Windows 2000 Server performance issues can be a big headache for administrators. After all, Windows 2000 is a complex system, and when things aren’t running quite the way they should, finding and resolving the performance problem can be difficult.
ISA Server is a product that directly meets the needs of network clients while protecting the network from intruders and content that is not allowed. Monitoring that system and the effectiveness of the server is another administrative job often forced on your plate. The good news, however, is that ISA Server provides with some helpful capabilities that allow you to easily monitor ISA Server and client usage.
One of the main features of ISA Server is its ability to cache Web pages so that clients can be served from the cache instead of Internet. In order words, when a client requests a Web page, ISA Server, according to the configured rules, retrieves that page from the Web, caches it, and returns the page to the client. When another client requests the same page, it can now be directly returned to the client from the cache, according to the TTL value. This caching function accounts for ISA's "acceleration feature. After all, ISA Server can more quickly serve a client from its disk cache than from the Internet.
Consider this scenario: Your company has recently accepted a contract with another company. During the contract period, hundreds of your company's employees will access a special Web site created by your partner company. The Web site contains a lot of documentation and other information that your employees will use during the contract period. To make the best use of Web site and to speed that Web site's information along to your employees, you make sure your cache policy is working in the most effective way, and as users begin accessing the Web site, your ISA Server arrays begin caching the data from the special Web site in order to serve it to your users more quickly.
For network administrators, the issue of remote management has been an ongoing dream and an ongoing problem. Windows 2000 alleviated much of the problem of remote management by providing a number of tools and features that enable network administrators to manage domain controllers across an entire network from one location. By simply connecting to the desired domain controller, you can manage the domain controller as if you are locally sitting at the machine.
The Active Directory is the network directory service in Windows 2000 networks, and since its release, IT professionals have had to face the fact that in Microsoft networking, all roads lead to the Active Directory. Indeed, as Microsoft continues to introduce new .NET server products and features, we continue to see how the Active Directory drives Microsoft networking and how important its features and management functions are. If you are deeply immersed in a Windows 2000 network, you know this statement is all too true.
ISA Server is a full-featured product that provides Internet security and acceleration functions for your internal clients, but as you are well aware, the reverse is also true. ISA Server can be used to allow inbound connections for external clients who need to access information on your network. This may include corporate clients or even Internet clients accessing your Web site.
ISA Server supports both distributed and hierarchical caching. In distributed caching, the ISA Server cache is distributed among array members. In hierarchical caching, different ISA Servers or arrays can connect to other ISA Servers or arrays for cached data access, or eventual access to the Internet. The array closest to the Internet is considered the "upstream" array while the array that is most far from the Internet is considered the "downstream" array. Aside from caching, a chained configuration can provide authentication functions as well.
As you are well aware, ISA Server can function as a caching server, a firewall, or in integrated mode where both firewall functionality and caching functionality are used together. In such cases, the ISA firewall and the Web Proxy Service are designed to function together so that all Web requests from firewall and SecureNAT clients are passed to the Web Proxy Service. This feature enables firewall and SecureNAT client to retrieve Web data that is cached on the ISA Server without any direct browser configuration. An application filter, called the HTTP Redirector, handles this feature.
As an ISA Server administrator, I’m sure you are quite aware of the need for service data. After all, good data helps you make wise configuration and performance management decisions. ISA Server helps you collect data in a number of different ways, and in this tutorial, we will focus on ISA Server log files, which can be an easy way to gather information about ISA Server performance and usage. Combined with reporting, log files can be highly effective.