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Servant: Web Based Management Tool for Internet Information Services

by Anand Narayanaswamy on Feb 25, 2013 |

Servant for IIS is a simplified and automated web based tool for managing Internet Information Services (IIS). In order to install Servant, you simply double click Install Servant Service.bat and follow the on screen instructions. It can then be accessed either directly from the web browser or using your smartphone by providing the required credentials.

InfoQ talked to Jonas Hovgaard, Lead Developer about the various aspects of Servant for IIS.

InfoQ: What is the need for Servant?

IIS is a great webserver but the default manager makes it cumbersome and clumsy it administrate. Servant's purpose is to improve IIS by enabling easy and smooth administration combined with a set of new modern features.

InfoQ: What are the features of Servant which are not available in the default IIS?

The major new feature of Servant compared to the regular IIS Manager is the browser interface. Today you need to remotely log in to your server or set up "IIS Manager for Remote Administration". This is difficult if you're on different locations or different workstations. Servant is accessed from the browser - no VPN, no additional software, just direct access when you need it.

InfoQ: How Servant benefit Windows administrators?

The main purpose of Servant all comes down to stop wasting your time and simplifying your tasks.

InfoQ: Will there be any benefit for .NET developers if they make use of Servant?

Servant helps you track all unhandled exceptions out of the box. It crawls your server's event log and makes it possible to see all thrown exception on a given site directly from Servant. A lot of .NET developers struggle with finding the right exception in Windows Event Viewer or install plugins like ELMAH. With Servant there is no need for any of that.

InfoQ: Does Servant can be regarded as a replacement for IIS?

No, Servant is an extension. IIS is a great webserver but with a bad administration interface and outdated features. Servant fixes that.

InfoQ: Does Servant provide support for older version sof Windows?

In the future yes. Currently Servant has only been tested on IIS7 and up (So everything works from Windows 7 and up)

InfoQ: Can you share with us the future roadmap for Servant?

Yes, the planned features are:
  • Enable deployment via Git (out of the box on every site)
  • Multi-server support
  • Error monitoring on thrown exceptions with alerting feature
  • Server health monitoring
  • Integrated API enabling other services to work with your webserver

Servant is also available for installation as Chocolatey package.

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