Features Overview

StifleR is designed to provide several enhancements to Enterprise-wide Content Distribution.

  • To greatly reduce the volume of WAN traffic transferred from content servers to remote client systems

  • To provide granular monitoring and control over WAN (and LAN) traffic, and to provide administrators with the ability to optimize network utilization, prioritize traffic and effectively control bandwidth usage.

Network Traffic Reduction

Microsoft has embraced Peer to Peer (P2P) technologies as the solution to efficiently disseminate content to millions of managed end points around the globe. As mentioned above, this started with BranchCache. We have since seen the introduction of CM Peer Cache, for the efficient delivery of Configuration Manager content and, most recently, Delivery Optimization (DO) is the default manager for the download and P2P sharing of Windows Updates and Windows Store content between Windows PCs both locally and even on the internet. For more information on these various P2P solutions head over to the 2Pint Software web site and have a dig around. There are all sorts of gems waiting to be uncovered.

StifleR enhances the efficiency of content transfers by utilizing and enhancing this built in Microsoft P2P Service infrastructure including Caching, Data Deduplication and Peer-to-Peer sharing of downloaded content at the local network level. Every endpoint that fetches data from a Peer is saving you WAN link bandwidth and saving you costs both directly in WAN charges and indirectly in workplace efficiency.

StifleR with Microsoft P2P Caching solutions has a profound effect on where users actually source their content and the amount of bandwidth consumed in retrieving that content.

It eliminates unnecessary repeated download of content to many local computers from remote data centres by firstly limiting the number of clients in a remote location that will download required content and secondly by storing an accessible copy of downloaded content in the local computers cache which can then be shared with peer computers immediately or at a later time.

Data-DeDuplication

These caching solutions also work closely with the Data De-duplication feature of Windows Server to ensure that content is only transferred in its Deduplicated form which further greatly reduces the total volume of content that is transferred over your corporate WAN links. Data De-duplication is an extremely powerful Microsoft Server technology that chops up data on a disk into small chunks which can then be compared. If the data contained in a chunk from one file is identical to a chunk in another file then the chunk is only stored once on the disk and the files are now reparse points with metadata and links that point to where the file data is located in the chunk-store. This indexing extends to download data so if a chunk is present in the chunk store it is not downloaded and referenced instead. To give you an idea about how this can help save disk and data traffic, just think about how much data is duplicated across Operating System .wim files! Taking advantage of this technology alone saves Gb’s at a time in disk space and network traffic. StifleR takes advantage of this technology by allowing multilane transfers to take place where the relatively small amount of De-Duplicated data required to complete a download may be allowed, at reduced bandwidth, in the background while another larger download uses the full bandwidth allowance as usual.

Altogether, this results in a significant reduction in bandwidth used allows users to access content much faster than if they were retrieving it from the remote datacentre which means you will have Happy, Productive Users and a Healthy Network.

LEDBAT++

To quench latency and improve the user experience, Windows has implemented a low latency transport protocol called LEDBAT. The LEDBAT algorithm seeks to utilize the available bandwidth on an end-to-end path while limiting the consequent increase in queueing delay on that path. In laymen’s terms, use any available bandwidth without anyone noticing. LEDBAT does this by detecting changes in one-way delay measurements to limit congestion that the calling application itself induces in the network.

Microsoft describes Low Extra Delay Background Transport (LEDBaT).as follows:

" Windows LEDBAT transfers data in the background and does not interfere with other TCP connections. LEDBAT does this by only consuming unused bandwidth. When LEDBAT detects increased latency that indicates other TCP connections are consuming bandwidth it reduces its own consumption to prevent interference. When the latency decreases again LEDBAT ramps up and consumes the unused bandwidth."

LEDBAT has been around for some years now, and most famously used by BitTorrent (in their P2P content transfers) and Apple (in their Software Update infrastructure). Now adopted and enhanced by Microsoft their implementation, LEDBaT++, is a bit of a game changer in the world of Content Delivery and Bandwidth Management. As of Server 2019 this is a fully supported Windows feature and is now also included as a delivery option for Configuration Manager Content. As it is controlled from the delivery side it is not dependent on the client side operating system and is simply enabled on the Distribution Point through a simple check box in much the same was that we saw at the introduction of BranchCache into CM content delivery. It didn’t take long for BranchCache to become automatically enabled for all CM content distribution and we would expect LEDBAT to go the same way.

StifleR has the ability to bandwidth manage LEDBAT aware downloads in much the same way as BITS. For the latest on this technology head on over to the 2Pint Software Support pages or drop us a line directly.

Bandwidth Control

If you can’t control the technology that your Microsoft management infrastructure uses to transfer content around your enterprise, you simply aren’t in control.

StifleR enables easy administration of content transfers to Windows client computers in real time by providing configurable automatic controls over the Microsoft content downloader (BITS/DO etc).

StifleR can automatically pause or re-prioritize content transfer while also dynamically limiting or increasing the amount of Bandwidth used between your content servers and client systems at any Location. This helps to ensure that your business-critical network traffic is not impacted by the dayto-day distribution of the large volume of enterprise content that should ideally move around your network quietly and efficiently every day.

StifleR detects if a client is Roaming, Connected to the corporate network, Connected through VPN, “Well Connected” or simply Home Alone and allows administrators to control settings and maximise bandwidth efficiency in each of these situations.

Stop, Pause, Resume

As StifleR allows for real-time granular control over your downloads, it gives you the ability to immediately STOP, Pause and resume, any or all downloads at the Individual Client, Subnet, Site or Enterprise level through the Dashboards Interface or from the command line. No catches – it is that effective.