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Chapter 8. Internet Information Services 7

Chapter 8. Internet Information Services 7

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nothingelse.YoualsogainthebenefitofIIS7'sextensibility:

it'seasierthanevertowriteacustommodulethatplugs

directlyintotheIIScoretoenablespecialfunctionalityforyour

operation.

Additionally,justabouteverysettingandchoiceinIIS7canbe

configuredfromatextfile.TakinganotherpagefromApache's

playbook,eachsettinginanysiteconfiguredwithinIIScanbe

editeddirectlyfromtheweb.configfile.Asidefromtheobvious

convenience,thisisaboonforfirmsthathostlargeamountsof

websites—it'snowtrivialtodeployanidenticalconfiguration

acrossthousandsofsitesinseconds;youjustcopyweb.config

toeachsiteandyouarefinished.Youcanalsodelegate

administrationofcertainsectionsofweb.configtootherpeople,

sothatabitofcontrolisavailablefor,say,individualsite

ownerswhilenotnecessarilyrequiringeveryonetocontactthe

IISadministratorforanychangestobemade.Versioncontrolis

equallysimple—justmakeseveraldifferentversionsofatext

file,storetheminsomeorganizedfashion,andretrievewhen

necessary.Verycool.

Also,themanagementinterfaceforIIS7hasbeencompletely

redesignedandisnowmoretask-oriented.IISthrowsawaythe

sometimesconfusing,clutteredinterfacethatplaguedIIS4,5,

6,and7andoffersabrand-newconsolelookdesignedto

exposemorefeaturesinamannersensibletotheuserwhile

makingrapid,large-scaleadministrationacrosshundredsor

thousandsofsitesquitesimple.Aswithmosteverythingelse

aboutIIS7,thenewinterfaceisextensibleaswell,soyoucan

createcustomplug-insthatworkdirectlywithintheIIS7

ManagementConsole.

SecurityhasbeencontinuallyenhancedandimprovedinIIS7,

evenoverandabovethatinIIS6.ComparedtoIIS5,which

camewithWindows2000,IIS6waslightyearsaheadinthe

securityarea.(Infact,foryearsIcalledIIS5Swisscheese.)As

webapplicationsproliferateandthepopularityof.NET-based

websitescontinuestoincrease,you'llfindIIStakinganeven



moreprominentroleincorporatenetworks,andsecurityis

moreimportantthanevergiventhatmanyoftheseapplications

processandstoresensitiveinformation.InIIS7,.NET

applicationsarerundirectlywithintheIIScoreitselfandnot

senttotheInternetServicesApplicationProgrammingInterface

(ISAPI)extension.Essentially,the.NETruntimeenvironment

becomesoneasthedistinctionamongASP,.NETcode,andIIS

blurs.Youalsogetthebenefitofformsauthenticationforany

typeofcontent,soyoucanauthenticateagainstadatabasefor

justaboutanypageorpieceofwebcontent,notjust.NET

code.Additionally,theIUSR_machineaccountprevalentin

previousversionsofIIShasbeenreplacedwiththebuilt-in

IUSRaccount,whichcan'tbeusedtologoninteractivelytothe

serverandalsohasidenticalSIDsacrossallmachinesusingthe

sameversionoftheoperatingsystem.Thismeansthatyour

Denypermissionswillworknomatterwhichmachinetheywere

originallycreatedonandappliedto.

FastCGIsupportallowsyoutorunapplicationsbasedon

dynamiclanguagesthatheretoforehavenottraditionallybeen

usedinthecontextofWindows-basedwebserving.This

supporteffectivelymeansyoucanrunPHP,Perl,Ruby,and

otherapplicationsonIIS—andbestofall,you'llgeta

performancebenefit,too,asFastCGIrecyclesprocessesfor

fasterservice.So,nowyoucangettheadvantagesofApache

(modularityandsecurity,primarily),withtheextensiblityof

Windows-basedhosting,allwithouthavingtorewriteyour

businessapplicationsinanIIS-compatiblelanguage.That'sa

bigwinforalotofITshops.

Andfinally,youcanusetheWindowsPowerShelladministration

environmenttoadministerIIS7.WhilePowerShellwillalso

supportadministeringWindowsServer2003machinesrunning

IIS6,IIS7wasdesignedtobemanagedfromthecommand

linewithPowerShell.AlsoincludedisthenewAPPCMDutility,

whichrunsfromthestandardcommandline,andallowsyouto

createandconfiguresites,settings,andmore.APPCMDcanbe

especiallyusefulifyouhavescriptstoprogrammatically



manageyourenvironment.



Chapter8.InternetInformationServices

7

Oneofthemajorbundledapplicationswithanyversionof

WindowsontheserverisInternetInformationServices(IIS).

Andwhatalongroadit'sbeensinceIIS4,inWindowsNT

Server4.0.Theproducthasbeenredesignedwithsecurityin

mind,madecapableofrunningserver-sideapplicationswiththe

helpofMicrosoft's.NETprogramminglanguages,andturned

fromaboutique-styleInternetserverintoaworld-classsetof

codecapableofrunningthemostintenseInternet-facing

applications.

So,whatimprovementswillIIS7,includedintheupcoming

LonghornServer,bringtothetable?Let'stakealookatfive

majorenhancementstoIISandwhattheymeanforyou.



8.1.MajorImprovements

Firstoff,andperhapsmostimportantly,IISiscompletely

modular.Ifyou'refamiliarwiththepopularApachewebserver

software,youknowthatperhapsitsbiggeststrengthisthat

Apachecanrunonabare-bonesinstallation.Youcanconfigure

ittoservejuststaticHTMLandnothingelse,oryoucan

dynamicallyloadmodulesthatenabledifferenttypesofcontent

tobeprocessedandserved.YoucancompileacustomApache

installationthatdoesonlywhatyouwantitto.IIShasnever

reallyhadtheabilitytopickandchoosefromitsfeaturesand

abilities,whichhadtwosignificantdrawbacks:forone,its

performancesomewhatsufferedbecausethecodewasbusy

hostingfeaturesandsupportingcontentthatyoumayhave

neverintendedtouse,andtwo,securitywasaprobleminthat

thesurfaceareaoftheproductwasmadelargerbydefault,

evenifyouhadnouseforsomefeatures.InIIS7,however,

featuresoperatemodularly,inthatyoucanloadtheminany

combinationandwithnodependenciesandreallycreatealean,

meanserverthatdoeswhatyouwantittodoverywell,and



nothingelse.YoualsogainthebenefitofIIS7'sextensibility:

it'seasierthanevertowriteacustommodulethatplugs

directlyintotheIIScoretoenablespecialfunctionalityforyour

operation.

Additionally,justabouteverysettingandchoiceinIIS7canbe

configuredfromatextfile.TakinganotherpagefromApache's

playbook,eachsettinginanysiteconfiguredwithinIIScanbe

editeddirectlyfromtheweb.configfile.Asidefromtheobvious

convenience,thisisaboonforfirmsthathostlargeamountsof

websites—it'snowtrivialtodeployanidenticalconfiguration

acrossthousandsofsitesinseconds;youjustcopyweb.config

toeachsiteandyouarefinished.Youcanalsodelegate

administrationofcertainsectionsofweb.configtootherpeople,

sothatabitofcontrolisavailablefor,say,individualsite

ownerswhilenotnecessarilyrequiringeveryonetocontactthe

IISadministratorforanychangestobemade.Versioncontrolis

equallysimple—justmakeseveraldifferentversionsofatext

file,storetheminsomeorganizedfashion,andretrievewhen

necessary.Verycool.

Also,themanagementinterfaceforIIS7hasbeencompletely

redesignedandisnowmoretask-oriented.IISthrowsawaythe

sometimesconfusing,clutteredinterfacethatplaguedIIS4,5,

6,and7andoffersabrand-newconsolelookdesignedto

exposemorefeaturesinamannersensibletotheuserwhile

makingrapid,large-scaleadministrationacrosshundredsor

thousandsofsitesquitesimple.Aswithmosteverythingelse

aboutIIS7,thenewinterfaceisextensibleaswell,soyoucan

createcustomplug-insthatworkdirectlywithintheIIS7

ManagementConsole.

SecurityhasbeencontinuallyenhancedandimprovedinIIS7,

evenoverandabovethatinIIS6.ComparedtoIIS5,which

camewithWindows2000,IIS6waslightyearsaheadinthe

securityarea.(Infact,foryearsIcalledIIS5Swisscheese.)As

webapplicationsproliferateandthepopularityof.NET-based

websitescontinuestoincrease,you'llfindIIStakinganeven



moreprominentroleincorporatenetworks,andsecurityis

moreimportantthanevergiventhatmanyoftheseapplications

processandstoresensitiveinformation.InIIS7,.NET

applicationsarerundirectlywithintheIIScoreitselfandnot

senttotheInternetServicesApplicationProgrammingInterface

(ISAPI)extension.Essentially,the.NETruntimeenvironment

becomesoneasthedistinctionamongASP,.NETcode,andIIS

blurs.Youalsogetthebenefitofformsauthenticationforany

typeofcontent,soyoucanauthenticateagainstadatabasefor

justaboutanypageorpieceofwebcontent,notjust.NET

code.Additionally,theIUSR_machineaccountprevalentin

previousversionsofIIShasbeenreplacedwiththebuilt-in

IUSRaccount,whichcan'tbeusedtologoninteractivelytothe

serverandalsohasidenticalSIDsacrossallmachinesusingthe

sameversionoftheoperatingsystem.Thismeansthatyour

Denypermissionswillworknomatterwhichmachinetheywere

originallycreatedonandappliedto.

FastCGIsupportallowsyoutorunapplicationsbasedon

dynamiclanguagesthatheretoforehavenottraditionallybeen

usedinthecontextofWindows-basedwebserving.This

supporteffectivelymeansyoucanrunPHP,Perl,Ruby,and

otherapplicationsonIIS—andbestofall,you'llgeta

performancebenefit,too,asFastCGIrecyclesprocessesfor

fasterservice.So,nowyoucangettheadvantagesofApache

(modularityandsecurity,primarily),withtheextensiblityof

Windows-basedhosting,allwithouthavingtorewriteyour

businessapplicationsinanIIS-compatiblelanguage.That'sa

bigwinforalotofITshops.

Andfinally,youcanusetheWindowsPowerShelladministration

environmenttoadministerIIS7.WhilePowerShellwillalso

supportadministeringWindowsServer2003machinesrunning

IIS6,IIS7wasdesignedtobemanagedfromthecommand

linewithPowerShell.AlsoincludedisthenewAPPCMDutility,

whichrunsfromthestandardcommandline,andallowsyouto

createandconfiguresites,settings,andmore.APPCMDcanbe

especiallyusefulifyouhavescriptstoprogrammatically



manageyourenvironment.



8.2.TheNewArchitecture

Modularityisthekeywordandwastheultimatedesignconcept

surroundingthecompleteredevelopmentoftherequest

processingpipelineinIIS7.

Thereare40differentmodulesthatmakeupthefeaturesetof

IIS,dividedintoeightcategories.Thesemodulesare

individuallylistedhere,soyoucanseehowdifferentmodules

makeupthefunctionalstackthatisIIS7.

CommonHTTPWebServerComponents

StaticFileModule

DefaultDocumentModule

DirectoryListingModule

HttpRedirect

CustomErrorModule



WindowsProcessActivationService

ProcessModel

NetFxEnvironment

ConfigurationAPI



Security

BasicAuthModule

DigestAuthModule

WindowsAuthModule



CertificateAuthModule

AnonymousAuthModule

IPSecurityModule

UrlAuthorizationModule

RequestFilteringModule



HealthandDiagnostics

HttpLoggingModule

CustomLoggingModule

RequestMonitorModule

HTTPTracingModule

ODBCLogging

LoggingLibraries



Performance

HTTPStaticCompression

HTTPDynamicCompression



Management

ManagementConsole

ManagementScripting

ManagementService



Metabase

WMICompatibility

LegacyScripts

LegacySnap-in



ApplicationDevelopment

NetFxExtensibility

ISAPIModule

ISAPIFilterModule

CGIModule

ServerSideIncludeModule

ASP

ASP.NET



FTPPublishing

FTPServer

FTPManagement



8.2.1.New:TheWindowsProcessActivation

Service

AllinstallationsofIIS7requireaservicenewtoWindows

Server2008,knownastheWindowsProcessActivationService,

orWPAS.WPASessentiallymaintainsandadministersall

workerprocessesandapplicationpoolsforIISonanygiven

machine,listeningfornewrequestsandeitherassigningthem



toexistingprocessesorstartingnewworkprocessesand

marshallingtherequesttothatprocess.WPASalsoactsasa

clearinghouseforconfigurationinformationforsites,application

pools,andoverarchingwebapplicationsrunningonthe

machine.



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