|By Dave Watts||
|August 12, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
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."
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.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 205
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, 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. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 218
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:45 PM EST Reads: 109
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid 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. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 PM EST
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...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 428
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze 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. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 395
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.
Feb. 10, 2016 01:15 PM EST
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...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:15 PM EST Reads: 427
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, 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. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 623
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 191
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 112
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 251
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze 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. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 226
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 386
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 186
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, 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. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 10, 2016 08:00 AM EST
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 10, 2016 07:45 AM EST Reads: 439
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Feb. 10, 2016 07:00 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, 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. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 769
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 831