Windows Tip Sheet
3 Server-Worthy Downloads
Upgrade your admin life with these three Microsoft tools: IIS Diagnostic Tools, WSUS and Win2003 R2.
This week is just a quick roundup to make sure you’re caught up on all
the goodies Microsoft has recently released:
Microsoft’s recently released an update to a very useful set of diagnostic
tools for IIS, in a complete Internet Information Services Diagnostic Tools
package. In fact, this package is updated every quarter (roughly); the current
version includes diagnostics for SLL connections, authentication and access
control problems, Exchange SMTP (which is built on top of the IIS SMTP server
core) problems, and an IIS log parser. The entire toolkit is now available in
three editions: x86 for 32-bit platforms, ia64 for Itanium systems (you all
rushed out and bought Itanium systems for your Web servers, right?), and an
amd64 version for x64 systems (including AMD 64-bit and Intel EM64T systems).
You can also download the tools individually, if you prefer.
Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) has been released. This is the product
originally known as Software Update Services (SUS) 2.0, then Windows Update
Services (WUS), and I think it was even called “The software formerly
known as Prince” at one point. Name waffling aside, it’s awesome
software for keeping your network’s Windows computers updated. Essentially,
it replaces the official Windows Update Web site on your intranet, consolidating
updates from Windows Update and then distributing them to your computers in
a controlled fashion. Totally worth your time, and if you’re not running
a patch management solution, get WSUS. It’s free. It also integrates with
Systems Management Server (SMS), if that’s what you’re using for
Finally, don’t forget that Win2003 “R2” is in customer preview
mode. I have to admit, I know a lot more about the technologies that are no
longer in R2 (having been pulled out for various reasons along the way)
than what’s left, but the R2 FAQ says it’s basically got improved
AD replication for lower-bandwidth situations (like branch offices), AD Federation
Services to help with cross-organization authentication, and simplified SAN
provisioning and quota management. Obviously R2 also includes some nicer stability
and performance enhancements, and from talking to folks within Microsoft I think
they’re going to be pretty significant. The feature list, however, is
pretty dreary-sounding. A few months ago I was holding out for Microsoft’s
new command-line shell, code-named Monad, to maybe be a surprise inclusion in
R2, or even for the long-long-long overdue Audit Collection Service (ACS, formerly
MACS) to be bundled in. Monad, it turns out, isn’t even going to be ready
for Longhorn, and I don’t know what the deal is with ACS. R2 is
supposed to include v2 of the .NET Framework, which is also releasing with SQL
Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, so that’ll be nice, but you won’t
need R2 to get v2 of the Framework—it’ll be downloadable
to all platforms independently.
Be sure to check out WSUS and the IIS diagnostics kit, and keep your eyes on
- Download the tools here.
- Blog a bit about the toolkit here.
- WSUS (good grief, these acronyms are getting silly) is here.
- Read more about Win2003 R2—such as it is—here.
- That R2 FAQ I mentioned is here.
Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.