We have a small stub office that currently has a single server 2003 domain controller, and a DFS-R copy of the file store held at our main office. We probably replicate about 100Gb of data, I would guess about 20Gb maximum is actively used at both ends. We have (relatively) slow ADSL links between sites.
Replication mostly works quite well for us, except on instances where we make changes to security on some of the replicated files. - this causes a huge backlog of changes that seem to take several days to clear. I've been reading some other posts about issues, and also about the new Branch Cache feature that Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2 have to offer, and as I understand it, the pros and cons are as follows:
- No version conflicts
- Fast access for subsequent access
- Slow access for first time access
- Slow write access
- Quick read/write access to data at all times
- A limited amount of additional data security
- Backlogs can occur very easily
- Version conflicts can be an issue with backlogs
- Replication can take too long - not suited to real-time access to files between offices.
Has anyone tested branch cache? I'm wondering if know how well branch cache performs in the real world? Would it be better than DFSR for our setup? I would imagine it could be very useful if I were able to pre-fetch chunks of data (I guess I could do this manually with robocopy and delete!). The only concern I have is the fact that data writes would be slow.
I've also been considering implementing sharepoint at our main office. I think this might just swing in favour of Branch Cache.
Obviously if I decided to go with branch cache it would have to pass testing, but I just wanted to know if I'm missing any other pros or cons that might persuade me one way or the other?
I'd probably keep our AD deployed software as DFS-R replicated and maybe even user specific data (e.g. Home Directories and Profiles), otherwise the writes would surely cause delays on the clients?