Optimize wide area network performance for employees in branch offices with only client computers

Updated: November 4, 2009

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2


A connection between the main office and each branch office must exist before you deploy BranchCache.

This deployment goal is recommended for branch offices that do not contain server computers. When you deploy BranchCache for employees in branch offices that contain only client computers:

  • Employees with the correct security permissions that are using computers running Windows 7 and that have BranchCache enabled can access content on your content servers at the main office; they can also access content that is cached locally by their computer and other computers at their branch office.

  • Server computers are not required at the branch office to cache content, because the content is cached on client computers that are running Windows 7.

  • Depending on the types of content servers that you have deployed, employees can access many types of content at the local branch office rather than over the wide area network (WAN) link to the main office. This includes Web server content, files on a SharePoint server, training videos, software installation files (such as software patches and antivirus program signature updates), and file shares.

  • Due to reduced usage of the WAN, employees might see reduced application response times and improved application performance.

The following components are required for this deployment goal.

  • Content server. One or more content servers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 and are located in the main office. Content servers can be file servers, application servers, or Web servers.

  • Client computers. One or more client computers that are running Windows 7 and are located in one or more branch offices.

  • Client cache servers. Each client computer automatically becomes a client cache server when it obtains content from a content server and then caches the content for distribution to other client computers on request.

  • Group Policy BranchCache object. To enable BranchCache on Windows 7 client computers using Group Policy, you must first create a Group Policy object (GPO) that will carry the BranchCache configuration.

  • Group Policy client computer firewall configuration. The client firewall must be configured to allow incoming HTTP and WS-Discovery traffic on computers that use distributed cache mode.

  • Free hard disk space on client computers. Free hard disk space on client computers at branch offices must be greater than the sum of the content plus the content information that is generated by the content servers. Content information is small in comparison to the actual content; you must reserve one byte of disk space for every 2,000 bytes of content that might be cached by client computers.