Windows Server 2008 R2 Shares - BranchCache

BranchCache is a new feature for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. BranchCache allows a branch office that has no server to allow local workstations to locate and locally store copies of files and folders hosted on remote Windows Server 2008 R2 BranchCache file servers. When BranchCache is installed on a Windows Server 2008 R2 file server, and BranchCache is enabled on a particular file share, when a remote branch office user on a Windows 7 workstation requests the file from the file server, it broadcasts the request on the local network. If no copy exists, it will pull a copy to the local machine. The updates to that file will be sent across the network as changes are made. When the next Windows 7 workstation attempts to access this same file from across the network, the broadcast for that file will be sent on the local network, and in this particular example, the file will be referenced from the original workstation that copied the file over during the initial request, thus improving access performance to the file and reducing network traffic. To enable BranchCache on a Windows Server 2008 R2 system, perform the steps in the following sections.


Install the BranchCache Service
Before BranchCache can be utilized, the service must be installed on a Windows Server 2008 R2 system. To install the BranchCache service, perform the following steps:

1. Log on to the Windows Server 2008 R2 system with the File Services Role installed with an account with administrator privileges.

2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and select Server Manager.

3. Double-click on Roles in the tree pane to expand the role services. In the tasks pane on the right, scroll down to Role Services until you reach the File Services Role section. Under the File Service Role section, check to see whether the BranchCache for network files is installed.

4. If the service is not installed, click on Add Role Services and follow the steps to check and install the BranchCache for network files service.


Enable BranchCache on a File Share
Once the BranchCache for network files service is installed on the Windows Server 2008 R2 system, the service can be enabled on a share-by-share basis. To enable BranchCache functionality on a particular server share, perform the following steps:

1. Log on to the Windows Server 2008 R2 system with an account with administrator privileges.

2. Click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and select Server Manager.

3. Double-click on Roles, and then double-click on File Services.

4. Select Share and Storage Management.

5. In the tasks pane, right-click the share that needs to have BranchCache functionality enabled and select Properties.

6. On the Sharing tab, click the Advanced button.

7. Select the Caching tab, and verify that the Only the Files and Programs That Users Specify Are Available Offline option button is selected. Check the Enable BranchCache check box, and click OK to close the Advanced window.

8. Click OK again to save the settings to the share and close the Server Manager window.

Before BranchCache functionality is enabled, network administrators need to understand the service in greater detail, especially because it is currently only supported on Windows 7 workstations and Windows Server 2008 R2, and any lower-level client will not be able to make use of this feature. In cases where Windows Vista or older clients still exist on remote or branch office networks, administrators should continue to deploy remote file servers with replicated DFS file shares when access to large or numerous files is required.

Source of Information :  Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed (2010)

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