Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Unleashed - page 54


IIS is an important component in an SBS installation because many of the SBS administration modules and user applications are web based. The Backup tools, Monitoring and Reporting components, and Connect Computer Wizard are all administration modules that run in the web space, as are the Outlook Web Access and Remote Web Workplace user tools. IIS is comprised of several modules that all work together to serve web applicationsApplication Pools, Web Sites, and Web Service Extensions. This structure affords a level of security and stability not found in earlier versions of IIS.

Although most SBS installations perform sufficiently with the default IIS configuration, it is possible to customize the configuration of IIS by adding additional websites or virtual directories to the Default Web Site. Because the IIS configuration is stored in a text file in XML format, it is not only less likely to get corrupted when changes are made, but backing up the configuration prior to making changes is much easier.

SBS 2003 includes the capability to generate a self-signed SSL certificate so that key tools can be accessed securely, including Outlook Web Access and Remote Web Workplace. In cases where the self-signed certificate is not sufficient to handle all security needs, a third-party SSL certificate can be purchased and installed on the server.

Troubleshooting IIS issues on an SBS server is fairly straightforward because the default configuration of IIS during server installation is stable and well documented. Common issues encountered in an SBS environment include services or components not running, misconfigured port numbers, and web-based applications that have modified the default configuration. In many cases, simply restoring the IIS configuration from a backup will recover from the problems. Alternatively, details in the error messages displayed in the web browser can help identify the source of the problems.

Best Practice Summary

  • Default websitesThe settings for the Default Web Site, Microsoft SharePoint Administration, SharePoint Central Administration, and Companyweb sites should not be modified. Because many services running on SBS are dependent on these default sites, any changes made could render core SBS services unusable. If any settings do need to be modified, try to make changes to the directories or virtual directories before modifying the site settings.

  • Do not use SBS to run a public websiteEven though IIS 6 is a much more secure product than its predecessors, there are still risks inherent with running a public website on the SBS server.

  • Make backups before making any configuration changes to IISBecause the stability of the metabase has increased with SBS 2003, there is no reason to avoid making backups of the IIS configuration prior to making any changes. The process of restoring the metabase configuration is simple and can get the web services back up and running quickly in case of trouble.

  • Installing third-party web services on SBSWhen a software product includes web management components, be sure to install the web parts into a separate website or at least a separate virtual directory on the server. Do not configure a third-party web component to use port 8080 or 8081 for their services.

  • Do not uninstall IIS from an SBS serverBecause so many services use IIS, uninstalling and reinstalling IIS requires the reinstallation of Exchange and all the SBS administration components as well. Use this method of recovery only as a last resort.