Windows Server AppFabric IIS Manager Extensions

AppFabric provides an application management UI in extensions to the IIS Manager. These extensions provide enhanced management capabilities for applications that include WCF and/or WF services. The extensions enable you to perform AppFabric management tasks from the same UI that you are used to for Web application management tasks. The AppFabric management UI includes icons within the "AppFabric" area of the IIS Manager Features View and commands within the Actions pane. The AppFabric extensions to IIS Manager are intended as an application management tool, not as an operations management tool.

The AppFabric IIS Manager extensions have been implemented as a Windows PowerShell host. Many actions performed in the AppFabric application management UI execute one or more corresponding Windows PowerShell cmdlets. As a result, the AppFabric UI is a front end for AppFabric cmdlets that in turn act against IIS configuration files, WCF or WF operations, databases, or other back-end components. Not all AppFabric application management tasks can be performed in the IIS Manager UI. Those application management tasks that are not provided in IIS Manager can be performed by using other Windows PowerShell cmdlets. For more information about the architecture of the Windows PowerShell infrastructure in AppFabric and AppFabric cmdlets, see Windows PowerShell in Windows Server AppFabric.

The application management tasks in AppFabric can be broken down into three areas: application configuration, service instance and application controls, and monitoring queries.

Application Configuration

AppFabric provides you with a single configuration dialog box that contains tabs covering an array of configuration settings for each level of the IIS connection hierarchy: service, virtual directory, application, Web site, and server. You can configure a service directly, or you can apply default configuration settings defined at the virtual directory, application, site, and server level. The configuration dialog box is displayed when you select a service in the Features View or an application, site, or server in the Connections pane, and then click a Configure command in the IIS Manager Actions pane. You can also right-click a service and then click Configure, or right-click an application, site, or server, point to Manage WCF and WF Services, and then click Configure.

To apply configuration settings, AppFabric sets elements in the Web.config file associated with the virtual directory, application, site, and server. The Web.config files for these levels form a configuration hierarchy that can be applied to a service. If the configuration of a service is defined directly, the configuration values are set in a named behavior of the application’s Web.config file. If the service inherits its configuration from default values, the configuration is merged from nameless behaviors in the Web.config files for the virtual directory, application, site, and server (if defined). Some configuration fields will not be available at one level because the associated value at another level applies. In that case, the unavailable field will be grayed out in the UI. For more information about service configuration, see Configuration Process in Windows Server AppFabric.

The Windows Server AppFabric module for the IIS Manager provides a configuration dialog box for each of the levels in the IIS connections hierarchy: service, virtual directory, application, site, and server. This dialog box provides tabs for each of the types of configuration settings required in AppFabric for WCF- or WF-based services: General, Monitoring, Workflow Persistence, Workflow Host Management, Auto-Start (at the application scope only), Throttling, and Security. For more information about service configuration, see Configuring Applications and Services.

Service Instance and Application Controls

AppFabric commands in the Action pane of the IIS Manager enable you to perform a control operation on a service instance or an application. Alternatively, you can perform the control operations through the context menu of a service instance.

Control operations on a service instance include resuming, cancelling, terminating, or suspending the instance. When one of these control commands is executed, AppFabric either performs a WCF or WF operation, or changes a Web.config or other configuration file. Control commands are processed asynchronously, in that a control message is added to a queue of messages and executed accordingly. Depending on the type of command, service instance data may be persisted to, or pulled from, the persistence database. Which control operations are allowed depends upon the state of the service instance stored in the persistence database.

Control operations on an application include stopping and starting. Stopping an application saves a list of enabled protocols and the state of the auto-start mechanism. This enables the start command to resume the application to its original state. The stop and start commands apply to all applications, including .NET Framework 4 WCF- and WF-based applications.

Monitoring Queries

Enumeration and count displays in the AppFabric Dashboard and other screens of the AppFabric IIS Manager extensions provide lists as well as a count of items related to the management of WCF and WF applications and services. AppFabric enumerations include persisted workflow service instances, tracked workflow service instances, WCF calls, services, service instance endpoints, and tracked events. These lists include data that enables you to assess the status of a WCF or WF application. The AppFabric Dashboard displays metrics associated with the items in the lists, and the Action pane provides controls for controlling displayed service instances. Monitoring data for the AppFabric Dashboard and enumeration lists is aggregated from various sources, included the monitoring database, the persistence database, or in configuration files. AppFabric retrieves the data by running queries against the databases and/or pulling data from configuration files.

AppFabric enumeration screens include the following:

  • A list of the type of item being enumerated.

  • A query control that by default displays the elements used to generate the displayed list, and can be changed to run a custom query.

  • A Details pane that displays specified data about an item that has been selected in the enumeration list.

AppFabric Module Delegation

Features are grouped in the IIS Manager by module. The module is the unit for delegation, whereby an administrator grants access to certain features to all users connecting at a particular level. (Delegation does not enforce any user policy.) By default, the delegation property for the Windows Server AppFabric module is Read/Write. This means that all features in this module are readable and writable for all users by default.

You can view Delegation properties (if you have permissions to view them) by clicking the Feature Delegation icon in the Management area of the Features View. An administrator can change the delegation property in the Feature Delegation page by right-clicking the feature and selecting the appropriate setting.