Friday, August 17, 2012

BlueCoat Director Product Review - The Networking Product that Sux Too Hard

BlueCoat Director is not even a half-cooked networking product.
It just sucks from many perspectives, from product features, configuration, management (software upgrade, configuration restore), etc.

Firstly, let's look at the report generation capability of BlueCoat Director v5 and v6.
From Director 5.5.x Configuration and Management Guide (

From Director Configuration and Management Guide v6.1.x (

So, BlueCoat Director is able to generate 2 types of reports (only!).

Now let's have a look on the Health Monitoring Reports.
Nicely generated PDF files that are emailed to your mailbox.

So, the X-axis and Y-axis scales are missing...
Now you don't see, and you will never see...

Sorry Sir/Madam, this health reporting feature is still an experimental feature, and we BlueCoat Director product development and documentation teams dare to state this in the Director Configuration and Management Guide v6.1.x.

So here is the reply from BlueCoat TAC engineer:

Next, let's discuss a very common feature in networking products - Role-based access control.
Admin User A is able to configure all devices, Admin User B is only able to configure Device 1 and Device 2. Normal User C is only able to view the configuration of Device 3.

And here is the reply from BlueCoat TAC engineer, after I have read through the Director CMG (Configuration and Management Guide), and doesn't seems to be able to find the feature, and eventually opened up an educational SR.

Now let's have a look on the web-based GUI management login screen on Director v5.

An Enable Password field that doesn't make sense!?!

Customer and I don't like this and I found out that Director v6 don't have this field anymore, and proposed customer to perform a software upgrade from v5 to v6.

A bedtime reading on the Director v6 CMG has shocked me that the Enable Password field still in the Director v6?!?

Apparently it is just a documentation bug. phew...

So this afternoon we performed a Director software upgrade from v5 to v6.
Everything went smooth (configuration archive backup, re-imaging the Director unit, reinstall the license)...
until the steps of restoring the configuration archive.

There are 3 different versions of steps for restoring the configuration archive:
Version #1:
Director Getting Started Guide v6.1.x (

Version #2:

Version #3:

After arguing for 1 hour with BlueCoat TAC engineer over the phone regarding the correct steps, eventually I got this. @_@

I was also facing another "known issue" after upgraded to Director v6.
Director management console fails to launch after upgrading to version

the engineering team is working on a fix for this issue...
Director v6.1.1.1 was released back on Jan/2012, and now is Aug/2012.

BlueCoat, please tell me that you have decided to discontinue BlueCoat Director!

One last thing, you can never download the legendary Director v5.5.1.2 from :-)
Director # sh ver
System version:
Build date: 2011/05/03 03:40:23
Build number: 65441
Platform type: 510
Build version: #65441 2011.05.03-034023
Serial number: XXXXXXXXXX
Director #



  1. Wow, I didn't know BC Director is that bad. Damn, I have fresh installed with version 6.

    Any idea if the front panel buttons can still be pressed after being configured?

    My interface LED has no light even though my interfaces are connected and working.

  2. I have used bluecoat director for many years and have to agree is it the most stinkingly bad excuse for a management platform I have ever seen. The list of bugs and unexpected "features" goes on and on. When pressing for bug fixes that have slammed our web policy release process into stagnation, we have invariably been delivered a new patched version that has it's own list of bugs that again tip us over (this is a common feature across all bluecoat products - not just director). On occasion when an official release follows, our features disappear again. Aside from the impressive pile of bugs, stability problems and mis-features packaged into director, the functionality that it does actually aim to deliver falls far short of what is necessary. It's a pile of sh*t.