IIS may be Microsoft’s most important product

I’ve been asked a couple of times why I accepted a position working with IIS 7. Someone even quipped that I took it because it was the only job that Microsoft offered me. Quite honestly, if I had my druthers, I would still love to join this team. Obviously, some people can’t understand the importance of this product. This post will serve as the formal answer to the inquiries about my upcoming role.

I believe in my heart that IIS could possibly be the most important product in Microsoft’s arsenal today. If you blindly accept this hypothesis, you need not read any further. However, if the need to provide some supporting evidence to my assertion haunts your dreams, go ahead and finish reading this post before you lay your head on the pillow tonight.

In the book, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors overtly opine that information is one of the most powerful tools in today’s age. One example given by the duo is that of the ruin of the Ku Klux Klan after WWII. Once the war was over, the “Klan” had started to regain their footing. Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the group and exposed all of their secrets to a popular radio program at the time — Superman. This turned the upsurge in Klan membership on its ugly hooded ear. The book demonstrates time and time again that sunlight is, indeed, the greatest disinfectant.

The proliferation of data in the “information age” is one of my favorite bi-products, or perhaps, the purpose of my very career field. Software applications seek to provide information in a concise form that makes sense to data consumers. Websites such as realtor.com and edmunds.com provide data that prevents the lay-folk from being ripped off in the same or purchase of a home or car, respectively. Sites such as encarta.com and wikipedia.com provide us with reasonable and free research — and in the case of the later, people actually volunteer their time to build on that knowledge. I have to admit that I am addicted to information. In an instant, I can be searching for stock quotes, searching for health information, getting the latest news headlines, or just reading blogs at any given moment. I can access information on my smart phone, my tablet pc, my notebooks or any number of desktop machines at home. There are even refridgerators with web browsers in them now!

Yes, information is important. But getting information out there in an efficient, reliable, and secure way is the key. I have watched IIS grow from a simple application-level server that leaked memory like crazy and provided a million security vulnerabilities while provided basic database/index server query capabilities (HTX/IDC and IDA/IDQ), to a mixture of kernel-mode listeners and intricate inter-process operations that serve up millions of pages of dynamic information and object requests in a secure environment as though it was bored to tears. The information this product serves up, for the most part, is pure gold and it already does it so well. IIS is, indeed, improving with each and every release.

Some may say the success of IIS is why they question my joining the team. “What else could you possibly do with that product”. While I’m not going to be a developer for IIS 7, I do cherish the opportunity to leave my ideas at the desk of those that can at least consider just what I think can be improved. Depending on what survey you read, Microsoft’s market share of the web server space has plenty of room for improvement. In fact, since the .COM bust, it appears that IIS 7 has been losing its market share. But obviously, market share isn’t everything: “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?” So what else is there? How about increased security and anti-fraud mechanisms? Dissemination of information is only as good as the information being purveyed. Sure IE 7 is going to take up some of the slack here. But couldn’t IIS 7 also provide some of this capability as well? Couldn’t it help protect against spoof sites? Perhaps a combination of IE 7 and IIS 7 would help scuttle the whole phishing business all together.

As I stated in my previous post, I have a million ideas, and at times, I’m overwhelmed with what to do with them. I’m hoping to pour some of this emotion into a product, and I cannot see a better product to be a part of — in whatever capacity I can be of use.

I hope this satisfies some of your curiosity. Thanks for listening.

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