So whats really new With IIS 7, Well it has more upgraded features from its pre-predecessor IIS 6 , ASP.net is now integrated directly in IIS 7 and its performance has been improved.
Integrated Pipeline Mode in IIS 7 allows you to integrate your own code as a module in the IIS pipeline. You can develop your own IIS module with managed code and allow it to act as part of the pipeline.
IIS 7 ships with approximately 40 modules.
IIS 7 introduces a modular approach that allows you to only load the modules required for your configuration.
No more meta-base in IIS 7 unless you are using IIS 6 compatibility. IIS 7 doesn’t use meta-base, it now stores configurations in XML config files which can be edited very easily.
The applicationhost.config and the web.config xml files control the IIS 7 configuration.
A new remote management service exists that allows you to administer remote IIS 7 installations over https.
A new IIS manager user interface exists with IIS 7.
An IIS command line utility called AppCmd.exe allows you to work with IIS from the command line.
The above points that i have mentioned are just a quick review of the changes with IIS 7 over its pre-decessor IIS6. Well to explain more about this deeply there’s a quite lot to talk about.
In the below article we will concentrate on the major changes, achievements and challenges of IIS7.
In IIS 7, Microsoft has introduced a whole new approach called modular architecture, what does it mean? So, let’s get things more clear. Basically, IIS7 gives you an advantage to customize your web server that means you can add or remove modules as per your requirements. Confused which modules are we talking about? These modules are individual features that are used by the server to process request and helps to improvise the performance as well as reduce attacks. For better understanding, these modules are categorised into 8 sub categories (Refer fig 1):
Fig 1: IIS 7.0 modules are classified into eight functional areas
Web server management
Now we have seen the architecture so let’s understand IIS 7 from management point of view. The easiest, flexible and reliable way to manage you server can be obtained through graphical user interface. IIS7 has simplified the design for better understanding and management. Using which administrative tasks can be performed on just one click via control panel called IIS Manager .
Additionally, for the simplicity , user interface on IIS Manager is broken into three panels or panes. The left pane shows connections whereas the right one shows action and the centre one , the most important known as the task pane. This task pane for administrative purpose is further broken down and carefully grouped as IIS, management and security. And above, the tiny icons in the task pane are clear and has it’s unique properties that offers administrators and user’s an easy way to detect and put into use.
There are more or less people who are more comfortable using command line. For them, IIS has built a powerful tool to perform the simple administrative tasks like stopping of website, checking or backing .config files and many more complex tasks .This command line utility is named as APPCMD.exe
Integrated request pipeline
We browse the web then request for a web page , what happens next ? the page is served . Every time a page is served a set of linear steps occurs at the backend that involves authentication, authorization, use of execution handler to handle the content request and logging of the necessary details before sending a response. These linear steps when put together is called integrated request pipeline.
For example, every website has it’s own integrated requested pipeline . IIS7 gives you a functionality to add your own custom code as a module in the pipeline.
These integrated pipelines run in two mode either Integrated or Classic. By default the mode is integrated but classic mode has very interestingly introduced ISAPI functionality of IIS6.0 which is helpful and essential when migrating applications to IIS 7.0.
Fig 2: Integrated Pipeline and modules.
Not to forget the well-known Asp.net is integrated in new IIS7. Form authentication has been a part of Asp.net and IIS7 supports as well as protect the access to all types of content.
Built in FastCGI
Microsoft has incorporated FastCGI to support dynamic languages on web server such as PHP and PERL on IIS7 in order to increase reliability and most importantly boosts performance.
Use of XML files.
The well–known metabase used in IIS6 has been deprecated in IIS7 . Microsoft has come up with a new configuration system that is based purely on .NET’s *.config XML files.
FTP Publishing service
IIS 7 has introduced an attention-grabbing and the most beneficial feature for the web content creator’s. This interesting feature helps the web creator to publish their own contents securely over network by means of FTP publishing. By shielding user’s sensitive data during transfer over SSL authentication with the support of Internet standards such as IPv6 and UTF8.
Additionally, FTP service is advantageous for Hoster’s as well as Web administrators because it provides a single environment with an integrated management and configuration experience for managing both FTP and websites through IIS Manager.
IIS7 allow FTP to host multiple FTP sites on the same IP using virtual host and isolate user through per-user virtual directories.
Looking from security point of view, FTP now use enhanced event logging technique to keep a close watch on FTP traffic in order to track any unusual FTP activities.
New features that are introduced or modified in IIS 7 has been discussed now. Upon this discussion, we would like to close this article on a very good note. The web hosting providers will be able to provide reliable services as well as IIS7 whenever used by system administrator/web hosting providers or customers will surely notice the improved performance and upgraded security.
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