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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

True savings with IIS7 and Windows Server 2008.

True savings with IIS7 and Windows Server 2008.

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I’ve been browsing the Windows Server Team blog this morning, (trying to keep up with the flow of information – think drinking from a fire hose) and noticed a great post around IIS7 (Internet Information Services 7 – the web server bit built into Window Server 2008).  More recently, my focus has been on talking about Virtualisation with our Partners, however from time to time, I get the chance to discuss Windows Server 2008, and, included within that IIS.  Not having talked about IIS for a while however, means I’ve actually forgotten how very good IIS7 is, and how much of a huge leap it is over IIS6, which was part of Window Server 2003.

The key improvements for me, around IIS7 are around modularisation (not sure that’s a word), security, and interoperability.  Being modular, means that developers and hosters’ now have a web server that is designed for them.  By that, I mean that if they don’t want certain modules turned on – don’t turn them on.  Thus don’t manage those modules, and also, don’t patch them.  Being modular also brings the benefit of having a smaller, more generic pipeline, that all these default modules bolt into.  If it’s a generic pipeline, with open APIs (which it is!), it means that the developer community can really go to town with IIS, and write modules, in Native or Managed code, that simply bolt into the pipeline, just like our modules.  Being secure, ensures, well, that it’s secure!  How secure?  Well, if it’s as secure as IIS6, which had 0 critical updates, it’s going to be a good thing.

What about this interoperability malarkey?  Well, think of it like this.  If you want to write pages in PHP, your chain of thought typically goes something like this:

  1. PHP for my web sites.
  2. I’ll run my web sites on Apache web server.
  3. I need a database, and I know MySQL works great with PHP and Apache
  4. I need an OS, and thinking about 1, 2 and 3, it’s going to have to be Linux.

This is a Microsoft disaster!  The LAMP stack is a well used, performant stack of technologies.  Well, things, with IIS7, are changing.  Keep your PHP sites, but try them on IIS7 – trust me, they will fly.  If you want to keep MySQL, fine – it’ll interoperate just fine with IIS7 and Windows Server 2008.  You want an OS – how about Windows Web Server 2008 – a SKU that’s designed, and licensed, specifically for external facing web sites.  So, what have you got?  Potentially, a WISP stack – not a great name, but will it zip along – you bet!  You can read more about what I think around IIS7 here.

So, the point of the post – I found this beauty on the Windows Server blog.

To pinch a bit of the post:

“If you are not familiar with this company - they are a Web hosting company that owns and operates its own datacenters and networks and provides support for dedicated server environments.  HostMySite hosts more than 85,000 web sites on 3,100 Servers (and growing).

One of the initial goals of their WS08 deployment was to offer the highest levels of application stability to their customers.  In addition HostMySite wanted to increase the site capacity on their web servers and minimize the amount of time spent troubleshooting.

Prior to Windows Server 2008 HostMySite was getting roughly 500 application pools on each of their servers. IIS 7.0 new application pool management features has allowed HMS to scale up to 3000 application pools per server.  In addition to increased application pool capacity, HMS was also able to reduce the numbers of servers.....what normally took 10 servers now takes 4.  (Although I wish WS08 was solely responsible for that metric - they moved to Dual Core Dell PowerEdge Servers)  Both of these are very impressive to step back and take a look at: 6x the application capacity on 60% less servers.

You can read the full case study here:

You can read why IIS7 is a great solution for hosters here:

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