BranchCache Learning Roadmap

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

BranchCache is a wide area network (WAN) bandwidth optimization technology that is included in the Windows Server® 2008 R2 and Windows® 7 operating systems.

To optimize WAN bandwidth, BranchCache copies content from your main office content servers and caches the content at branch office locations, allowing client computers at branch offices to access the content locally rather than over the WAN.

At branch offices, content is cached either on servers that are running the BranchCache feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 or, when no server is available in the branch office, on computers running Windows 7. After a client computer requests and receives content from the main office and the content is cached at the branch office, other computers at the same branch office can obtain the content locally rather than contacting the main office over the WAN link.

BranchCache helps improve content query response times for clients and servers in branch offices, and can also help improve network performance by reducing traffic over WAN links.

If you are new to BranchCache, this topic can help you identify what you need to learn to fully understand how to deploy and troubleshoot BranchCache. It includes prerequisite topics that cover a variety of networking and IT infrastructure fundamentals. You must understand the prerequisite technologies first, because BranchCache builds upon them and assumes an understanding of them. Afterwards, you can begin learning about BranchCache through the resources in the Level 100, 200, and 300 sections.

We recommend that you read the topics in the order listed.

  • Prerequisite information

  • Level 100

  • Level 200

  • Level 300

  • Optional information

Prerequisite information

The following documents contain the information that you need to fully understand the tools that are used to deploy and manage BranchCache.

  • Step 1: Learn about the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

    See Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=70036).

    This document describes the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which hosts administrative tools that you can use to administer networks, computers, services, and other system components.

    Your goal is to understand how to use the MMC so that you can add and remove MMC snap-ins to manage Group or Local Computer Policy and configure BranchCache policies.

  • Step 2: Learn about Group and Local Computer Policy.

    See the Group Policy Documentation Survival Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=116313) and Local Group Policy Editor (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=67684).

    These documents describe domain-based Group Policy, Local Computer Policy, and tools that you can use to create and modify policies.

    Your goal is to understand the basics of how to use either Group Policy with Active Directory Domain Services or Local Computer Policy, because you use these policies to deploy BranchCache.

  • Step 3: Learn about Network Shell (Netsh).

    See the Netsh Technical Reference (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=178668).

    This document describes Network shell (netsh), which is a command-line utility that allows you to configure and display the status of various network communications server roles and components after they are installed on computers.

    Your goal is to understand how to enter the netsh context at a command prompt, how to change netsh contexts, and how to enter the netsh branchcache context so that you can run netsh branchcache commands.

  • Step 4: Learn how to install server roles and server features by using Server Manager.

    See Server Manager (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=214279).

    This document describes Server Manager, which is an expanded Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that allows you to view and manage virtually all of the information and tools that affect your server's productivity.

    Your goal is to understand how to install the BranchCache feature and how to install server roles for BranchCache content servers that you want to deploy, such as file servers, Web servers, and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)-based application servers.

Level 100

The following documents and videos contain introductory information about BranchCache.

Level 200

The following documents and videos contain intermediate information about BranchCache.

Level 300

The following documents and videos contain advanced information about BranchCache.

Optional information

The following documents and videos contain information about the BranchCache Netsh commands and the technologies that you can use to deploy BranchCache content servers, including Web servers, file servers, and BITS based application servers.

  • Learn the network shell (netsh) commands for BranchCache.

    See the Network Shell (Netsh) Commands for BranchCache (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=156640)

    This topic, which is part of the Netsh command reference, provides a comprehensive list of netsh branchcache commands, including syntax and examples.

    Your goal is to use the netsh branchcache commands either manually or in scripts to manage and configure BranchCache.

  • Deploy one or more file servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See File Services for Windows Server 2008 R2 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=149123), File Services (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=163091), and Share and Storage Management (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=214288).

    This collection contains detailed information about File Services technologies in Windows Server 2008 R2. File Services provides technologies that help manage storage, enable file replication, manage shared folders, ensure fast file searching, and enable access for UNIX client computers.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy file servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers, and to manage shares that you can enable for use with BranchCache.

  • Learn how to deploy a non-domain member BranchCache-enabled file server.

    See the BranchCache Video: Installing a non-domain member BranchCache-capable file server (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=195814).

    This video shows how to deploy a file server that you can use with BranchCache.

    Your goal is to understand how to install a non-domain member BranchCache file server using Windows Server 2008 R2. The server is configured using local computer policy and BranchCache is enabled for individual shares.

  • Deploy one or more application servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See Application Server (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=214289).

    This document describes the Application Server role, which provides an integrated environment for deploying and running custom, server-based business applications that are built with the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0. The Application Server role supports applications that use COM+, Message Queuing, Web services, and distributed transactions.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy BITS-based application servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers.

  • Deploy one or more Web servers for use as BranchCache content servers.

    See Web Server (IIS) (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=163294).

    This document describes the Web Server (IIS) role, which includes Internet Information Services (IIS) 7, which is a unified Web platform that integrates IIS, ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation, and Windows SharePoint Services.

    Your goal is to learn how to deploy Web servers that can be used as BranchCache content servers.