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BranchCache Learning Roadmap

Updated: December 5, 2012

Applies To: Windows Server 2012



BranchCache is a wide area network (WAN) bandwidth optimization technology that is included in some editions of the Windows Server® 2012 and Windows® 8 operating systems.

To optimize WAN bandwidth, BranchCache copies content from your main office content servers and caches the content at branch office locations, allowing client computers at branch offices to access the content locally rather than over the WAN.

At branch offices, content is cached either on servers that are running the BranchCache feature of Windows Server 2012 or, when no server is available in the branch office, on computers running Windows 8. After a client computer requests and receives content from the main office and the content is cached at the branch office, other computers at the same branch office can obtain the content locally rather than contacting the main office over the WAN link.

BranchCache helps improve content query response times for clients and servers in branch offices, and can also help improve network performance by reducing traffic over WAN links.

If you are new to BranchCache, this topic can help you identify what you need to learn to fully understand how to deploy and troubleshoot BranchCache. It includes prerequisite topics that cover a variety of networking and IT infrastructure fundamentals. You must understand the prerequisite technologies first, because BranchCache builds upon them and assumes an understanding of them. Afterwards, you can begin learning about BranchCache through the resources in the Level 100, 200, and 300 sections.

We recommend that you read the topics in the order listed.

noteNote
Some of the hypertext links in the following sections provide access to Windows Server® 2008 R2 documentation.

The following documents contain the information that you need to fully understand the tools that are used to deploy and manage BranchCache.

  • Step 1: Learn about the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

    See Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=70036).

    This document describes the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which hosts administrative tools that you can use to administer networks, computers, services, and other system components.

    Your goal is to understand how to use the MMC so that you can add and remove MMC snap-ins to manage Group or Local Computer Policy and configure BranchCache policies.

  • Step 2: Learn about Group and Local Computer Policy.

    See the Group Policy Overview (http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831791) and Local Group Policy Editor (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=67684).

    These documents describe domain-based Group Policy, Local Computer Policy, and tools that you can use to create and modify policies.

    Your goal is to understand the basics of how to use either Group Policy with Active Directory Domain Services or Local Computer Policy, because you use these policies to deploy BranchCache.

  • Step 3: Learn about Windows PowerShell.

    See the Windows PowerShell User's Guide (http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc196356).

    This document describes Windows PowerShell, which is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language that allows you to configure and display the status of various network communications server roles and components after they are installed on computers.

    Your goal is to understand how to run commands at the Windows PowerShell prompt, how to get information about commands, and working with objects so that you can use the BranchCache cmdlets to manage BranchCache.

  • Step 4: Learn how to install server roles and server features by using Server Manager.

    See Manage Multiple, Remote Servers with Server Manager (http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831456).

    This document describes Server Manager, which is an expanded Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that allows you to view and manage virtually all of the information and tools that affect your server's productivity.

    Your goal is to understand how to install the BranchCache feature and how to install server roles for BranchCache content servers that you want to deploy, such as file servers, Web servers, and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)-based application servers.

The following documents and videos contain introductory information about BranchCache.

  • Step 1: Learn the benefits of BranchCache.

    See the BranchCache Executive Overview and view the video Branch Cache in Windows 7.

    This document and video describe BranchCache and provide an overview of BranchCache functionality.

    Your goal is to understand the business benefits of BranchCache.

  • Step 2: Learn about the components of BranchCache.

    See the BranchCache Overview.

    This document describes the technologies that are used to design and deploy BranchCache.

    Your goal is to understand BranchCache modes, hardware requirements, and operating system versions required for each BranchCache component.

  • Step 3: Learn about BranchCache security.

    See the section “BranchCache Security” in the topic BranchCache Overview.

    This document provides guidance to help organizations understand and manage the security of the Microsoft® BranchCache™ feature that is provided in some editions of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

    Your goal is to understand how BranchCache security works.

  • Step 4: Learn about new BranchCache features.

    See the topic What's New in BranchCache.

    This document provides an overview of new BranchCache features for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.

    Your goal is to familiarize yourself with BranchCache settings before deploying the technology.

  • Step 5: Find out more about BranchCache.

    See the TechNet Wiki topic BranchCache Frequently Asked Questions.

    This topic provides information about different aspects of BranchCache, from preloading content in branch offices to information about deploying hosted cache mode.

    Your goal is to have a more detailed understanding of how BranchCache works.

The following documents contain intermediate information about BranchCache in Windows Server 2012.

  • Step 1: Learn how to create an effective design for a BranchCache deployment.

    See the section Choosing a BranchCache Design in the BranchCache Deployment Guide.

    This section of the BranchCache Deployment Guide describes the design considerations for BranchCache to meet your organization’s requirements for deploying BranchCache in branch offices that have different configurations.

    Your goal is to understand the different BranchCache modes, the infrastructure elements and requirements, and how to map your deployment goals to a BranchCache design.

  • Step 2: Learn how to deploy BranchCache content servers.

    See the section Install and Configure Content Servers in the BranchCache Deployment Guide.

    This section of the BranchCache Deployment Guide provides instructions on which BranchCache software to install on your content server to enable BranchCache functionality.

    Your goal is to install the correct BranchCache software for the types of content servers that you are using at your main office.

  • Step 3: Deploy a BranchCache distributed cache mode design.

    See the section Configure BranchCache Client Computers in the BranchCache Deployment Guide.

    This section of the BranchCache Deployment Guide provides instructions on how to deploy BranchCache in distributed cache mode using Windows 8.

    Your goal is to deploy BranchCache in distributed cache mode.

  • Step 4: Learn basic troubleshooting for BranchCache.

    See the BranchCache Troubleshooting.

    This document describes common troubleshooting situations and the tools that you can use to help diagnose and resolve BranchCache deployment problems.

    Your goal is to understand the kinds of problems that can occur when deploying BranchCache.

The following documents contain advanced information about BranchCache.

  • Step 1: Learn the Windows PowerShell cmdlets for BranchCache

    See the BranchCache Cmdlets in Windows PowerShell (http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh848392.aspx).

    This topic, which is part of the Windows PowerShell cmdlet reference, provides a comprehensive list of BranchCache commands, including syntax and examples.

    Your goal is to use these commands either manually or in scripts to manage and configure BranchCache.

  • Step 2: Deploy BranchCache in hosted cache mode.

    Deploy hosted cache mode by using the Core Network Companion Guide: Deploying BranchCache Hosted Cache Mode.

    This guide includes instructions on how to deploy BranchCache in hosted cache mode and, optionally, how to prehash the content on your Web and file servers, and how to preload the content on your hosted cache server.

    Your goal is to deploy BranchCache in hosted cache mode.

The following documents and videos contain information about the BranchCache Netsh commands and the technologies that you can use to deploy BranchCache content servers, including Web servers, file servers, and BITS based application servers.

  • Learn the network shell (netsh) commands for BranchCache.

    See the Network Shell (Netsh) Commands for BranchCache (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=156640)

    This topic, which is part of the Netsh command reference, provides a comprehensive list of netsh branchcache commands, including syntax and examples.

    Your goal is to use the netsh branchcache commands either manually or in scripts to manage and configure BranchCache.

  • Deploy one or more file servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See File and Storage Services Overview.

    This topic contains detailed information about File Services technologies in Windows Server 2012. File Services provides technologies that help manage storage, enable file replication, manage shared folders, ensure fast file searching, and enable access for UNIX client computers.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy file servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers, and to manage shares that you can enable for use with BranchCache.

  • Deploy one or more application servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See Application Server Overview.

    This document describes the Application Server role, which provides an integrated environment for deploying and running custom, server-based business applications that are built with the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0. The Application Server role supports applications that use COM+, Message Queuing, Web services, and distributed transactions.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy BITS-based application servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers.

  • Deploy one or more Web servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See Web Server (IIS) Overview.

    This document describes the Web Server (IIS) role, which includes Internet Information Services (IIS) 7, which is a unified Web platform that integrates IIS, ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation, and Windows SharePoint Services.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy Web servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers.

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