Windows Web Solutions UPDATE, May 20, 2003

Windows Web Solutions UPDATE, May 20, 2003


Windows Web Solutions UPDATE--brought to you by Windows Web Solutions, the Windows & .NET Magazine print newsletter with tools and solutions for managing your Web site.



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May 20, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - IIS 6.0: Designed for Speed and Fault Tolerance

2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS - Disable Friendly HTTP Error Messages - Results from Last Issue's Instant Poll: Performance Metrics - This Issue's Instant Poll: Server Hardware

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Get Windows 2003 Active Directory Answers in a New eBook! - Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business

4. RESOURCE - Featured Thread: Automating a Redirect Web Page

5. EVENT - Security 2003 Road Show

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Analyze User Traffic on Your Site - Submit Top Product Ideas

7. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.




(contributed by Tim Huckaby, [email protected])

* IIS 6.0: DESIGNED FOR SPEED AND FAULT TOLERANCE In my May 6 commentary ( ), I wrote about the impressive performance improvements in IIS 6.0 over previous versions and reported the results of independent performance tests. With IIS 6.0 now shipping and making its way to production environments, I want to cover IIS 6.0's architecture and look in more detail at its performance, scalability, and availability (i.e., fault tolerance) features.

Microsoft completely rewrote IIS 6.0 from the ground up. Undertaking a complete rewrite is unusual for Microsoft. But when the company completed its analysis, proofs of concepts, and prototypes in the design phase a few years ago, Microsoft determined that rewriting the software would be well worth the time and effort. That effort paid off. The architecture of IIS 6.0 consists of a combination of kernel-mode processes, user-mode processes, and Windows services. Four individual core components differentiate IIS 6.0 from its predecessors: - The IIS Admin Service--The IIS Admin Service is a Windows NT service that manages IIS's nonWeb server-related protocols (FTP, SMTP, Network News Transfer Protocol--NNTP--and the IIS metabase). - The Kernel Mode HTTP Listener--Named Http.sys, this HTTP stack is implemented as a kernel-mode device driver. Although Http.sys is part of the Windows Server 2003 OS, Microsoft leverages it as a core component of IIS 6.0. Http.sys services HTTP requests, manages TCP connections and IIS logging services, and implements Quality of Service (QoS) functionality and other services. - Worker Processes--The request processor typically functions by returning a static page, invoking an Internet Server API (ISAPI) extension or filter, or running a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) handler. Physically implemented as W3wp.exe, the worker processes also run application code, such as ASP.NET applications. - The Web Administration Service (WAS)--The WAS is responsible for configuration and process management in IIS. In its configuration role, WAS interacts with the metabase to obtain the configuration data that is either passed into Http.sys or used when managing a worker process. In its management role, WAS manages the worker processes, which includes starting the worker processes and maintaining information about worker processes that are running.

So, what does all this mean? In what Microsoft calls IIS 5.0 Isolation Mode, IIS 6.0 is architecturally and functionally compatible with IIS 5.0. But more interesting is worker process isolation mode, which is the default mode of operation. Worker process isolation mode takes advantage of the redesigned architecture of IIS 6.0. Worker process isolation mode leverages all the new IIS 6.0 core components and results in increased isolation, reliability, availability, and performance. The use of worker process isolation mode enables the application pooling, recycling, and health-detection features.

Depending on how you configure IIS 6.0, you can potentially have multiple instances of the worker processes running and serving different Web applications concurrently. IIS 6.0's design separates applications by process boundaries, resulting in maximum Web server reliability. In worker process isolation mode, application-specific code (e.g., ASP and ASP.NET applications) is loaded into only the worker process, which makes IIS highly reliable because WAS, the IIS Admin Service, and Http.sys remain up and running despite any service interruptions that might occur in a worker process.

Web sites running in worker processes also aren't affected by failures in other worker processes because the sites are isolated from each other by process boundaries. A programmer error can't take an entire IIS 6.0 Web server down as could happen in IIS 5.0 and earlier versions. Here's how the process works internally: When a Web site is created in IIS 6.0, it's registered with Http.sys to receive HTTP requests. Http.sys then works as a router and sends received Web requests to the user mode process in the Web site that's running the application. Http.sys also delivers responses to the client. Because Http.sys only routes requests and doesn't process them (other than retrieving a stored response from its internal cache), no developer-created application-specific code is ever loaded into kernel mode, so you don't have to worry that a possible coding error will affect the kernel and lead to a system failure or blue screen. IIS 6.0 is thereby fault tolerant.

IIS 6.0 really isn't the 6th version of IIS to ship from Microsoft. Rather, it's the first version of Microsoft's first enterprise Web server. IIS 6.0 has become an application server that provides incredible performance, scalability, and availability.




* DISABLE FRIENDLY HTTP ERROR MESSAGES Question: When my Web applications produce an error, the client often sees only the generic HTTP 500 error without any supporting details. This lack of detail makes troubleshooting difficult. Telling users to disable "Show friendly HTTP error messages" in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) works, but doing so is difficult to manage on a client-by-client basis. What can I do on the server side to change this IE setting? For the answer, click the following link:

* RESULTS FROM LAST ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: PERFORMANCE METRICS The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions channel's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Will Windows Server 2003's performance metrics influence your company's decision to migrate?" Here are the results from the 28 responses: - 43% Yes - 57% No

* THIS ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: SERVER HARDWARE The next Instant Poll question is, "Which server does your company most commonly use?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions home page and submit your vote for a) HP/Compaq, b) Dell, c) IBM, d) Unisys, or e) Other.



(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* GET WINDOWS 2003 ACTIVE DIRECTORY ANSWERS IN A NEW EBOOK! The first chapter of Windows & .NET Magazine's latest eBook, "Windows 2003: Active Directory Administration Essentials," is now available at no charge! Chapter 1 delves into Windows Server 2003 and focuses on what's new and improved with Active Directory. Expert Jeremy Moskowitz discusses which AD features might be important to you (and why). Download it now!

* GUIDE TO SECURING YOUR WEB SITE FOR BUSINESS Download VeriSign's new whitepaper, "Guide to Securing Your Web Site For Business," and discover the practical business benefits of securing your Web site. You'll also learn more about the innovative processes and technologies VeriSign uses to address Internet security issues. Download your free copy now!



* FEATURED THREAD: AUTOMATING A REDIRECT WEB PAGE Forum member Nick currently has his company's intranet page locked down by Microsoft Internet Explorer Administration Kit 5.5. He wants to direct some users to go to a Web page upon startup. Nick wants to know if it's possible to have more than 1000 users automatically go to a Web page that's redirected to another page without requiring much user intervention. To lend Nick a helping hand, click the following URL:



(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

* SECURITY 2003 ROAD SHOW Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event.



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* ANALYZE USER TRAFFIC ON YOUR SITE Abacre announced Advanced Log Analyzer 1.4, software to analyze your Web site's activity. Optimized for analysis of log files larger than 1GB, Advanced Log Analyzer lets you automate statistics gathering for your Web site to report production and distribution. The software offers traditional and nontraditional reports. The software can recreate visitor paths from log files, make a Web model of the site, and visualize user traffic flow through the site. Available in six languages, Advanced Log Analyzer 1.4 runs on Windows XP/2000//NT/Me/9x. Pricing is $129 for the Professional version. To contact Abacre, which is based in France, go to the company's Web site.

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]



Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)


* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]




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