Blue Coat Systems has introduced application awareness to its PacketShaper devices. The company said that by providing classification by URL category, customers would be able to manage new web content without having to set policy updates.

The software enhancements have come as the company has introduced a new PacketShaper model. By offering 3 Gbps throughput, the 12000 doubles the performance of the PacketShaper 10000 appliance, the company claimed.

Dave Ewart, senior product marketing manager for Blue Coat EMEA, said that the web content management software had been introduced to cope with the changing way that businesses were operating. "Most businesses are moving to the web, from these days, looking at "webbified" versions of ERP or using YouTube as a valid way of delivering training. The problem was that with the product filtering stuff that we had, we couldn't distinguish between the material that had a business purpose and that that didn't."

He said that to develop application awareness, PacketShaper appliances could now use the cloud-based Blue Coat WebPulse service. "This is a cloud service before there were cloud services," said Ewart. It's a community of about 70 million users that allows us to categorise web content in real time. We have reduced all the websites down into 80 logical categories to make management easier.

It's not just a question of considering an application as a recreational or business one. He said that the software was sophisticated enough to distinguish between YouTube for business or for recreation or for allowing access to Facebook for status updates and chat while limiting bandwidth allocated to Facebook games. "You can't just stop people managing their Facebook accounts in office hours, today's employees have their own expectations," he said."The software can even allow recreational activities in times when there's not much traffic on the network and throttle it if it gets busy," he added.