IIS and Virtual Server Conversations


Question:


In preparation to installing Virtual Server, and acknowledging the fact that it needs IIS, I would like to know:



  1. Is there any specific setup to perform on the IIS before I configure VS? Or, will it just need to be there?

    Also, since now I have web server software installed, I would like to configure it to make use of CGI (Perl!) and I am studying a description to do that right now – it mentions creating a directory where I can store the scripts AND a virtual directory under the IIS that points to this directory – now, this substitution of one directory for another was something that you could do in DOS, as I recall, so:
  2. Is this ‘virtual directory’ stuff something that is specific to IIS? Because the Windows filesystem wouldn’t understand such a ‘critter’.

TIA


Answer:



  1. You just need to make sure IIS is installed prior to install Virtual Server 2005 R2. This allows you to install the Admin Website component of Virtual Server, whose setup takes care of everything else
  2. “Virtual Directory” stuff is specific to IIS.

IIS stores the Virtual-to-FileSystem mapping inside of its configuration file, and whenever it receives a HTTP request for a URL in the Virtual namespace, IIS translates it to a resource in the FileSystem namespace using its configuration.


At this point, you can have any other mapping in effect in the FileSystem namespace (for example, NTFS junction points) to do further name mapping, but we are getting a bit more complicated now…


FYI: Virtual Server does not need IIS to administer/function. I use Virtual Server all the time without IIS. See this blog entry:
http://blogs.msdn.com/david.wang/archive/2005/06/21/Virtual_Server_2005_Administration_on_IIS.aspx


//David

Comments (7)

  1. Tony says:

    Thank you, David.

    I printed the schematic graph, that may be just the sort of thing I can lean on, when things get rough.

    In all of my career as a hobby builder – maintainer – operator – programer of computers, I’ve always felt there was nothing about a computer that I couldn’t understand, except documentation. IIS documentation is just about the most convoluted piece of knowledge I have come across, it’s like a university course, an extremely demanding technical approach that aims to push everything else asside in order for it to be absolutely clear, logic and correct across multiple interpretations. This is fine if you do nothing else for six months. As for me, I cannot bridge the gap, I have far too many interests – do you know of any kind of book or web resource that gives IIS a more conversational treatment? (I havn’t yet more than browse through your blog, which seems rather more than just interesting)

    I know, it is really all very simple. I’ts just unfortunate that you’ll have to be a genius to see the simplicity! Working with it would rapidly make it clear to me on it’s own, but it might be a long and winding trail, on my own, since I wouldn’t have much [need] for doing any serious work with it.

  2. David Wang says:

    Have you looked at IIS6 Resource Kit at:

    Online:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/technologies/featured/iis/default.mspx

    Downloadable Reference:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&familyid=80A1B6E6-829E-49B7-8C02-333D9C148E69

    The general problem here is that people all learn and absorb information differently, but we only have resources to cover a small spectrum of users.

    On the one hand, we have users demanding that Microsoft disclose all technical details as fast as possible, in fear that something will be "withheld". Other users demand a simplified, step-by-step approach to do the top 20 things that *they* want to do (mind you, everyone’s top 20 is different). Still others demand a leisurely yet thorough discourse through the entire architecture, at their own pace and interests (and everyone’s pace and interest is completely different). Etc.

    I really haven’t looked at much of the books/web-resources published about IIS6. The few that I have skimmed tend to be various of the step-by-step approach of various top 20 things, where the topics differ based on the author’s focus. I haven’t seen a conversational-style approach.

    The Resource Kit is more like all the raw details, not much synthesis, and demands a more pedagogical approach. The details are all there, but linking things together will take some effort unless you can Q&A someone else.

    What I’m doing on my blog is a lot of synthesis and highlighting of various not-so-obvious raw details. It’s more of a top-20 approach for topics, except I drill all the way down to the details and along the way explain how and why things work they way they do, then link concepts to related areas. It’s great for Q&A and "research" into polished understandings, but it will take a while to get that overall framework/perspective since it’s not organized that way (but the synthesized info is definitely there).

    If I had to give a quick, concise description of IIS, I would say:

    IIS processes network requests formatted according to HTTP specifications (RFC2616) and send back likewise conformant responses.

    To process requests, IIS will:

    – Interpret request headers and perform the necessary sequence of actions dictated by them (including authentication, keep-alives, caching, compression, Host headers, etc)

    – Authenticate and Authorize the request

    – Parse the request URL, determine a URL-to-FileSystem mapping to locate the resource, determine a "handler" to handle executing the resource, and launch the handler to generate a response

    – Try to ensure that the response is correctly formatted (i.e. encrypted with SSL, compressed, chunked, etc – external to handlers generating the base response)

    – Log the result of the request execution

    Most of the knobs you see in IIS revolves around configuring some aspect of the above actions.

    //David

  3. Tony says:

    I thank you deeply, David. No, I was not aware of those links, I saw three very thick volumes of IIS related stuff at a bookseller’s a couple of years ago (MS Press) – that might well have been ‘it’. Cost a week’s pay, so I was looking somewhere other. I was not aware of a web ‘home’ for such a thing.

    And I agree completely about the ‘travails’ of writing targeted documentation, and if something of that order does not exist – if I survive digging through it, by golly, I will write one myself – myself in mind!

    The mixture of what you have mentioned, sounds promising, I will try and shuffle the deck and see what kind of ‘hand’ I’ll be dealt.

    I think I am particularly fond of your ‘Blitz Course’ description – I believe I will turn that into something ‘poster-like’, perhaps together with the graphic off your ‘blog’, (if you wouldn’t mind?) and stick it to the wall behind the monitor to have as cross-reference as I progress. (If I ever do?)

    I am a ‘nuts&bolts’ guy – I need to know what kind of nuts and bolts to use for what kind of job, I don’t need to know about the philosophy of why the nuts are having their threads inverted. Nuts and bolts have a practical use. I just want to learn about the practical uses to apply to IIS, and I believe you have provided me with a reasonable starting-point. If it is not all collected in one place, that cannot throw me.

    At the moment, I am filing on a kind of skeleton home-page, if it comes out alright, even vaguely so, I am considering enhancing the concept, I am not contemplating doing any .ASP (probably a misjudgement) but am fond of the concept of dynamically generated HTML & CSS – so, would it be in order to say that the depths that I will need to take myself, initially, regarding IIS revolves around learning how to configure ‘what’ depending on the ‘what’ – if you get my drift? And the smartest thing to do would be to learn how to script the configuration? It would be nice if I could find my focus rather quickly, and the technicalities of that would seem to be within my immidiate reach.

  4. David Wang says:

    Tony – good question. I am answering in the following blog entry:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/david.wang/archive/2005/12/24/IIS_and_Virtual_Server_Conversations_Part_2.aspx

    //David

  5. KlaudSCH says:

    Hello!

    I’m newbie here and that’s why I need some help.

    Can you give me any info or any links where I can get general help on using forum.

    I think that this info will be usefull for all newbies.

    Thanks a lot!

    P.S. Pardon me for my making this thread in wrong section

    ____

    [url=xgloq.net]Texas[/url]…I’m lovin’ it 🙂

  6. Andrew says:

    Considering virtualizing an IIS Server. We have virtualized a server here and it’s running IIS. When I go to http://dns-name/… it appears to work fine, however when I go to http://ip-address/… it requires a username and password. Could this be related to the virtualization of the server?

  7. David.Wang says:

    Andrew – By default, IE does not auto-login with user credentials when the target servername is dotted address. This prevents accidental leaking of internal username/password to external websites.

    This includes IP-Address as well as FQDN-Address.

    You need to make sure that the specific dotted address is placed in an IE zone which does allow auto-login with user credentials to address the login prompt.

    //David