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IIS 5 and Windows 2000 Server - Should I Upgrade?

By Satish Jakka, ISP Network Specialist, Microsoft Corporation

February 2000

satish1

It is quite common that one finds the need to upgrade to the latest release of an application that one uses on a daily basis. It is important to understand what the necessities and the business implications are before one invests time and money to upgrade. In my conversations over the last six months with several Internet Service Providers who offer Hosting on the Windows Platform, I have become accustomed to the question: "What are the advantages to upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 with Internet Information Server (IIS) 4 to Windows 2000 IIS 5?" To answer this it is necessary to explore the feature sets available in IIS 5 on Windows 2000 Server.

Features. Application Protection: IIS 4 provides two modes of operation, In-Process where the applications run in the same memory space as Web Services (Inetinfo.exe), or Out of Process (Isolated Process) where the applications are executed in a separate memory space. In-Process provides the fastest performance while the Isolated process mode provides maximum protection. With IIS 5 there is a new mode available that provides the fastest performance without sacrificing application protection. This mode is called Pooled Process. In this mode, Web services (Inetinfo.exe) and critical applications run in their own memory space, while the rest of the applications run in pooled process as shown in Figure 1.

Bb742418.satish4(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Figure 1: Pooled Process

CPU Throttling (Process Throttling). IIS 5 has a new powerful feature that can be used to control the amount of CPU time used to service a Web site. With this feature, one can guarantee that CPU time is available to all the sites hosted on the same server. By default, the sampling time for determining the CPU time usage is over a period of 24 hrs. However, the sampling time could be set to one's own requirements.

E.g.: mdutil enum /w3svc mdutil enum /w3svc

CpuResetInterval: [IS] (DWORD) 0x5a0={1440} CpuLoggingInterval: [IS] (DWORD) 0x3c={60}

CpuResetInterval: Specifies accounting interval. Thus, if one wants 1440 (24*60minutes), then the latter equals 10% of CPU time, which means 144 from 24 hours (1440 minutes).

CpuLoggingInterval: How frequently information is logged about CPU time in IIS5 log files.

Delegated Administration. Active Directory is the mechanism used to store and manage resources in Windows 2000. IIS's native integration with Active Directory makes it possible to give granular control of a website to the customer. This concept, makes both the hosting company and the customer happy as the responsibilities of basic management of the Web site is moved from the hosting provider to the customer.

Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV). WebDAV is an extension of HTTP 1.1 standard. WebDAV gives one the ability to share documents over Internet or intranet using built in Versioning capability. Windows authentication is the security mechanism used to control access to such documents.

Security. IIS 5 completely supports U.S Government security standard "Fortezza" architecture. IIS 5 also supports SSL 3.0 and TLS (Transport Layer Security). Security can now be set through Group Policies, which gives you very good control and consistency across your systems.

Permission Wizards. One always had to double check to see if the permissions set on a Web site were correct, because the task of setting permissions was manual. With IIS 5 one can set permissions to a Web site by walking through a wizard. IIS comes with a Public Web Site wizard and Secure Web Site wizard.

Active Server Pages (ASP). ASP has been enhanced to provide new capabilities like Flow Control, ASP Self Tuning, Scriptless ASP, Error Handling, Browser Capabilities Component, and Encoded ASP Scripts.

Scalability. IIS 5 scales far better than IIS 4. Dell and Microsoft performed extensive scalability tests of IIS 5 at the Microsoft Partner Solution Center ( http://www.microsoft.com/ISN/working_ms/mpsc.asp ). The results are compelling as shown in the following table.

Dell Server

Processor

Mem

Storge Subsystem

Raid Level

Total Site

Results

2450

1 - PIII
667mhz

64mb

PV650F Fibre Chan.

RAID0

900

11 resp/sec

2300

2 - PIII
600mhz

1 Gig

PV650F Fibre Chan.

RAID0

4000

256* resp/sec

4350

2 - PIII
600mhz

2 Gig

PV650F Fibre Chan.

RAID0

4000

201 resp/sec

6350

4 - Xeon
550mhz

2 Gig

PV650F Fibre Chan.

RAID0

4000

228 resp/sec

8450

8 - Xeon
550mhz

4 Gig

PV650F Fibre Chan.

RAID0

4000

417 resp/sec

Benefits of Upgrading: The three main benefits of upgrading to IIS 5 are: Management overhead is greatly reduced, greater scalability, and consistent security throughout your environment. Please refer to the following sites for more information: Microsoft TechNet ( http://www.microsoft.com/technet ) , Microsoft Windows 2000 ( http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000 ) , and MSDN Online ( http://msdn.microsoft.com ). And here are a few specific articles of interest in Microsoft TechNet: Internet Information Services 5.0 Technical Overview , and "Migrating a Web Server to IIS 5.0: Basic Steps".

So, Should I Upgrade? It is clearly evident how IIS 5 gives the ability to provide greater customer satisfaction by guaranteeing performance of a Web site through using its capabilities like CPU throttling and Bandwidth throttling. Also, the Pooled Process mode of Web site operation makes it possible to provide fast server performance without sacrificing application protection. Since IIS 5 scales better than IIS 4, Hosting Providers can now host more sites per server. It is easy to see how the upgrade to IIS 5 justifies both business needs and technical needs.

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