IIS, a Quick and Impartial Review
Leo Brewer profile photo
Updated December 22, 2015

IIS, a Quick and Impartial Review

Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft IIS

Many applications leverage Microsoft IIS within my current organization and in previous places of employ. I currently manage SafeNet Authentication Manager, Thycotic Secret Server, and other applications that use Microsoft IIS as it's web server.
  • Support of application integration is a strength, many COTS applications are supported by Microsoft IIS.
  • Microsoft IIS on the Windows Server 2012 R2 platform is very configurable.
  • Easily configured for Active Directory authentication.
  • Compared to Apache, Microsoft IIS has a large memory footprint.
  • Microsoft regularly changes it's administrative utility, sometimes drastically, which causes a learning curve one version to the next.
  • With some applications you need to spend quite some time tuning Microsoft IIS to bring it to an acceptable level of performance.
  • Microsoft IIS does lend itself to quick application integration as it is simple to install and get running, this leads to quick project turn-around time and often less money spent up-front in deploying new solutions.
  • I have found in some cases that the initial speed to delivery is compromised by the need to meticulously tune IIS to achieve the desired performance.
  • If you have an enterprise contract, Microsoft customer service for IIS is acceptable.
  • Apache
Many support teams are not comfortable supporting Linux platforms which is where Apache can really shine; also, application vendors often do not support Apache on Linux whereas they do support their products on Microsoft servers running IIS. In our case, the applications that I support are supported by the vendor on IIS/Microsoft server.
Many commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors only support Microsoft IIS, in these cases I would not recommend trying to make it work with other platforms such as Apache. If you are in a primarily Microsoft Windows Server environment, I would recommend using Microsoft IIS as opposed to trying to make Apache or other web platforms run on Windows. If you have an abundance of Linux knowledge in-house and the application supports Apache, I recommend using Apache on Linux as a more optimal use of resources.

Microsoft IIS Feature Ratings

IDE support
7
Security management
7
Administration and management
6
Application server performance
5
Installation
9
Open-source standards compliance
6

Using Microsoft IIS

IIS is an underlying technology enabling many internal and external web services which run the gamut of business units. There are no users within the organization who do not use an IIS enabled technology in some manner.
10 - There are no dedicated full time employees who work solely on IIS; web services and information security support staff support other applications as well. All of these team members are well versed in Microsoft Windows Server platforms, IIS, web-based applications, and are familiar with other relevant technologies such as networking, firwalls, DNS, etc.
  • Underlying platform for web applications
  • Dynamic web site support
  • Static web site support
  • The information security team has several custom web applications that run on top of the IIS platform to assist end-users as well as technical support staff.
  • Continued COTS and fully custom web applications support.
We have no intention to replace all applications running on top of the IIS platform. Not all applications support other platforms and not all support staff are skilled in Linux/Apache platform support. Whereas IIS may not be the best performing or most secure web platform available, for the aforementioned reasons, it is impossible not to continue use of this product.

Using Microsoft IIS

Usability is "ok" for some out-of-the-box functionality, it becomes more cumbersome when you really need to start customizing settings and permissions. A plus for the IIS platform in general is that many applications that run on top of IIS will automatically configure IIS for you when you install the application which prevents the need for advanced customization.
ProsCons
None
Unnecessarily complex
Slow to learn
Cumbersome
Lots to learn
  • Creating a new website or application is simple as long as you can live with out-of-the-box settings.
  • Starting and stopping the IIS service is simple and straight-forward.
  • Starting and stopping application pools is simple and straight-forward.
  • You have to be careful with inheritance of changes from higher levels in the hierarchy, it is easy to accidentally overwrite settings
  • Similar to the previous point, be careful with permissions inheritance for your web folder directory; it is normally easier to manage this via Windows Explorer than the IIS Manager
  • Make sure that you are using the correct "View"; if you are trying to see content, be sure you have selected "Content View" and if you're trying to manage settings, use "Features View"; this setting (strangely) isn't found under the "View" menu, the toggle buttons are located below the main window
  • It is difficult to find certain settings, for example process model settings for application pools; once you know where things are, it isn't too difficult