Microsoft introduced BranchCache in Windows Server 2008 R2. The idea was that branch offices would only need to download data from the main office once. Then it would be cached at that branch. Subsequent requests for the same data would then be routed to the cached data once it was determined that the data was not stale. In the rest of this week’s tips, I’ll be forwarding information on some of the improvements made to BranchCache in Windows Server 2012 which focus on new tools and a simplified deployment model.
- File division calculations are performed only one time and may be done offline. When a client computer that is running Windows 8 downloads content from a file server or web server that is running Windows Server 2012 and is using new disk deduplication technology, there is no need for BranchCache to calculate how to divide the content because the file server and web server have already made these calculations. Content information is calculated offline, well before a BranchCache client requests a file. This provides faster performance and more bandwidth savings because content information is ready for the first client that requests the content and calculations have already been performed.
- Duplicate content is stored once and downloaded once. When identical content exists in a file – or across many files on the content server or hosted cache server – BranchCache stores only one instance of the content, which provides disk storage savings. In addition, client computers at office locations download only one instance of duplicate content, saving additional WAN bandwidth.
- Small changes to large files produce bandwidth savings. BranchCache now divides files and web pages into smaller pieces. BranchCache uses a highly optimized file server chunking system to choose intelligent split points inside of files, providing the ability for client computers to download only the part of the file that is changed.
- Cache Encryption. Cached data is now stored encrypted by default. This allows you to ensure data security without using drive encryption technologies.
- Cache preloading. New tools are available that allow you to load cacheable content onto hosted cache servers before the content is requested by client computers. You can preload content from media, such as DVDs or hard disks, or you can transfer the content over the network to the hosted cache server.
- BranchCache is now manageable with Windows PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). This enables scripting and remote management of BranchCache content servers, hosted cache servers, and client computers.