Microsoft Connected Cache in Configuration Manager

Applies to: Configuration Manager (current branch)

Starting in version 1906, you can install a Microsoft Connected Cache server on your distribution points. By caching this content on-premises, your clients can benefit from the Delivery Optimization feature, but you can help to protect WAN links.

Note

Starting in version 1910, this feature is now called Microsoft Connected Cache. It was previously known as Delivery Optimization In-Network Cache (DOINC).

This cache server acts as an on-demand transparent cache for content downloaded by Delivery Optimization. Use client settings to make sure this server is offered only to the members of the local Configuration Manager boundary group.

This cache is separate from Configuration Manager's distribution point content. If you choose the same drive as the distribution point role, it stores content separately.

Note

The Connected Cache server is an application installed on Windows Server. This application is still in development.

How it works

When you configure clients to use the Connected Cache server, they no longer request Microsoft cloud-managed content from the internet. Clients request this content from the cache server installed on the distribution point. The on-premises server caches this content using the IIS feature for Application Request Routing (ARR). Then the cache server can quickly respond to any future requests for the same content. If the Connected Cache server is unavailable, or the content isn't yet cached, clients download the content from the internet. Clients also use Delivery Optimization, so download portions of the content from peers in their network.

Diagram of how Connected Cache works

  1. Client checks for updates and gets the address for the content delivery network (CDN).

  2. Configuration Manager configures Delivery Optimization (DO) settings on the client, including the cache server name.

  3. Client A requests content from the DO cache server.

  4. If the cache doesn't include the content, then the DO cache server gets it from the CDN.

  5. If the cache server fails to respond, the client downloads the content from the CDN.

  6. Clients use DO to get pieces of the content from peers.

Prerequisites and limitations

  • An on-premises distribution point, with the following configurations:

    • Running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019

    • The default web site enabled on port 80

    • Don't preinstall the IIS Application Request Routing (ARR) feature. Connected Cache installs ARR and configures its settings. Microsoft can't guarantee that the Connected Cache's ARR configuration won't conflict with other applications on the server that also use this feature.

    • The distribution point requires internet access to the Microsoft cloud. The specific URLs can vary depending upon the specific cloud-enabled content. For more information, see Internet access requirements.

  • Clients running Windows 10 version 1709 or later

Enable Connected Cache

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, and select the Distribution Points node.

  2. Select an on-premises distribution point, and then in the ribbon select Properties.

  3. In the properties of the distribution point role, on the General tab, configure the following settings:

    1. Enable the option to Enable this distribution point to be used as Microsoft Connected Cache server

      View and accept the license terms.

    2. Local drive to be used: Select the disk to use for the cache. Automatic is the default value, which uses the disk with the most free space.Note 1

      Note

      You can change this drive later. Any cached content is lost, unless you copy it to the new drive.

    3. Disk space: Select the amount of disk space to reserve in GB or a percentage of the total disk space. By default, this value is 100 GB.

      Note

      The default cache size should be sufficient for most customers. You can adjust the cache size later.

    4. Retain cache when disabling the Connected Cache server: If you remove the cache server, and you enable this option, the server keeps the cache's content on the disk.

  4. In client settings, in the Delivery Optimization group, configure the setting to Enable devices managed by Configuration Manager to use Microsoft Connected Cache servers for content download.

Note 1: About drive selection

If you select Automatic, when Configuration Manager installs the Connected Cache component, it honors the no_sms_on_drive.sms file. For example, the distribution point has the file C:\no_sms_on_drive.sms. Even if the C: drive has the most free space, Configuration Manager configures Connected Cache to use another drive for its cache.

If you select a specific drive that already has the no_sms_on_drive.sms file, Configuration Manager ignores the file. Configuring Connected Cache to use that drive is an explicit intent. For example, the distribution point has the file F:\no_sms_on_drive.sms. When you explicitly configure the distribution point properties to use the F: drive, Configuration Manager configures Connected Cache to use the F: drive for its cache.

To change the drive after you install Connected Cache:

  • Manually configure the distribution point properties to use a specific drive letter.

  • If set to automatic, first create the no_sms_on_drive.sms file. Then make some change to the distribution point properties to trigger a configuration change.

Verify

When clients download cloud-managed content, they use Delivery Optimization from the cache server installed on your distribution point. Cloud-managed content includes the following types:

  • Microsoft Store apps
  • Windows features on demand, such as languages
  • If you enable Windows Update for Business policies: Windows 10 feature and quality updates
  • For co-management workloads:
    • Windows Update for Business: Windows 10 feature and quality updates
    • Office Click-to-Run apps: Office apps and updates
    • Client apps: Microsoft Store apps and updates
    • Endpoint Protection: Windows Defender definition updates

On Windows 10 version 1809 or later, verify this behavior with the Get-DeliveryOptimizationStatus Windows PowerShell cmdlet. In the cmdlet output, review the BytesFromCacheServer value. For more information, see Monitor Delivery Optimization.

If the cache server returns any HTTP failure, the Delivery Optimization client falls back to the original cloud source.

For more detailed information, see Troubleshoot Microsoft Connected Cache in Configuration Manager.

Support for Intune Win32 apps

Starting in version 1910, when you enable Connected Cache on your Configuration Manager distribution points, they can serve Microsoft Intune Win32 apps to co-managed clients.

Prerequisites

Client

  • Update the client to the latest version.

  • The client device needs to have at least 4 GB of memory.

    Tip

    Use the following group policy setting: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Delivery Optimization > Minimum RAM capacity (inclusive) required to enable use of Peer Caching (in GB).

Site

  • Enable Connected Cache on a distribution point. For more information, see Microsoft Connected Cache.

  • The client and the Connected Cache-enabled distribution point need to be in the same boundary group.

  • Enable the following client settings in the Delivery Optimization group:

    • Use Configuration Manager Boundary Groups for Delivery Optimization Group ID
    • Enable devices managed by Configuration Manger to use Microsoft Connected Cache servers for content download
  • Enable the pre-release feature Client apps for co-managed devices. For more information, see Pre-release features.

  • Enable co-management, and switch the Client apps workload to Pilot Intune or Intune. For more information, see the following articles:

Intune

  • This feature only supports the Intune Win32 app type.

    • Create and assign (deploy) a new app in Intune for this purpose. (Apps created before Intune version 1811 don't work.) For more information, see Intune Win32 app management.

    • The app needs to be at least 100 MB in size.

      Tip

      Use the following group policy setting: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Delivery Optimization > Minimum Peer Caching Content File Size (in MB).

See also

Optimize Windows 10 updates with Delivery Optimization

Troubleshoot Microsoft Connected Cache in Configuration Manager