I was and I am one of the big fans of BranchCache features that was introduced with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 (Only Ultimate and Enterprise).
The reason i am fan of BranchCache is because of the technology behind it and all cryptography that it is built on.
In this post, i will just introduce the problem in simple words, leaving future posts for more details
With all the centralization and consolidation that everyone is rushing to, branches and even big offices, sometime don’t have a reliable and high speed link to the datacenters. Usually branch employees will enjoy a long coffee break because they are spending more time retrieving files and browsing internal sites with graphics and images on them.
Another dimension of the problem is the fact that everyone is moving to centralization and to pull out services and infrastructure presence from branches because of manageability or security reasons. It is hard to maintain a file share for example in each branch and to have regular backup and ACL management for all those remote branch servers.
Sometimes the branch is small and doesn’t contain any servers and branch employee will have to retrieve data over the slow link from the main site or data centers. That is why we should find a way to reduce such long coffee breaks and increase employee’s productivity times.
There are many solutions in the market that can help reducing the effect of this problem. Some of them are compression and WAN optimization solutions. Those are great solutions, but are too expensive to deploy on branches specially small ones. The cost is either money wise or the cost of configuring and implementing such devices in small branches.
BranchCache from Microsoft is a technology that can help here by caching on the branch office frequently accessed documents and http traffic. It works just fine with HTTP(HTTPS) and SMB (File Share)traffic
BranchCache client is already part of the Windows 7 and Windows 8 binaries (Enterprise and Ultimate Editions) and the technology can work just fine with IPSEC, HTTPS and Direct Access implementation.
Check future posts for more info !! Share with me if you already deployed BranchCache and tell me what do you think?