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Microsoft Discovers Branch Office

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Went to a useful workshop on Windows Server 2003 R2 for its launch yesterday (Tues 6th Dec). No, it's not WS 2005, it's an enterprise-friendly step release with no kernel changes but some new functionality. Looks good - much was made of it clever replication capability using the RDC (Remote Differential Compression) protocol.

This is all part of Microsoft's new focus on Branches - it's noticed that organisations have Branches and that these have Servers - but that giving them their own IT group is a bit expensive. Well, Microsoft may be onto somthing at that.

DFS Replication with RDC, in essence, just replicates deltas and it's quite clever - a customer came on to explain how much bandwidth and time they were saving with the R2 beta, using this feature.

But, hold on, surely most everyone else has replication technology that only replicates changes and has had it for years? Novell's Netware, for instance. Well, getting it into Windows Server too, must be a good thing. I'm just amazed that an enterprise hadn't spotted the issue with replicating whole files long ago.

RDC is optimised for low-bandwidth networks and works with files bigger than 64 kb - but replication only occurs when the file is closed (so I can see people thinking that something is replicated when it isn't, because somene has left it open).

And is RDC an open protocol? Well, if it is, the "Introduction to DFS Replication" article in Technet doesn't say so...

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