IIS/Windows Web Server: What You Must Know

Most business managers, even if they’re not from IT backgrounds, know what an IIS server is, but fewer know how to set up a group of tools that can do troubleshooting, monitor performance, and do in-depth log analysis. The first step for those who are even slightly unfamiliar with Microsoft’s Internet Information Services is to review a simple definition. After that, consider finding out more about tools that are common in small and large business environments.

What is the IIS/Windows Web Server?

The Internet Information Services, aka Windows Web Server hosts various apps and sites and is currently the world’s number-two most used server. Initially created for exclusive use with the then-small family of Windows NT users, IIS is a Microsoft-owned concept and intellectual property asset. Since 1995, the company has come out with a fresh iteration of IIS for every successive Windows OS. IT managers typically shop around before settling on a compatible set of tools for dealing with logged data, performance monitoring, and troubleshooting. Fortunately, there are numerous low-cost packages on the retail market that perform all the requisite functions for any enterprise using the Windows web server function.

What’s the Smartest Way to Understand Logged Data Reports?

An IIS log analyzer can help managers understand the reams of information contained in multiple log reports. In order to fully comprehend what the reports mean; the native log analysis tool is not sufficient. That’s why IT personnel tend to use multiple tools in a typical distributed network. It’s not just the volume of files that poses a problem. There’s also the issue of department leaders needing to monitor apps and infrastructure.

How Do You Know Whether the System is Performing Well?

When it comes to IIS performance monitoring, it is a detailed, highly targeted effort that yields plenty of relevant data for any IT worker. Compared to a standard Windows Event Log Viewer, it’s much more helpful, detailed, and actionable. What kind of data is included is a typical report? You’ll see whether there were any attempts, even failed ones, by users to visit the website. Additionally, this granular level of information includes a list of the site’s users, the last time anyone used the website, and all the content that visitors viewed while they were interacting with a given page. There’s plenty more on tap but just those few data categories can reveal enough to know whether performance is up to par. If there’s down time or something isn’t running properly, none of that information will be available.

Spotting Issues Before They Blow Up

When it comes to troubleshooting IIS errors and other problems, IT workers want first of all to know the cause of any performance issue or other type of failure. But unless all the fields are enabled for logging, they won’t show up on a final report. So, if there’s an issue that arises at, say, 3 p.m. on Tuesday, and you haven’t enabled critical areas for logging, then you won’t have anything to analyze. That means if the error is in a non-enabled field, you’ll essentially be blind to it. Troubleshooting is an inexact science compared to most other IT chores, so managers need to capture as much information as possible to maximize their ability to find errors and issues as soon as they appear.

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