The release of IIS 7.0 coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the release of the first version of IIS, in Windows NT® 4.0. In 2001, four versions later, IIS 5.0 became the most prevalent Web server on the Internet, though months later it fell victim to the infamous Code Red and Nimbda worms. IIS 6.0, released in Windows Server® 2003, was a major rewrite of the server, focused entirely on improving security, reliability, and performance. Since then, IIS 6.0 has proven to be a rock-solid Web server, achieving high reliability and security track records with only a single critical security bulletin since its release (which was not exploitable remotely).
The vision for IIS 7.0 was to take the speed, reliability, and security of the IIS 6.0 codebase and turn it into a highly extensible and manageable Web server platform powerful enough to run Web applications of the future. The result is the most ambitious Microsoft Web server yet, delivering the largest number of architectural improvements in the history of IIS.
At the core of the IIS 7.0 release is a completely modular Web server, comprised of more than 40 features that can be assembled into small-footprint Web servers optimized for the desired role in your application topology. These features are built on top of a new extensibility layer that allows developers to extend or replace virtually any aspect of the server, in native code or with the Microsoft® .NET Framework. IIS 7.0 offers extensibility throughout its runtime, management, and operational features to help you build end-to-end solutions for your specific needs. On top of the core platform, IIS 7.0 tackles many of the problems associated with the manageability and operation of the server. It features a brand new configuration system that enables fully delegated management of sites and finally makes xcopy deployment of Web applications a reality. The new management APIs and diagnostic features make deployment, administration, and troubleshooting of the server significantly easier and more convenient than ever before.