Chapter 1. Before you begin

Are you an inadvertent IIS administrator, or even a reluctant one? I used to be and still am on occasion. I understand the life of a systems administrator—it’s all about time management. We spend our days putting out fires, bringing new services online, and keeping the network always available for our users and the business. As an administrator I may have known IIS was lurking in my servers, waiting for me to install it and build a website, but I didn’t want to use my time for that stuff. IIS wasn’t that interesting to me, and I wanted to play with sexier technologies like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. I chose to ignore IIS and left it to the other system admins.

But my reluctance to spend time learning IIS started to interfere with my job in a surprising way, because IIS is more than a product to make websites; it’s a primary communication gateway for many other products. Have you worked with Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, or some other Microsoft enterprise product? If so you’ve noticed that almost all of the enterprise servers have IIS as a software prerequisite. Consider this: any application you want to use via the internet—whether it’s Outlook web access for Exchange, a portal system such as SharePoint, or management applications such as System Center—uses IIS for that communication. To be an expert at those technologies, the person who can troubleshoot problems (and increase your value to the company), you need to be an IIS expert.