Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Windows Server 2003 and ColdFusion MX 6.1

Windows Server 2003 and ColdFusion MX 6.1

With the release of ColdFusion MX 6.1 (Red Sky), ColdFusion will now run on the latest version of the Windows operating system. This article takes a brief look at the new features in Windows Server 2003 that may be of interest to CF developers and administrators. We'll also see how CFMX 6.1 integrates with Internet Information Services 6.0, the Windows Server 2003 version of the Microsoft Web server.

What's New in Windows Server 2003?
The most apt description of Windows Server 2003 I've heard is, slightly paraphrased, "It's the best version of Windows 2000 yet!" That is, it's not a sea change, but rather a welcome revision to an existing operating system. In that respect, I suspect it will be very exciting to those who currently manage numerous Windows servers.

There are four new versions of Windows Server 2003. As with Windows 2000, there are Standard and Enterprise Editions, but there's also a Datacenter Edition that supports high-end Intel servers. Of more interest to most of us is the Web Edition, which is designed for one thing: running Web servers. This edition should be suitable for most ColdFusion application servers, although it does have some significant limitations - it supports only 2GB of RAM and dual processors, and allows only 10 concurrent SMB connections for file and print services. This won't affect most production Web servers, but if you're planning on publishing an intranet, it may affect you. Best of all, though, Windows Server 2003 Web Edition is a lot cheaper than previous Windows licenses. It's approximately $400 and available only through OEMs, so you'll be able to get it when you buy a new Web server from your hardware vendor.

Some nice touches have been added to the OS to make it easier to manage. For example, functionality that's not especially useful to servers, like DirectX, is disabled by default. Internet Explorer is configured, by default, to disallow all functionality beyond basic HTML rendering, so you can't easily download malware onto your server console if you forget that you shouldn't be using the browser on your server console. The "Remote Assistance" functionality introduced in Windows XP is also included here, which should make it a bit easier for server administrators to help each other out. Fortunately, it didn't borrow the default look and feel of Windows XP, but provides a relatively spartan Windows 2000 style.

Internet Information Services 6.0
In the new version of Windows is a completely new version of IIS as well, with several substantial changes. Prior versions of IIS had a lot of security problems and required quite a bit of management knowledge to configure securely. IIS 6 is a lot closer to "secure by default," with ISAPI extensions and filters disabled unless you specifically enable them yourself. In addition, most IIS functionality runs within a very low privileged security context; in IIS 5 and earlier versions, security holes in ISAPI extensions or filters could allow malicious code to run as SYSTEM.

There are lots of other interesting changes to IIS 6. Some functionality has been moved into a kernel-mode driver to improve performance. IIS management has been significantly improved; IIS configuration information, or the "Metabase," has been converted into an XML text file so you can work with it directly without needing a special editor. From within the IIS management console, you can easily work with portions of the Metabase, exporting and importing text files. You have more control over ISAPI application isolation as well - you can create your own application pools directly, and place each virtual server or directory within the application pool of your choice. This allows you to keep one ISAPI application from bringing down the whole server.

ColdFusion MX 6.1: 'Red Sky'
The next release of ColdFusion MX will be available at almost the same time as Windows Server 2000 - probably by the time you're reading this. ColdFusion MX 6.1, code named "Red Sky," will be the first version of ColdFusion to support the new Windows OS, and it provides lots of new features.

To investigate these features, I installed the release candidate of CFMX 6.1 onto Windows Server 2003 Web Edition. Before installing, I configured several virtual servers, but otherwise left IIS settings at their default values.

Anyone who's heard anything about Red Sky probably knows that Macromedia has taken great pains to simplify and ease the installation process. Many people have had quite a bit of difficulty installing the initial releases of CFMX, especially when it comes to integrating CFMX with a Web server. I'm happy to report that there were no such problems during this installation - CFMX 6.1 detected all of my virtual servers and configured each one appropriately (see Figure 1).

 

After the installation, a "configuration wizard" will open within a browser window. However, if you're installing to multiple virtual servers, you may have to edit the URL within the browser window, as it'll use 127.0.0.1 by default; if you're using host header names or don't have the right virtual server bound to that IP address, it won't resolve correctly. Fortunately, that's easy to address.

In addition, the CFMX installer provides many other niceties (see Figure 2); for example, it allows for a "standalone" install like CFMX Enterprise or Professional, a full J2EE install including JRun, or a J2EE application package for deployment to an existing J2EE application server if you have one. It also makes installing to a production server easier by allowing you to disable RDS during the install rather than by editing a text file afterwards.

 

As mentioned earlier, ISAPI extensions and filters don't work by default, but the CFMX 6.1 installer takes care of that for you by creating an entry called "Macromedia Server Extensions" and enabling it.

In prior versions of CFMX, you could integrate it with IIS via an ISAPI filter or extension, and it wasn't too clear how this should be done or what the ramifications would be either way. CFMX 6.1 takes another approach - it creates something new in IIS 6 called a "Wildcard Application Map" (see Figure 3). This is similar to a filter in that it's not invoked based on the filename requested (for example, "*.cfm"). However, it's not a filter either, which means that it's not subject to the security problems that ISAPI filters may face; since ISAPI filters execute so early in the request process, in some cases they may sidestep things like filesystem permissions and the like. Also, if an ISAPI filter has a security problem, like a buffer overflow, it will typically execute within a more privileged security context, although that's been addressed somewhat within the IIS 6 security architecture anyway.

 

Another nice touch about the CFMX 6.1 install was that it automatically configured the appropriate IIS virtual servers to enable "index.cfm" as a default document and ensured that the Flash Remoting gateway was set up. It appears that Flash Remoting requests are handled by the "Wildcard Application Map."

Summary
If you're currently managing Windows servers and you're getting ready to deploy CFMX, make sure you look at CFMX 6.1 on Windows Server 2003 - it's a lot easier to install and manage than it used to be. Current Windows Web server administrators can take advantage of new IIS management functionality to make their lives a lot easier by working directly with the Metabase using their tools of choice, rather than limiting themselves to writing WMI and ADSI scripts to manage IIS. Current CFMX administrators can ease their server deployments by taking advantage of the much cleaner and easier installation process of CFMX 6.1.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.