFS proxy), object caching, byte caching (of file components), and data compression .

The Blue Coat ProxyAV appliance family integrates with ProxySG appliances via an extended ICAP+ connection intended for enterprise gateway virus scanning with low average latency. Blue Coat ProxyAV stops spyware as well, and supports scanning engines from Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Sophos, Ahn Lab, and Panda Software.

The Blue Coat ProxyRA appliance family provides encrypted, on-demand, agentless access to Web and non-Web applications .

Blue Coat WebFilter is a content filtering service that categorizes domain names, directories and IP addresses for policy enforcement and security. Blue Coat’s ‘Dynamic Real-Time Rating (DRTR)’, uses artificial intelligence to attempt to categorize new Web pages the first time a user requests access.

WinProxy is a desktop proxy server which allows users to share an internet connection, similar to Microsoft's Internet Connection Sharing. This product is End-of-Sale at this point .

K9 Web Protection is desktop-based content control software which uses Blue Coat WebFilter to provide homes with Internet filtering. This is free software offered by Blue Coat to anyone looking to protect web access from their home or business networks .

Software history

Blue Coat appliances use a purpose-built microkernel operating system called ‘SGOS’, which traces its lineage to the Thoth research OS created at the University of Waterloomarker, Canada in 1976. Thoth is generally considered the first of the real-time message passing operating systems, whose descendants include QNX and V-Kernel, though KeyKOS more rightly deserves this claim. Thoth evolved into the Port OS and language between 1982 and 1990, which produced Hayes LANstep in the early 1990’s. In 1996 CacheFlow (later renamed Blue Coat Systems) created the CacheOS to drive proxy server Web acceleration appliances. This microkernel architecture was chosen for its process efficiency. In 2002, a policy engine was added and the OS name changed to SGOS (for “secure gateway”). SGOS’ hardened architecture are in no way based on Microsoft Windows, Unix or Linux code - however, SGOS documentation includes licensing information for several Open Source projects, including FreeBSD operating system; also, Blue Coat actively contributes to FreeBSD. SGOS later passed certifications from NIAP Evaluation Assurance Level 2, FIPS 140-2, and ICSA.

Financial history

Blue Coat was founded in 1996 as CacheFlow, with Web acceleration from its Web cache as the primary offering. CacheFlow went public in November 1999 at $26 per share and closed at $126 the first day. CacheFlow was among the top-ten price jumps in IPO history. In 2001 the telecom recession caused CacheFlow to downsize and redesign its products. In the summer of 2002 the company changed its name to ‘Blue Coat Systems, Inc.’, and added policy control and security capability to Blue Coat appliances. In late 2006 Blue Coat went back to its roots in accelerating applications, and added a focus on WAN Optimization, a fast growing market segment, and by mid 2007 gained enough market share to be ranked 1st in market share of WAN Application Delivery by IDC.

Legal troubles

Blue Coat Systems was charged on Nov 12 2008 of stock option backdating by its former CFO Robert P. Verheecke . Without admitting or denying the charge, Blue Coat agreed to settle the charges by consenting to a permanent injunction against any future violations of certain provisions of the federal securities laws. "We are pleased to conclude this matter with the SEC and to continue our focus on execution and serving the needs of our customers," said Brian NeSmith, Blue Coat's president and chief executive officer .



  1. IDC
  2. Blue Coat SGOS ProxyEdition data sheet
  3. Blue Coat ProxyRA Data Sheet
  4. Blue Coat WebFilter Data Sheet
  5. Blue Coat Winproxy
  6. K9 Spread the Word
  7. Thoth OS
  9. IDC Market Share Numbers 1H07 WAN Application Delivery Market
  10. Blue Coat Systems and former CFO settle charges of stock option backdating
  11. Blue Coat Systems press release
  12. Blue Coat Completes Acquisition of NetCache Assets from Network Appliance
  13. Press release - Blue Coat Completes Acquisition of Packeteer June 9, 2008
  14. Blue Coat Slashes Staff, Buys S7 Services Company

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