BranchCache is a new feature in the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems that caches content from file and web servers on a wide area network (WAN) locally at a branch office. With BranchCache organizations can increase network responsiveness of centralized applications when accessed from remote offices, giving users in those offices the experience of working locally.
BranchCache is designed to give branch-office users an experience like being connected directly to the central office.
When BranchCache is enabled, a copy of data accessed from intranet web and file servers is cached locally within the branch office. When another client on the same network requests the file, the client downloads it from the local cache without downloading the same content across the WAN.
BranchCache can operate in one of two modes:
Using a peer-to-peer architecture, Windows 7 client computers cache copies of files and send them directly to other Windows 7 client computers, as needed. Improving performance is as easy as enabling BranchCache on your Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2-based computers. Distributed Cache is especially beneficial for branch offices that do not have a local server.
Using a client/server architecture, Windows 7 client computers cache content to a computer on the local network running Windows Server 2008 R2, known as the Hosted Cache. Other clients who need the same content retrieve it directly from the Hosted Cache. The Hosted Cache computer can run the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 R2 and can also host other applications.