Windows DFS and BranchCache are two powerful Windows Server features that allow organizations to provide efficient data access across distributed locations. This course explains how to plan, configure, and troubleshoot both of these technologies.
Many organizations have distributed data across multiple sites and all users expect quick data access no matter where they reside. In this course, Implementing Windows Server 2016 Distributed Networking Services, you'll learn about the two core distributed data technologies built into Windows Server and how each can be used to address different use cases. You'll start by learning DFS and DFS Replication and then you'll look at BranchCache and how and when that should be used as an alternative solution. At the end of this course, you'll be able to describe each of the technologies, which problems they solve, and how to implement and troubleshoot them.
Peter is a technology enthusiast and has been immersed in IT ever since his days of programming 'Basic' on the Commodore 64. He has 20 years of professional experience supporting or architecting large and complex infrastructure environments for companies including Microsoft and various investment banks.
Course Overview Hi everyone, I'm Peter Grant, and this course is Windows Server 2016 Distributed Network Services. I'm an IT professional with over 20 years' experience implementing Windows infrastructure solutions. Many organizations run from multiple locations and require data to be accessed across a wide area network. This course will show you how to use two of the most powerful distributed networking features that come with Windows Server 2016. This course is divided into two sections. The first focuses on the Windows Distributed File System, or DFS, as well as DFS replication, and the second section looks at BranchCache. In both of these topics, you'll learn about use cases, deployment planning, implementation, and troubleshooting. The major topics we'll cover on this course for both DFS and Branch Cache include understanding the different use cases for DFS versus BranchCache, deployment planning, implementation, replication, and troubleshooting. By the end of this course, you'll know when to use either DFS or BranchCache, how to implement it, and how to fix it when things go wrong. This course assumes a basic knowledge of Active Directory and core networking principles, but doesn't assume any previous hands-on experience with DFS or BranchCache. I hope you'll join me in this course to learn about these powerful Windows features.
Introduction Hi everybody, my name is Peter Grant, and this course is Implementing Windows Server 2016 Distributed Network Services. Specifically, what we'll be looking at in this course is the Distributed File System, or DFS, as well as the Distributed File System Replication, or DFSR, and then the second half of the course we'll be looking at BranchCache. Both of these features are not new to Windows Server 2016, but they both provide you the ability to access data in multiple locations in an optimized manner. So the first half of the course we'll be looking at the Distributed File System. So what is DFS? Well, DFS is a way that you can aggregate shares that might be stored on different servers in different locations into a single namespace, and we'll look at this in more detail so you'll be very clear at the end of this course on what this means. We'll then look at the DFSR. So Distributed File System Replication kind of goes hand-in-hand with DFS, but it's the component that allows you to replicate data between one server and another or between lots of servers, so this is a multi-master data replication mechanism, which means that you can perform reads and writes in multiple locations, and that has its advantages and its disadvantages. And then we'll be looking at BranchCache. So BranchCache is a solution where we still maintain our writes in a single central location, but it gives us the ability to cache our read blocks of data within our branch sites, and that has some advantages in terms of quick user access to the data, and also means that bandwidth can be optimized and you don't need to pull all of the data across from the central site every time you need to read it. And we'll look at the pros and cons between DFS and BranchCache.
Lab Setup Before we start, I'm going to take you through how I've set up my lab. So if you want to follow along, and you've not already got a lab set up, this module will quickly take you through some of the key aspects of how I've configured it. Alright, let's get going. So I'm going to explain the physical hardware that I'm running in my lab. We'll then take a look at the hypervisor that I'm using, because quite honestly, you need to be using a hypervisor for a home lab environment. And then we'll look at the networking. So networking tends to be the area that confuses the most people when setting up their labs, and there's a few different choices you've got. I tend to keep things fairly simple, and we'll go through that, and you'll see also how I've configured multiple sites within Active Directory, but still using a single underlying subnet. And then we'll look at the server operating system deployment, and I'll take you through how I've deployed Active Directory.
DFS Deployment Planning Before we get into the nuts and bolts of configuring DFS, let's first talk about what DFS and DFSR is, and how it can be useful to you as an IT admin, and we'll also look at some of the design considerations around DFS. In this module, you'll learn what a DFS namespace is, and we'll take a look at the components that make up a DFS infrastructure. We'll then look at the DFS namespace design, and you'll understand the differences between standalone DFS and domain DFS. We'll also discuss the design considerations around namespace servers and how to ensure that your DFS infrastructure is highly available. Last, but certainly not least, you'll learn how DFS replication can be utilized to create multiple localized copies of your data, and we'll talk about the various replication topologies and touch on how DFS has integrated with Active Directory sites.
Implementing DFS Okay, so in this module we're going to get stuck in and do a lot of hands-on configuration. We're going to start off by seeing how we configure the standalone DFS namespace. We'll then look at the Domain DFS. We'll talk about the namespace referral servers, and we'll look at how they can be configured. And then finally, we'll conclude by looking at Active Directory site referrals, and you will see how you get referred to different targets based on your Active Directory site. Okay, let's get stuck in.
Configuring DFSR Replication We've just seen how we can set up DFS, so now we're going to take a look at how we can synchronize data between two or more DFS replicas. In this module, you're going to set up bi-directional replication, that is replication between two replicas going each way, and then we'll look at hub-and-spoke replication. So hub-and-spoke replication is where we have one center site, for example, and we have multiple satellite sites, all either replicating into the hub, or replicating out of the hub, or actually going both ways. And we'll also look at what happens when you make a change to the same file in both locations, and what happens when those files try and replicate, how does DFSR handle the data conflicts.
Troubleshooting DFSR So we've gone through and we've set up DFS and DFS Replication. Hopefully by now you can see that it's reasonably straightforward once you get your head around the various constructs and approaches for doing it. But happens when things go wrong? Well, in this module we're going to look at how we can troubleshoot DFS and DFS Replication. We're going to start off by looking at how we can troubleshoot the DFS root namespace. So before we start looking at anything else, we need to make sure that the foundations are in place and they're all working correctly. We'll then take a look at the target shares and make sure that we can connect the targets and that the permissions are set correctly. And finally, we'll take a look at DFS Replication, and we'll look at some of the tools and utilities that we can use to troubleshoot that.
BranchCache Deployment Planning Okay, hi everyone, so now we're going to get onto the modules focusing on BranchCache. So, the first module we're going to be talking about, Deployment Planning, and some of the things you need to be aware of before going down the route of implementing BranchCache, as well as some of the design considerations and prereqs. Okay, so in this module we're going to look at the architecture of BranchCache, so we'll go over the various components that make it up, and how it all plugs together. We'll then look at some of the use cases for BranchCache so at the end of this you'll understand when you should use BranchCache and when you shouldn't, and what are some of the pros and cons. And we'll touch on the benefits and the constraints, so you'll understand that if you implement BranchCache it will give you these advantages, but also what are the constraints and disadvantages of doing it. And then we'll very quickly touch on the new features in Windows Server 2016, because to be honest, there aren't too many over Windows Server 2012. And we'll look at the prerequisites and then touch on some of the deployment planning considerations.
Implementing BranchCache for Files Okay, so let's get stuck in and actually start to configure the BranchCache. In this module, we're going to be implementing BranchCache for Files, so this is the use case where we have a file server stored centrally, say, in your head office, and you want to have some kind of localized caching on your branch offices to service file requests. We're going to start off by looking at how we configure the content server. So if you'll recall, the content server that, well, hosts the content that you're going to be caching, so in this instance it will be the file server. We'll then look at how we configure the host cache server. So the host cache server is an optional server, and this is the actual server which would be located on your branch site that would be the central caching point for those files that you're accessing. And we'll then look at the client configuration and we'll look at how we enable the client and how we can configure them to either point to a host cache server, or if we don't want to use a host cache server and we want to use distributed cache mode, we'll look at how we configure the clients for that. And finally, we will look at how we're going to test and validate that BranchCache is working, because BranchCache is one of those set-and-forget type technologies where once it's set up you leave it and you don't really need to manage it, but you do want to make sure that it's working and doing what it's supposed to be doing, so we'll look at ways that you can validate that this is working.
Implementing BranchCache for Web Content Okay, so in this module we're going to go through it once again, but instead of setting it up for caching files, we're going to be using the web content server. Now we're going to go through this module quicker than we did the last one, because quite a few of the steps are very similar, however, there are a few important differences. And the agenda for this module is very similar to the last. We're going to start by setting up the web content server and this is where some of the key differences are, so it's important that you focus on this part. We're then going to use a host cache server once again, we'll go through how we set up the client, and then we'll do some testing and validation just to make sure it's working. Okay, so once again, we're going to use this diagram just so we can illustrate whereabouts in the process we are. And, as I say, we're going to start off now by setting up the web content server. Okay, so let's get stacking.
Implementing BranchCache for Application Updates Okay, so for this module, this is going to be a fairly short module. We're going to be setting up a content server for application updates. So this is fairly similar to what we did for the last module with the web content server, so we're just going to skip through it, but what we will do is we will spend some time looking at the firewall and the firewall rules and the firewall Group Policies that you may need to set up. So in this module we're going to set up the content server for application updates using BITS, and we'll look at the client configuration, and then we'll spend a little bit of time looking at the firewall setup. Okay, so you should be familiar with this diagram now. We're going to be setting up the bottom left server, which is the content server for BITs. We're not going to do the host cache in this instance, we're going to be doing everything in distributed cache mode, and then set up the firewall, so let's get started.
Troubleshooting BranchCache Okay, so this is the last module relating to BranchCache, and in this module, we're going to take a look at how we can troubleshoot it when it goes wrong. So there's many different ways to troubleshoot a problem, but what I like to do is have some kind of loose workflow that I can follow, and then I can deviate from it as I need to. So what we're going to do in this module is we'll start by looking at how we confirm that we do actually have an issue, we'll then draw out the architecture, we'll then look at the Get-BCstatus command and we'll work through what we need to look at there, we'll troubleshoot particular services, we'll check the firewalls, and then we're going to take a look at the GPOs. So with each of these steps in this workflow, some may or may not be relevant, depending on what you find, but we're just going to walk through each of them so you've got a good idea about how you might approach this. So, let's start off with confirming the issue.