Tuesday, 4 November 2008

TechEd: New networking features revealed for WIndows 7: DirectAccess and BranchCache

Microsoft is clearly using Tech Ed IT Pro in Barcelona to start revealing details about new features in the upcoming releases of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

One of the first sessions after the openening keynote was about new networking features in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. The enhancements clearly focus on making Windows work better from outside the corporate network and in Branch office situations.

Two prominent new features are:

Direct Access is Microsoft's implementation of what I have earlier referred to as DirectConnect. The technoligy enables user to access resources on the corporate network from a corporate system over the Internet without a VPN using IPv6 and IPSec. Steve Riley already did a demo of this technology at Tech Ed in Orlando. It will be implemented as a client in Windows 7 and as a role on Windows Server 2008 R2.

BranchCache is a new caching technology that locally caches data that is retrieved over a WAN link using SMB or HTTP(S). This enables the next user that needs the same piece of information to retrieve the data without pulling all data over the line again. The demo's showed a substantial gain in speed. BranchCache is implemented in such a way that is preserves the security of the information.

BranchCache can be implemented in two modes:
BranchCache Distributed Cache
BranchCache Hosted Cache

BranchCache Distributed Cache provides a peer to peer mechanism for caching the data at the branch office. In this modes Windows 7 systems request for a local copy of the data at each other before pulling the data over the WAN link. Each time the data is fetched, the client checks with the originating server if the data has not changed and if the security settings allow access. BranchCache Distributed Cache only works for clients at the branch office that operate in the same subnet.

With BranchCache Hosted Cache, a Windows Server 2008 R2 server is assigned at the branch office to hold a cached copy of data that is retrieved over the WAN link. This server is configured with the BranchCache role and assigned as the caching server with Group Policy. It will work as the caching server for all Windows 7 clients at the branch office not regarding their subnet location.

The only downside I see in BranchCache is the fact that you need Windows Server 2008 R2/Windows 7 on both sides of the connection.

Reference : http://www.xpworld.com/

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Nasser Hajloo
a Persian Graphic Designer , Web Designer and Web Developer

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