Last year we introduced Branch Repeater with Windows Server-- the industry’s first branch-in-a-box. Branch Repeater with Windows Server natively integrates Citrix ICA acceleration, application acceleration and WAN optimization technologies with essential file, print, network and authentication services. Branch Repeater with Windows Server allows you to eliminate dedicated branch office servers and consolidate these services onto an integrated appliance.

The initial version of Branch Repeater with Windows Servers was built on Windows Server 2003R2 -- still the most commonly deployed server OS in branch offices. However, this year Windows Server 2008 adoption will eclipse Windows Server 2003. The release of Branch Repeater 5.5 adds Windows Server 2008 as a new platform choice for Branch Repeater with Windows Server appliances (the 2003R2 version is still available and customers who buy this version will be able to upgrade to 2008 in the future if they have a maintenance agreement).

Just like the 2003R2 version, Branch Repeater with Windows Server 2008 is fully and natively integrated with the Windows Server OS. This means there is a single OS running in the branch office, greatly simplifying remote support and maintenance. Using the provided management pack for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, you can easily and cost-effectively manage all your remote appliances using existing server management tools.

In terms of supported services, Branch Repeater with Windows Server 2008 includes the same core services and the 2003R2 version – file, print, AD, DHCP, DNS, WINS, & DFS. In addition, I want to highlight a new feature available in Windows Server 2008 called Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC).

In the past many people had concerns about running a full DC in a branch office – and for good reason! RODC eliminates these issues by implementing a read-only AD DS database and unidirectional replication. Any changes or corruption that a malicious user might make at branch locations cannot replicate from the RODC to the rest of the forest.

With RODC you can also delegate local administrative permissions for an RODC to any domain user without granting that user any user rights for the domain or other domain controllers. This permits a local branch user to log on to an RODC and perform maintenance work on the server, such as upgrading a driver. However, the branch user cannot log on to any other domain controller or perform any other administrative task in the domain.
With RODC you can securely deploy a DC in any branch location for faster authentication and logon times. Is anyone out there already using RODC in their branches? If so, what are you experiences so far?