A robust Internet services management infrastructure is essential to deploying Internet-enabled technologies throughout an organization. A good Internet services implementation should offer centralized management and a user-friendly interface. Feature-sets should include the following:
Locally executed administration tools.
Browser-based administration tools for administrators working remotely.
Command-line scriptable administration APIs to develop customized management solutions.
Centralized administration for all Internet services.
Ease-of-use tools to help automate difficult configuration tasks.
Internet services administration is provided through separate tools. For example, HTTP services are managed through the Sun WebServer Administration Console running on a server configured as an administration server. The Sun WebServer Administration Console is a browser-based administration tool that is implemented as a separate HTTP service running on the Web server. The administration service runs on a dedicated port and can be accessed by any member of the server administrator realm. This is a relatively non-comprehensive solution for several reasons. First, although browser-based remote administration is a useful feature, it is somewhat slow and unfriendly for administrators working locally, where a Windows-based solution might better suffice.
While Web-based administration capabilities are improving, many administrative tasks for the Internet services must be performed from the command line. Additionally, no integration between SMTP, FTP and HTTP service management is provided, requiring administrators to learn multiple tools to administrate Internet services on the Sun WebServer 2.1 platform.
Windows NT Server 4.0 Implementation Details
IIS 4.0 provides administrators with flexibility in management. IIS 4.0 can be managed through one of three different interfaces:
Windows-based – Management and administration is provided via the MMC technology. MMC provides a user friendly graphical user interface and allows for management of both local and remote instances of IIS 4.0. Furthermore, administrators can manage the HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and NNTP services all from a single console.
Browser-based –An HTML-based administration tool is also provided, allowing remote administration from any frame- and script-capable browser.
Command/Script Based – IIS 4.0 introduces the Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI). ADSI provides a set of standardized, scriptable APIs to administer and configure all of the IIS 4.0 services. Using the combination of simple scripting and ADSI, administrators can automate common administrative tasks from the command line or via customized Web pages that can be accessed remotely. All IIS services – HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and NNTP – can be administered via ADSI. Several pre-authored command-line administration scripts are shipped with the product to provide command-line access to common administrative tasks. It should also be noted that the HTML administration pages shipped with the product are implemented entirely as ADSI administration scripts. ADSI brings several significant benefits to the customer including customizable administration and command-line administration – features that are unmatched in the Solaris 7 Internet services implementation.
IIS 4.0 also features full integration with the Windows NT Server 4.0 Performance Monitor application. With Performance Monitor counters for IIS, administrators have a considerable array of real-time monitoring tools to track virtually every aspect of an implementation’s performance and resource usage. Thresholds can be set for automated notification on certain performance and usage criteria, allowing a system administrator to be automatically notified of potential problem areas or periods of peak usage.
Finally, unlike previous versions of IIS, server configuration can be saved and restored at will. This brings administrators the benefit of total configuration management, including the ability to revert to previously saved configurations if undesirable settings are inadvertently applied.
Windows 2000 Server continues to support the flexibility of Web service management in Windows NT Server 4.0 with the addition of the following:
MMC Task Pads enhance the already excellent MMC-based administration tool in IIS 4.0. Administrators are presented with a list of tasks that can be performed on each node or object under the IIS MMC snap-in. When an administrator selects a task, a wizard will walk the administrator through the selected task. This makes IIS easier to administer than prior versions, again lowering administrative overhead and total cost of ownership.
Additional Command-Line Administration Scripts are shipped with IIS 5.0, providing even more manageability out-of-the-box from the server’s command prompt.
Internet Services Administration Summary
Windows 2000 Server includes everything that is shipped with Windows NT Server 4.0. In addition, Windows 2000 Server provides support for MMC Task Pads and easy-to-use wizards to automate the configuration of difficult tasks. Several more command-line administration scripts have been provided to give system administrators additional command-line capabilities without requiring them to custom-author their own scripts.
Windows NT Server 4.0 offers an easy-to-use, MMC-based tool for Windows-based administration. Browser-based administration is also provided for all services. A complete command-line administration suite is also provided which supports scripting for automation. Finally, with the Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI), administrators can easily create their own customized administration scripts and management applications, providing the ultimate in flexibility.
The management infrastructure provided in Solaris 7 to administer Sun WebServer 2.1 is limited to browser-based management, command-line administration and scripting. Windows-based administration is not available. There is no integration between administration tools for the SMTP, FTP and HTTP services. As such, Solaris 7 is the most difficult-to-manage solution.