Although most of the major Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) changes concentrate on the core OS, SP1 doesn't neglect Microsoft IIS. The service pack contains several significant enhancements to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, the Web server application that's bundled with Windows 2003. Those changes include

  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support in kernel mode—SP1 moves SSL support into the kernel, yielding about a 50 percent performance improvement for serving SSL Web pages and using SSL to run Windows 2003 Terminal Services.
  • format changes for log files—SP1 makes more information available in IIS’s httperr(x).log files. A new registry setting lets you log application pool name-related events.
  • metabase auditing—In an important enhancement, SP1 lets you track changes in the IIS metabase (an XML file that stores IIS configuration information).
  • tracing—Probably SP1's biggest improvement to IIS is its new tracing capability. Pre-SP1 IIS 6.0 essentially functioned as a black box: You could use Netmon to see request events arrive, but you had no insight into how IIS handled those requests. The new tracing capability lets you diagnose Web application and Web server problems by exposing a view of the events that are taking place within the Web server.

You can get more information about IIS tracing and other enhancements in the Microsoft Developer Network (MDSN) Webcast “Using IIS 6.0 Tracing to Effectively Diagnose Web Server Problems.” A recorded version of the Webcast is available at http://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/webcasteventdetails.aspx?culture=en-us&eventid=1032257524&countrycode=us.