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PitbullTerje

SCCM 2012 - BranchCache instead of DP´s?

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Hi!

 

I need some advice regarding designing a solution for remote sites in conjunction with SCCM 2012 R2. Im thinking about using BranchCache instead of DP´s, but I need some kind of approval that it actually works in practice.

 

The scenario:

We have 400 remote sites (retail stores). At 350 of the sites, theres 3-10 PC´s. At 50 sites, theres 10-30 PC´s. 95% of the PC´s are desktops used as cash registers. In total about 2000 Windows 7 clients. The bandwidth is 2mbit, and we shouldn´t/can´t use any bandwidth between 07-20. During the night we have to take some overhead into consideration since there´s a bunch of batchjobs running for the system used for the cash registers. In essence, we cant have 20 clients download a big update/application over the WAN-link.

The staff at the sites wont have time for troubleshooting and/or reimaging the PC´s when they get new ones or if they have to reimage old ones, so we won´t have to take OSD inte account. They will use consultants at the local citys who will just come out and switch out the cash register/desktop when there´s a problem which cant be solved remotely or when they order new ones.

 

So what I want is an easily managed solutions for getting applications and patches out over the WAN without using to much of the bandwidth. SCCM itself is up and running here at HQ.

 

I could go with a bunch of local DP´s, either as dedicated servers or installed on one of the local desktops, but that seems like a high maintenance solution. Especially since the sites are remote and we have limited oppurtunities to troubleshoot/replace a DP when it breaks. My estimate is that we have to use about 30 DP´s at the sites with the most devices. Seems like a lot to manage, so I would really like to avoid that.

 

Hence BranchCache! In theory, this seems like a solution that fits our needs perfectly, but I haven´t found any real world scenarios/case studys on the internets where this has been implemented with SCCM in a case like this. I can only find design studys on how to implement it. (and one case study from MS saying it works, but I dont know if i should trust them ;)

 

Maybe someone here has experience from implementing a solution like this? Does it work? Any particular problems we can expect? Will this solution give us less administration then using DP´s? Or will there be too many problems to recommend this solution in practice?

 

Thanks in advance, any help appreciated!!

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hi,

 

the sort answer is yes it can work, but the key to making it work is lots of testing and tweaking. BITS config is obviously gonna be key with regards to the throttling/timing, so take a look at the BITS policy that's available.

 

BranchCache actually works really well with BITS if you're not in too much of a hurry - i.e if BITS is throttled so that one PC can get a head start at each site then it's pretty sweet. So you might for instance want to make a collection of 'Pioneers' - PCs which will get the DL first and can then act as Branch DP's via BranchCache.

 

Win7 BranchCache is not quite as efficient as Win8.x but it can still achieve big Bandwidth savings if you configure it right. You're aiming for 1 xDL per Package/App/Update per subnet and that is achievable with a bit of effort.

 

We're just in the process of writing up a Whitepaper for this very purpose, but it won't be available for a couple of weeks. Next week we'll be releasing our (free) Reporting stuff for BranchCache which is a great help with testing as it contains SCCM reports on which client got content from the DP as opposed to Peers - so keep checking the website.

 

Hope this helps a bit, but feel free to drop us a line and we'll help if we can.

 

cheers

 

Phil Wilcock

2Pint Software

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hi,

 

the sort answer is yes it can work, but the key to making it work is lots of testing and tweaking. BITS config is obviously gonna be key with regards to the throttling/timing, so take a look at the BITS policy that's available.

 

BranchCache actually works really well with BITS if you're not in too much of a hurry - i.e if BITS is throttled so that one PC can get a head start at each site then it's pretty sweet. So you might for instance want to make a collection of 'Pioneers' - PCs which will get the DL first and can then act as Branch DP's via BranchCache.

 

Win7 BranchCache is not quite as efficient as Win8.x but it can still achieve big Bandwidth savings if you configure it right. You're aiming for 1 xDL per Package/App/Update per subnet and that is achievable with a bit of effort.

 

We're just in the process of writing up a Whitepaper for this very purpose, but it won't be available for a couple of weeks. Next week we'll be releasing our (free) Reporting stuff for BranchCache which is a great help with testing as it contains SCCM reports on which client got content from the DP as opposed to Peers - so keep checking the website.

 

Hope this helps a bit, but feel free to drop us a line and we'll help if we can.

 

cheers

 

Phil Wilcock

2Pint Software

 

Thanks for the reply!

 

I found your website after I wrote this post, lots of really great stuff regarding branchcache! Especially regarding using branchache in WInPE and during OSD in general, something I must try out myself :)

 

I was actually thinking about making a collection of Pioneers/Pilots, I think thats a requirement from the stores aswell. Just to make sure every application update or patch works in real world scenarios before rolling out to all the devices.

At the moment Im just in the design/POC-stage, so when I get the opportunity to test this at a real site in a couple of months, your tools will surely come in handy.

 

Again, thanks for the help and I will definitely keep checking your website!

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