Windows Server 2008 R2 includes an integrated Best Practices Analyzer for each of the server roles. The Best Practices Analyzer creates a checklist within Server Manager for the role, which you can use to help perform all the configuration tasks.
Windows Server 2008 R2 includes many enhancements that make this release the most robust Windows Server Web application platform yet. It offers an updated Web server role –Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5– and greater support for .NET on Server Core. Design goals for IIS 7.5 concentrated on improvements that enable Web administrators to more easily deploy and manage Web applications, and that increase both reliability and scalability. Additionally, IIS 7.5 has streamlined management capabilities and provides more ways than ever to customize your Web serving environment.
Reducing the effort required to administer and support Web-based applications is a key differentiator for IIS 7.5. Included with this release is support for increased automation, new remote administration scenarios, and improved content publishing for developers and authors. A short list of these features includes:
Expanding the capabilities of IIS Manager through new management modules;
The Windows PowerShell Provider for IIS is a Windows PowerShell snap-in that allows you to perform IIS administrative tasks, and manage IIS configuration and run-time data. In addition, a collection of task-oriented cmdlets provide a simple way to manage Web sites, Web applications and Web servers.
Using PowerShell allows administrators to take advantage of several important features:
Consolidating key Web metrics from all Web servers in real-time.
On a more granular level, the IIS-specific cmdlets included with Windows Server 2008 R2 ease the administrative burden for many low-level day-to-day tasks. For example, these cmdlets allow administrators to add and change configuration properties of Web sites and Web-based applications as well as virtual directories and application pools. Users more familiar with Windows PowerShell will be able to execute advanced configuration tasks and even integrate existing Windows PowerShell scripts with other Windows PowerShell providers across different Windows Server 2008 R2 feature areas. A few common scenarios for PowerShell within IIS 7.5 management might include:
New features have been added to IIS Manager for the 7.5 release that make it possible to manage obscure settings such as those used for FastCGI and ASP.NET applications or adding and editing request filtering rules through a graphical user interface.
Configuration Editor (illustrated in the following figure) allows you to manage any configuration section available in the configuration system. Configuration Editor exposes several configuration settings that are not exposed elsewhere in IIS Manager.
Utilizing the extensible and modular architecture introduced with IIS 7.0, the new IIS 7.5 integrates and enhances existing extensions and allows for further enhancements and customizations in the future. The FastCGI module, for example, allows management of FastCGI settings while the ASP.NET module allows management of authorization and custom error settings.
The Request Filter module in Windows Server 2008 R2 will include the filtering features previously found in URLScan 3.1. By blocking specific HTTP requests, the Request Filter module helps prevent potentially harmful requests from being processed by Web applications on the server. The Request Filtering user interface (illustrated in the following figure) provides a graphical user interface for configuring the Request Filtering module.
Windows Server 2008 R2 allows domain-based service accounts to have passwords that are managed by Active Directory. These new type of accounts reduce the recurrent administrative task of having to update passwords on processes running with these accounts. IIS 7.5 supports the use of managed service accounts for application pool identities.
Hostable Web Core
Developers are able to service HTTP requests directly in their applications by using the hostable Web core feature. Available through a set of APIs, this feature lets the core IIS Web engine to be consumed or hosted by other applications, allowing those apps to service HTTP requests directly. The hostable web core feature is useful for enabling basic Web server capabilities for custom applications or for debugging applications.
Windows Server 2008 R2 reduces support and troubleshooting effort in the following ways:
Enhanced auditing of changes to IIS 7.5 and application configuration. The new Configuration Logging feature in IIS 7.5 provides enhanced auditing of changes to IIS and application configuration, which allows you to track the configuration changes made to your test and production environments. This provides logging of both reads and writes as well as logon attempts, changes to path mappings, file creations and more.
Failed Request Tracing for FastCGI. In IIS 7.5, PHP developers can use the FastCGI module to include IIS trace calls in their applications. This reduces the effort required for debugging code during development and troubleshooting application errors after deployment by using IIS Failed Request Tracing.
Best Practices Analyzer (BPA). The BPA for IIS 7.5 is a management tool that can help you reduce best practice violations by scanning an IIS 7.5 Web server and reporting on potential configuration issues found. You can access the BPA through Server Manager and Windows PowerShell.