Sunday, February 21, 2010

Windows Server 2008 R2 10

BranchCache helps branch offices from bleeding bandwidth. When a branch user requests for a file from the headquarters, the file is downloaded. If three users request for the same file, it is downloaded thrice over the WAN. This is wasted bandwidth.
BranchCache Co-op allows to cache the files IN THE CLIENT MACHINE, so the file is downloaded over the WAN once and then copied to any other machines requesting for that file. This is different from the old method of putting the files in the proxy.

BranchCache Hosted allows an R2 machine to cache files. In this case, the client sends the file over to the File Server. Other clients would then download from the R2 machine. The co-op method is recommended for 15 users or less. Solid reliability and availability is achieved with Hosted method.

BranchCache is typically installed on the File Server or the Web Server. After installing BranchCache, we enable BranchCache on clients using GPO. BranchCache can be enabled through the registry as well.

BranchCache Hosted requires a shared location that is available for all participating users. BranchCache also must be allowed through the firewalls. The co-op version is easier to implement.

BranchCache is a role services which is installed with the file services.

A restart is not necessary. After installing BranchCache, we need to now enable it through GPO. The fastest way to modify Local Computer Policy is to go to mmc, then add the Local Computer Policy Snap-in.

The first policy we need to change is the Lanman Server. We can go there through Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > Lanman Server. We need to enable the Hash Publication for BranchCache GPO.

In the same folder, we have BranchCache. BranchCache settings are for clients, so we don't need to change anything in the server. We now need to begin configuring the client machines. We do this now through GPOs.

In the GPO, browse to the same folder as the Lanman Server above. Now we'll turn on BranchCache. Since we're using co-op mode, we'll also turn on the Distributed Cache mode.

We can specify which kind of files should be cached from BranchCache for Network Files GPO setting. You can also specify how much space is allowed for BranchCache. These two are optional.

To add the exception, browse to Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > Inbound Rules.

We'll add a predefined rule which works with Windows 7 only. We need to add both BranchCache - Content Retrieval and BranchCache - Peer Discovery.

Finally we need to specify which folder should be cached. Go to the properties of the folder from File Services in Server Manager, and enable it like this:

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