Internet standards refer to the Internet protocol support provided by an Internet services implementation. A complete connectivity solution should provide, at minimum, support for all major Internet services protocols, including:
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP).
Network News Transport Protocol (NNTP).
Additionally, many recent developments in Internet technology have resulted in the support of three enhancing protocols, all of which should be supported by an up-to-date Internet services implementation:
WebDAV is the IETF’s proposed extension to the HTTP 1.1 protocol to provide a Web-based protocol for file management and publishing.
FTP Restart allows interrupted FTP transfers to be resumed without having to start from scratch.
HTTP Compression caches and compresses static pages and provides on-the-fly compression of dynamic files to help reduce download time and improve performance for end-users.
Sun WebServer 2.1 and Solstice Internet Mail Server 1.0 are included with Solaris 7. Together with native FTP and Telnet servers, these products represent a complete Internet service offering that in some aspects exceeds the offering in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.
Sun WebServer 2.1 provides a solid HTTP service implementation and complete support for HTTP 1.1. WebServer 2.1 features an improved Web-based administration tool and administration wizards to help configure users, sites and servers. However, these tools aren’t as easy to use as those in Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000. The HTTP service supports SSL encryption, Basic Authentication, access control lists at the file/directory level and domain-level restrictions. Domain-based virtual server hosting offers a flexible, scalable solution.
Solstice Internet Mail Server 1.0 offers the most complete mail service of the three network operating systems. This is a complete mail server solution, supporting SMTP IMAP4, POP3 and MIME. Messages can be sent securely using SSL encryption. Messages can also have email attachments. Solstice Internet Mail Server is also a completely scalable mail solution.
Native Telnet and FTP services are an important part of Solaris 7. With Telnet, users can connect to remote computers and execute commands at the command-line. With FTP, users can connect to remote computers to upload or download files. Solaris 7 supports both anonymous and user account-authenticated FTP services. User account authentication, along with file permissions, serves to control access to files and directories.
Solaris 7 provides support for WebNFS, which is a standard for accessing Web-based information. In some respects, WebNFS is similar to WebDAV. WebNFS was discussed previously under File Sharing and Storage Services. WebDAV is discussed later under Content Management.
Windows NT Server 4.0 Implementation Details
Included in the Windows NT Option Pack, available as an add-on for Windows NT Server 4.0, is Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0. IIS 4.0 is Microsoft’s fourth-generation Internet services implementation and comes integrated with HTTP (Web), FTP, SMTP, and NNTP services. Details are as follows:
HTTP Service Implementation – IIS 4.0 provides a comprehensive HTTP service offering more features than that found in the Sun WebServer 2.1 shipped with Solaris 7. Both the HTTP 1.0 and 1.1 protocols are supported, providing simultaneously for maximum compatibility and performance.
FTP Service Implementation – With regard to the FTP service shipped with IIS 4.0, both anonymous and user account-authenticated FTP is fully supported. User account authentication, along with file permissions, is based on Windows NT Server 4.0 domain or local account databases, providing complete OS security model integration. Additionally, up to 255 virtual FTP servers, each maintaining its own configuration information can be created on each IIS server.
SMTP Service Implementation – As mentioned previously, an SMTP service implementation is included with IIS 4.0 for integration with Internet email solutions. Mail support for both local and remote domains is provided along with full SMTP relaying capabilities. A smart host feature is also included to allow for SMTP routing and forwarding to other Internet mail servers. The SMTP service also supports SSL encryption – both 40-bit standard and 128-bit strong encryption – allowing for the secure transmission of messages between clients and the IIS server.
NNTP Service Implementation – An NNTP service implementation provides USENET news connectivity. With the NNTP service, a complete article expiration facility is provided to purge old messages. Integration with the SMTP service is also present to allow for moderated newsgroup postings, giving administrators control over the content posted to the server. As with the SMTP service, SSL encryption at both 40-bit standard and 128-bit strong encryption is supported, providing for secure transmission of information between clients and the IIS server. Access to the server can be restricted on a per account, TCP/IP address, or DNS domain basis in a manner similar to that featured on the other IIS services.
Windows 2000 Server provides a comprehensive and fully integrated Web service solution. IIS 5.0 includes all features and capabilities in the IIS 4.0 plus many enhancements.
The major enhancement to Windows 2000 Server in the area of Internet Standards is support for WebDAV (discussed below under content management) and the addition of Digest authentication (discussed below under Internet Security). Other improvements include:
HTTP Compression, which provides integration of the industry-standard HTTP compression protocol. It compresses and caches static files and optionally dynamically generated files. This provides faster transmission of pages between the Web server and compression-enabled clients such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and 5.0.
FTP Restart, which allows the resumption of interrupted FTP file transfers between a client and an IIS 5.0 FTP server. This provides a smoother and less time consuming approach to all users downloading information from IIS 5.0.
Internet Standards Support Summary
Windows 2000 Server provides a comprehensive set of Internet standard protocols, including – HTTP 1.1 and FTP compliant services, HTTP Compression, FTP Restart, SMTP, NNTP, and especially the recently IETF-ratified WebDAV standard.
Shipped with the Windows NT Option Pack for Windows NT Server 4.0, Microsoft IIS 4.0 provides a complete Internet server solution. However, Windows 2000 Server provides additional standards such as HTTP Compression, FTP Restart, and WebDAV.
Solaris 7 Internet services implementation with Sun WebServer 2.1 and the native FTP Server provides support for all basic Internet standards with the exception of the recently proposed WebDAV. While the product does not include an NNTP server, Solaris 7’s Solstice Internet Mail Server does support IMAP4, POP3 and MIME, which aren’t supported by Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000.