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BranchCache Deployment Guide

Published: October 14, 2009

Updated: November 4, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

BranchCache is a wide area network (WAN) bandwidth optimization technology that is included in some editions of the Windows Server® 2008 R2 and Windows® 7 operating systems.

noteNote
For more information about operating systems that support BranchCache, see the section “Operating system versions for BranchCache” in the topic BranchCache Overview in the Windows Server® 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Technical Library at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=167096.

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 2008 R2 or, when no server is available in the branch office, on computers running Windows 7. 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.

This deployment guide allows you to deploy BranchCache in the following modes:

  • Distributed cache mode. In this mode, branch office client computers download content from the content servers in the main office and then cache the content for other computers in the same branch office. Distributed cache mode does not require a server computer in the branch office.

  • Hosted cache mode. In this mode, branch office client computers download content from the content servers in the main office, and a hosted cache server retrieves the content from the clients. The hosted cache server then caches the content for other client computers. Hosted cache mode does require a server computer in the branch office, and there are additional requirements.

This guide also provides instructions on how to deploy three types of content servers. Content servers contain the source content that is downloaded by branch office client computers, and one or more content server is required to deploy BranchCache in either mode. The content server types are:

  • Web server-based content servers. These content servers send content to BranchCache client computers using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. These content servers must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 versions that support BranchCache and upon which the BranchCache feature is installed.

  • BITS-based application servers. These content servers send content to BranchCache client computers using the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). These content servers must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 versions that support BranchCache and upon which the BranchCache feature is installed.

  • File server-based content servers. These content servers must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 versions that support BranchCache and upon which the File Services server role is installed. In addition, the BranchCache for network files role service of the File Services server role must be installed and configured. These content servers send content to BranchCache client computers using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

This guide does not provide conceptual information that explains BranchCache functionality. This guide also does not contain information on how to plan and design a BranchCache deployment. That information is included in other BranchCache documentation, which is in the Windows Server® 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Technical Library at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=162776.

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