Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 provides many exciting new features and improvements, but arguably the most vital improvement occurs in the OS's implementation of Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. Unfortunately, you can't install IIS 6.0 on any prior version of Windows, so you must be running Win.NET Server to take advantage of these top 10 IIS improvements.
10. Performance—According to Microsoft estimates, on dual-processor systems, IIS 6.0 offers performance that's 50 percent faster than the performance of the IIS 5.0 processor that ships with Windows 2000. On four-processor machines, performance increases by 150 percent.
9. New response cache architecture—One of the most fundamental changes in IIS 6.0 is the adoption of a new internal-response cache architecture. IIS 5.0 supports one request queue, so a blocked queue affects the entire server's availability. IIS 6.0 supports multiple request queues, making IIS 6.0 more reliable and scalable than IIS 5.0. Microsoft’s redesign also moves the response queue into the http.sys kernel-mode driver (which processes incoming requests). This move lets IIS 6.0 respond to requests without a transition to user mode. The result is substantial performance and reliability gains.
8. Application isolation—IIS 6.0 permits the implementation of each application independently, as separate worker processes. Each worker process supports its own Internet Server API (ISAPI) extensions and filters that communicate directly with the http.sys kernel, thereby ensuring that each process runs within its own memory boundary without affecting other applications.
7. Support for Web gardens—New to IIS 6.0, a Web garden is a concept wherein more than one worker process can serve the same pool of applications. You can configure the Web garden to assign processes to specific CPUs in a multiprocessor system. If one worker process has a problem, the other worker processes can continue to provide content to incoming requests.
6. Automatic application recycling—IIS 6.0 can automatically, based on several factors, stop and restart Web applications. Determining factors include application uptime, number of hits, the amount of memory an application uses, and a scheduled time that you determine. Microsoft added this feature in the interest of improved reliability.
5. Web-based administration—In addition to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that IIS 5.0 offers, IIS 6.0 provides a Web-based administration tool. You can use this tool to create a virtual directory and assign application settings.
4. Better programmatic administration—IIS 6.0 provides a new scriptable Windows Management instrumentation (WMI) provider that uses syntax similar to that of Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI). In addition, IIS 6.0 provides several command-line scripts to start and stop a site, as well as to back up and restore the metabase.
3. Support for the Microsoft .NET Framework—Taking advantage of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) that Win.NET Server supplies, IIS 6.0 supports ASP.NET applications and the latest Web standards, including XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). However, ASP.NET is not installed or enabled by default.
2. XML-based metabase—A welcome improvement in IIS 6.0 is that it changes the IIS 5.0 binary metabase to a new XML-based format. The new metabase doesn’t require special editing tools, and you can use any text editor to update it. Better yet, you can make changes to the metabase on the fly while IIS is running. The new metabase also supports versioning and backup.
1. Security overhaul—If you consider the tsunami of security exposures that users have reported in IIS 5.0, an IIS 6.0 security overhaul comes as no surprise. IIS 6.0 finally favors security over usability. Win.NET Server doesn't even install IIS 6.0 by default. When you install IIS 6.0, the software is restricted to serving up only static HTML pages. You must use the security tool to specifically enable all additional functionality. Other security enhancements include running IIS 6.0 as a low-privileged account and providing stronger ACLs.