The latest Windows 10 Release (1803) brings with it several key new policies to control the Windows Delivery Optimization service.
Just in case you’ve been on a massive vacation in a cave, or just asleep for the last 3 years, here’s what Delivery Optimization (henceforth known as DO) does.

DO is the Windows 10 download, caching and Peer-to-Peer technology that is responsible for handling Windows Store and Windows Update downloads. As announces at MS Ignite – it will eventually handle InTune, Office 365 and ConfigMgr content too. Think of it as the new BranchCache and BITS rolled into one.

As we all know – getting the Peer-to-Peer story right is a tricky one, and the existing DO Policies in Windows 10 only go some way to providing the options and granularity of control that’s required by Enterprise customers in order to cater for every possible scenario out there. This release provides a whole host of new stuff that gives you fantastic options in controlling and tuning DO for any occasion. Here’s the rundown of the new stuff..

You can find the DO policies in the Group Policy Editor under Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Delivery Optimization:

Delay background download from http (in secs):
This is an interesting one – designed to increase the Peer to Peer efficiency (i.e more data from Peers than from Source) It allows you to delay the use of an HTTP source in a background download that is allowed to use P2P. So when the delay timer has been reached, the download will resume using HTTP from the source, either downloading the entire payload or complementing the bytes that could not be downloaded from Peers.

Delay Foreground download from http (in secs):

As above for Foreground downloads, although the description for this one states – Value of 0 equals “unlimited” which means the download will not progress unless a peer source is found. Interesting!

Select a method to restrict peer selection: Previously you had to rely on the ‘Download Mode’ policy to determine where the DO service would source content from other peers – i.e AD Domain, AD Site, LAN etc. Now with this new policy you have a new option. Currently there is only one option here (Subnet) but others will be added as new builds are released. Very useful if you have tons of single subnet sites.

Select the source of group IDs:
You can set this policy to restrict peer selection to a specific source. Options available are: 1 = AD Site, 2 = Authenticated domain SID, 3 = DHCP Option ID, 4 = DNS Suffix.

So – previously you have to set the Group ID to 2 and then set a GUID in order to set the boundary for P2Peer-ing. Using this – you can now automate the whole process, using DHCP for example to set the GUID. If you set this policy, the GroupID policy will be ignored. Also, the options set in this policy only apply to Group (2) download mode.

Set business hours to limit Background Download Bandwidth:  Pretty simple this one – it replicates the ability that you have with BITS somewhat – so you can set certain hours between which bandwidth throttling will apply. Note that this only applies to ‘Background’ downloads. You set a simple schedule – along with a Percentage value. This limits DO to use that percentage of bandwidth during the defined hours. You can also set a second value which applies outside of the scheduled hours.

Set business hours to limit Foreground Download Bandwidth:  Yeah. Like the previous setting but for Foreground jobs! Why would you need separate setting for Back/Foreground jobs? Well Foreground is mostly user based downloads such as Windows Store etc, so you may want to restrict your Background downloads (such as Windows Updates) while keeping the user based stuff going. So you could set the same schedule but a higher bandwidth allocation for Foreground downloads if you wished.

Also of note – The older Maximum Download Percentage – is being deprecated in favour of 2 new policies which give you separate control over Background/Foreground downloads. DO generally is getting better at ‘learning’ what bandwidth is available so these policies will be key in the future.

Summary:

Great progress in this new build. DO is maturing into the de-facto downloading/caching/P2P tech for Windows 10. Get to know these policies – they are your friends! Here at 2Pint we will be incorporating this new functionality into our StifleR product set for even more epic Software Distribution management than was previously thought possible. Yeah!

cheers

Phil 2Pint