During the opening keynote for Tech•Ed 2007 SVP Bob Muglia of Server and Tools at Microsoft outlined the company's strategy for something he dubbed "Dynamic IT."
Dynamic IT suggests a more holistic approach to helping end users lower cost and increase the value of IT as well. It involves a blending of both new media on the Web, and the consumer world, which pretty much boil down to one common denominator: the customer experience. All this fancy-talk set the stage for the introduction of Internet Information Services 7.0, the new hype in Web hosting and application/services development solutions. This kind and gentle response to IT and consumer needs was just added to the Server Core installation option of Microsoft Windows Server 2008.
Born in the heat of feebback both positive and negative between customers and partners of Microsoft, IIS7 "represents a great leap forward" -- a humble gesture from a Goliathan company that isn't known for its penchant for compromise.
IIS7 bestows end users with a modular, extensible Web server and expanded application hosting. It also boasts strong compatibility and streamlined infrastructure management. All this, on top of Server Core.
For those who've been burned once too many, Microsoft enabled users to try IIS7 by downloading Windows Server '08 Beta 3 and deploying it under their Go Live license. This gesture was made at no charge and frees a number of users to put the Windows Server 2008 beta into production before the actual, official release.
The revolutionary IIS7 is also deceptively simple, boasting few new services and applications. This is attributed to Microsoft's desire to make it as useful as possible, sans frilly pink bows. Off the bat, a major benefit to this decision is fewer maintenance instances and updates, because there aren't as many features to manage.
IIS7 operates on a distributed, file-based configuration model, empowering admins to xcopy and deploy sites and applications onto their servers. They can also delegate management tasks to site owners.
A more intuitive GUI also joins IIS over HTTP, in addition to a .NET management API supercharged with Windows PowerShell.
The inclusion of FastCGI lends scalable hosting to a wider range of apps, including PHP -- which, incidentally, runs 10-20 times faster on IIS7 (that's the word on the street, anyway). Deep integration of the .NET Framework also means that developers can use it to extend or customize any part of IIS7's modular architecture.
And bootstrappers will be pleased to learn IIS7 is simply less expensive. This is because of what Microsoft calls "significant gains in security, reliability and scalability" -- none of which are bad things. The more than 40 separately installable components that comprise IIS7 reduce attack surface, memory overhead and patching footprint. It also sandboxes applications automatically.
Moving forward, an IIS7 publishing pack is slated for sometime in the future. This will include solutions to issues customers are facing around FTP and WebDAV. Check out Microsoft Internet Information Services 7.0 here. For once, it's been deployed early instead of late. Hey, maybe there is a God.