Blue Coat Releases Data On The Impact Of Web & Video Caching Inside Operator Networks

Transparent caching plays a very important role in the content delivery market and is a segment of the content delivery industry that is seeing rapid growth ($350M by 2016). To showcase just how much content these caches deliver, industry vendor Blue Coat recently gave me an insight into the data that’s collected by their CachePulse technology.

Blue Coat gets tremendous visibility on the web and how it is changing through its hundreds of collection points and prominent position in some of the world’s largest enterprise and telco networks. In 2013 for example, all the deployed Blue Coat CacheFlow appliances processed over 850 petabytes of data and handled over 13.5 trillion requests. To put this roughly 35 billion requests each day into context, Google in comparison does about six billion searches and Facebook has about 5 billion likes each day.

Digging into Blue Coat’s findings from CachePulse for 2013 there are some expected trends, but also some surprises. To no surprise, video traffic dominated representing more than half (or roughly 55%) of all traffic. And while readers in the US immediately think of Netflix, in reality Netflix is a small player globally. YouTube (including Google Video) remains as the number one traffic driver with DailyMotion a close second. A bit more surprising was the prominent role file sharing and large file updates are playing in shaping traffic patterns. This includes the common Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows updates that regularly clog networks, as well as P2P-based sharing getting replaced with web-based direct download alternatives such as 4Shared, MediaFire and FileFactory.

Driving only a few percentage points of traffic today, gaming has shown big gains increasing 33% over last six months. Sites like Steam, Playstation and Xbox are at the forefront of this shift. Popular downloads like the supersized-18GB Grand Theft Auto V release serve as a great example of the content driving this growth as packaged games shift to 100% digital downloads. And with the recent, frothy acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, who can forget about social networks. No surprise Facebook continues to be the leader, followed by Tumblr and Keek respectively. Ranked in the top 30 sites globally, the Russian social network VK (or VKontakte) is also an up and coming player to keep an eye on.

Since Blue Coat has a significant portion of its business deeply entrenched in web security through CachePulse they also gain visibility on security trends on the web at large. In the 2013 findings, Blue Coat found that each day 150,000 GB of the traffic they processed was categorized as ‘suspicious’ while more than 25,000 GB was confirmed as ‘officially’ malware.

So what does this all mean? While the general content mix and the dominance of video is not surprising, smaller shifts around the traffic mix (from P2P to web or with the uptick of gaming), the key players (such as Netflix or VK), or the prominence of suspicious or malicious content is noteworthy. And considering that for 2013 Blue Coat on average saw roughly 80% of this traffic being fully cacheable, there’s a clear role that transparent caching technology – whether with Blue Coat CacheFlow or other solutions – can provide in optimizing this content – whatever it may be – to speed the user experience or provider operational or cost efficiencies, as well as potentially providing an overlay of security and malware protection.