Today we're very excited to announce the Beta 3 release of IIS7 as part of Longhorn Server. IIS7 is the biggest release of IIS in the history of the product, and this beta release marks the biggest milestone for the product team. Ever since the Vista project locked down in late summer of 2006, we've been hard at work on IIS7 getting it ready for production server environments. We think it is ready. And along with today's release, we have some exciting announcements to make:
New IIS7 Scenarios!
With Vista out the door, the IIS team's focus shifted to production server scenarios, and the fundamentals like security, reliability, and performance that we know you depend on in a datacenter environment. We made thousands of bug fixes, and have improved the IIS7 codebase in countless ways, too many to mention in one blog post. You will notice some changes - big and small - throughout the product. Vista owners: no fear! IIS7 will be updated to stay in sync with Longhorn Server starting with SP1.
Some of the most exciting new scenarios we worked on with IIS7 in Longhorn Server include:
This new scenario allows for IIS7's new global configuration file to be 'shared' across multiple servers! Once deployed, the IIS7 tools, including the new "IIS Manager" admin tool, our cmdline tool - appcmd.exe, as well as our scripting APIs and the new Microsoft.Web.Administration all work against the shared configuration file allowing centralized management of a farm of servers! Read more about how to use this feature in the Shared Configuration Walkthrough.
Automatic Application Pool Isolation
IIS6 introduced ApplicationPools, but never made them very friendly to setup and use. With IIS7, we're making it automatic. By default, when you create a new site in the IIS manager tool, we'll automatically create a new Application Pool with the same name. In addition, we'll inject a unique SID which resolves to that AppPool name into the NetworkService token (our default AppPool identity) and create a special AppPool.config file for the worker processes to use, and ACL it to only allow that AppPool SID to access it. This means that by default the Application Pool is isolated from all other Application Pools on the server from a configuration and from a runtime identity perspective! Sandboxing sites and applications is now as easy as ACLing the content to a unique set of users you want to provide access to (including anonymous user).
Delegated, Remote Administration
IIS7 in Longhorn Server Beta 3 offers remote administration capability, all over HTTP/SSL! In addition, Server Administrators can delegate administration to "site administrators" who can then use the exact same IIS Manager tool to remotely manage just their site! To make the IIS Manager tool broadly available, we've uploaded a beta release of "Remote Manager", a updated version of the tool for Windows XP, Windows 2003 and Windows Vista clients to use to remotely manage IIS7! Download Remote Manager today! You can also learn more about how to setup remote administration, and delegated management, in the IIS7 walkthroughs.
Built-in FastCGI support for PHP and other dynamic languages....
We announced our efforts to improve PHP reliability and performance back in October, and shipped Tech Preview 1 and 2 of the FastCGI module for IIS5,6, and 7. Today I'm excited to announce that FastCGI support is now built-in to Longhorn Server, and it will be incorporated into Vista SP1 as well. FastCGI is now installed as part of the "CGI" setup component which allows for both traditional CGI applications, as well as FastCGI applications to run. This is going to make it super easy to get blazing fast performance with PHP on Windows, without a lot of trouble.
Modern FTP Publishing!
And if all this goodness with the Web server isn't enough, I'm really excited to announce the first beta of our new FTP server. This isn't a part of Longhorn Server Beta 3, but it is available today and offers a lot of brand new features for you to experience today. The new IIS7 FTP server includes secure publishing with FTP/SSL support, integrated web publishing with support for the IIS7 configuration system and administration tool - making it really easy to setup FTP publishing points for a web application, integrated authentication (so that delegated administrators can use their same credentials to publish to IIS7 web sites), host header FTP support, and more! This FTP server is really amazing, and I'll be covering more of it in a future blog post. Download it today, and read more about it on IIS.net!
There are many more welcome surprises in store for you with Beta 3. Here are a few samplers:
- IIS7 UI is now feature-complete, and includes support for logging, caching, compression, and more. The new UI also includes a welcome page with shortcuts to recent connections, and displays the latest news about IIS.
- The AhAdmin configuration API now supports remote administration over DCOM, and the Microsoft.Web.Administration API also provides transparent access to remote servers.
- IIS7 provides Output Caching support for dynamic content, integrated with http.sys, which allows for blazing fast performance. See this example of how I used Output Caching to get incredible performance of a PHP application on Windows
- IIS7 provides simple, declarative URL authorization support for protecting Web content through configuration declarations, rather than file system ACLs.
- and more...
We've been working very hard to make sure IIS7 is ready for broad public testing in real production environments, and we're excited to announce the availability of a broad GoLive license for anyone to use. To learn more information on how to download Beta 3 and sign the GoLive license, see our goLive portal on IIS.net.
To show that the product is ready, we've partnered with some really super Web hosters who have braved the waters and deployed the Beta 3 build and are offering free IIS7 hosting to the world. Special thanks go out to MaximumASP, DiscountASP, Applied Innovations, and HostMySite.com, for working closely with us to get these early IIS7 deployments going and for making them freely available to the world. If you don't already use one of these guys for hosting, you should!
I wrote a few months ago about how the product team thinks about IIS7 in Vista, vs. the Server release. For the IIS team, Vista was all about getting the platform baked, and making sure developers could begin to build applications on top of IIS7, and begin to use the new extensibility points that IIS7 offers. We feel really good about our success there, and today we're launching v1.0 of the DevCenter, a new portal specifically targeted at developers. It contains links to dozens of articles, walkthroughs, and other useful information for how to use IIS7 as a developer. This release is just the start of more to come for developers, check back frequently. Kudos to Eric Woersching for pulling this together!
IIS7 home page redesign!
To help you discover and learn about all of these new features, we've also redesigned the IIS7 home page, and now provide a navigation control for our content on the IIS7 home page and within the articles themselves. The product team has spent many hours writing up feature and scenario walkthroughs and articles for you to read about, visit IIS7 home today!
Today is a great day for IIS. I've never been more proud of the product, or the team behind it. We hope you check out IIS7 beta 3, and tell us what you think!