What's New

When IIS was originally introduced, Web sites were fairly insignificant. Although Microsoft and others expected you to use IIS for Web serving, the reality was that it wasn't seen as the primary purpose of the underlying OS or IIS as a whole.

Obviously things changed fairly rapidly?between the release of Windows 2000 Server products and Windows Server 2003, the number, range, and pervasiveness of Web sites is significant. It's getting difficult to find companies that aren't represented on the Internet, rather than the other way around.

But if we have more Web sites, we need some way of managing them. IIS Manager (formerly Internet Services Manager) remains the primary interface to managing sites, but IIS Manager is not always available, accessible, or useful.

There are four major changes in the area of Web site administration?the use of an XML Metabase the most significant. The remaining three changes are the new Web-based administration system, the extension of the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and a more extensive suite of command-line tools.

Previous versions of IIS have used a binary configuration file?the Metabase?to store all their information. This could be easily backed up and copied to other machines but not edited. IIS 6 allows you to edit the configuration of IIS by modifying the appropriate XML, even while IIS is actually running. In fact, some features can only be enabled by modifying the Metabase directly.

The other management enhancements are also designed to make it easier to manage the system both remotely and when the system is part of a larger array of Windows Server 2003 computers serving a range of sites. We'll be looking at these additional administration systems in this chapter, starting with the XML Metabase.

Some changes might not be seen as improvements, though. On the management side, one of the most fundamental changes is the removal of the Web administrators group?you must now be a full administrator (or a member of the administrators group) to control IIS. The reason for this is that IIS 6 is seen as an application server with the potential, through malicious or careless use, to open up your machine to attack.

The last section in this chapter looks at the improvements to the logging system. Logs can provide a surprisingly useful range of information for more than just marketing to produce visitor counts. They can, however, be relatively resource hungry because it takes a small amount of time to collate and write the log information, not to mention the fact that the logs can physically take up a lot of storage space. IIS 6 makes a number of improvements here through some extensions to the core logging types and a brand new binary log format.