I have been looking for a way to Replicate an Office based SharePoint 2010 server over WAN to two remote location. These remote location are connected to the internet via rather slow V-SAT connection and they are sometimes without internet for few hours/days.
I gave server-to-server/server-to-laptop from iOra a good look and although these are very good and robust solution, they are nowhere near the budget I have for this job. iOra doesn’t publish the prices on their website, I was told that the prices ranges from $25k for the first server and goes down per server license you add.
After sitting down with department heads, I analyzed the subsidiaries needs. I pointed out that a full blown replica might be waste of money because all the remote workers needed was a 24/7 online/offline access to the documents libraries.
This is available and FREE if you have Office 2010 PLUS via the SharePoint Workspace 2010. Now I could say that the remote workers no longer use the SharePoint Server unless via Workspace.
It “downloads” the document libraries from the sites you want and when they are working they just set the Workspace to offline and edit/upload what they need and then set the Workspace to online again. Then the Workspace automatically connects to the SharePoint server again and starts to upload/download the changes done.
Its not Rocket science, it just works
To make their web/document experience better/faster I also enabled the BranceCache on one of the onsite Windows Server 2008 R2 Servers. This feature can be used on a server hosting other roles like File/Print etc…
I have never tried BranchCache before but this is a new feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 that caches content from file and web servers on a wide area network (WAN) locally at a branch office. After enabling BranchCache and configuring the a GPO I could increase overall network responsiveness of centralized applications when accessed from remote offices, giving users in those offices the experience of working locally, giving the users similar experience like to 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.
Here you can see BranceCache in action