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mashti

Configuring SCCM and Branch Cache

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PART-1

 

 

Branch cache is a feature introduced with Windows 2008 R2 that allows systems within the same subnet and separated from a content source (such as a WSUS server) to share downloaded content locally rather than each system having to traverse a latent network link back to the content source. Branch cache has two modes of operation – distributed cache mode and hosted cache mode. SCCM only supports distributed cache mode.

 

As mentioned, branch cache is a function of the OS and not of SCCM but, with the release of SCCM SP2, we now are able to leverage branch cache on enabled servers. When we find branch cache enabled we use it – there is no special SCCM configuration requirements for branch cache other than what is likely in se in most environments anyway. We will highlight those shortly but to start a diagram of a sample configuration might help explain how this is all setup.

 

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A word about hosted cache mode. The OS documentation that discusses branch cache discusses both modes of operation and discuses steos to configure SMB file transfers through branch cache. To me, the documentation is a bit fuzz. From what I can tell, configuring branch cache to support SMB requires some additional configuration on the content server – such as enabling a role service called ‘branch cache for network files’ and configuring specific shares to support branch cache using the ‘share and storage management tool’. Since SCCM uses branch cache via BITS there is no need to do this additional configuration to support SMB.

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PART-2

 

 

In addition to the above we must configure the windows firewall to allow branch cache specific communication as follows:

 

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Another way we can tell that our package came over from branch cache is by looking in the event log on the system as show below. Look for event 60 and on the detail tab look for the peerProtocolFlags value. If it is set to 1 then branch cache was used to deliver the content. Thanks to my colleague Frank for the tip!

 

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