Windows 7 is excellent on it’s own, full of great new features, but when combined with Windows Server 2008 R2-it really comes in to it’s own. Things such as Direct Access, Branch Cache and Network Access Protection help make things easier, faster, more secure and better than ever before!
Direct Access is Microsoft’s answer to the pain that is VPN’s. They are often tricky to set up, tricky to use with failed connections etc and can waste a lot of time and money in helpdesk calls and lost productivity; so this is where Direct Access comes in. Once PC’s have connected to the corporate network once, they’ll be able to do it anytime, from anywhere:
This means users will receive the latest updates wherever they log on…home, the airport, a hotel-anywhere! Making mobile working a more secure propostion for users and admins…
For more details, see my dedicated post here and there is a great Solution Design Technet article here.
This new feature is designed for remote office and works by caching information on local servers rather than retrieving it from HQ each time. I’ve just seen that the information can be cached on client computers and this is knows as “distributed cache mode”.This decreases network traffic and, at the same time, helps increase users productivity.
Branch cache retention policies can be set by IT be it based on cache size, length of time cached etc. Technet has a great Early Adopters guide that’s full of information and can be found here.
To benefit from all these features, you need to run both Windows 7 AND Windows Server 2008 R2: