Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Mike Kavis, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, VictorOps Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Why Are You Waiting?

Moving from Microsoft IIS to Apache on Linux

Why haven't you already moved your Microsoft Windows IIS server infrastructure to Apache on Linux? Does the idea that something is inexpensive (free) automatically bring to mind the old adage, "You get what you pay for?" Do you fear that your IT staff will not be able to support the new platform? Will you be able to find competent developers to maintain, enhance, and develop new Web sites based on Apache on Linux? Perhaps you have specific technical concerns - all your Web pages were written in ASP (Microsoft Active Server Pages): How can you get these to run on Apache on Linux without a huge investment of time and money?

In this article I attempt to address these concerns and others that might be delaying your decision to move to Apache on Linux. I'll also cover the steps you need to take to make a successful transition once you have decided to make the move.

Why Should You Move?

Patches Anyone?

Many people have heard the "free as in beer" versus "free as in speech" discussions around open source software. While cost is a strong motivator, the number one factor you should consider when contemplating migration from Microsoft IIS to Apache on Linux is the increased security and stability of your Web server. This leads to less downtime and lower maintenance and support costs. Apache has more than 65% of the Web server market and IIS has nearly 21% of the market (Netcraft.com). When it comes to security vulnerabilities, which platform have you heard the most about - IIS or Apache? Wouldn't you expect that the product with the largest market share would have the greatest exposure? I have a general mistrust of statistics, so while this seems to be compelling data, I would encourage you to find out for yourself which of the two Web servers is most secure. Do this by spending some time looking through the vulnerability reports at the major security information clearinghouses. I recommend checking out www.cert.org and www.securityfocus.com. Both have searchable databases of vulnerabilities that you can use to draw your own conclusions.

Free as in Speech

You still have questions. How will I support Apache on Linux? What are my options for maintaining, enhancing, and developing Web sites? This is the area that I feel really weighs in favor of switching to Apache on Linux. There are several important ways that Apache on Linux brings more freedom to your IT investments. The first is probably the most obvious - Apache on Linux gives you a choice of vendors. Doesn't everyone want choice? Isn't that what our day and age is all about? Isn't it ironic then that when it comes to global operating-systems' market share, many companies see their options as Microsoft, Microsoft, and then you also have…Microsoft. At the risk of offending the 200+ Linux distributions out there, I consider at least a half dozen of them enterprise worthy. This gives you a tremendous range of choices, from commercially supported distributions such as SUSE and Red Hat, to community-supported distributions such as Debian and Gentoo. There are third-party companies offering support and training for all of the major Linux distributions. This is empowering. You have choice. You don't like the support you're getting from one vendor? Choose a different one. With large vendors like Novell and IBM offering services and support for Linux, you can have the security of a large organization backing your IT purchases, if you so desire.

What about development? The choices there are even broader. There is a large and growing community of open source technology developers and companies available. A number of technologies are widely accepted as excellent platforms for Web development. There are a plethora of resources available for LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and other open source Web technologies. Entire communities have grown up around these technologies. Free support is available not only on the excellent community Web sites (such as www.php.net), but also in a variety of other forums, newsgroups, and mailing lists. Your choice is not limited to free support, however; there are a number of highly reputable companies offering support and training for the development technologies as well.

What if a portion of your Web site is made up of ASP code? Am I recommending that you reinvent the wheel? By no means. There are solutions available for this problem, such as Sun ONE Active Server Pages, as well as other vendors and solutions for migrating ASP and ASP .NET code. Feel free to drop me an e-mail and I can point you to other solutions that fit your specific scenario.

Free as in Beer

Why are more than 65% of the world's Web sites running on Apache servers? Is it because Apache is freely available, open source software or is it because it works really well? One of the most counterintuitive things about Apache on Linux is that free does not mean inferior. The old adage just does not hold true in this case.

How Do I Plan for a Migration?

If you have decided to make the switch to Apache, the single most important thing you can do right now is plan for the move. What Linux distribution do you plan on using? Do you need to purchase new hardware or can you use your existing Windows box (for many applications Linux requires much less processing power than Windows). Do you have Windows ASP or ASP.NET code that needs to be (1) converted, (2) rewritten, or (3) run on Linux? There are many technical issues that need to be addressed when considering reconfiguring your Apache Web server. How will you migrate your passwords, virtual directories, the configuration settings, and your file system hierarchy?

Performing the Migration

I don't have the space in this article to cover an entire migration process, although I hope to do so in a future article. Figure 1 lists the steps required to perform a migration. I cover a portion of one of these steps in some detail, as an example.

Passwords as an Example

Many Web sites include some form of authentication. Web site passwords provide a good example of some of the technical issues to consider when migrating from IIS to Apache.

For years, the main option was what is now called "basic authentication." The client machine would send the password as plain text to the server, which would use whatever method it wanted to validate that password against its password store. As sending a password in clear text across the Internet is not secure, digest authentication was born. Unfortunately, digest authentication came around near the end of the browser wars and didn't quickly gain compliance in every browser. As such, it didn't quite take over as the main secure authentication method, losing to basic authentication over an SSL connection as the main source of security.

One more form of authentication also came out around this time: NTLM authentication. NTLM sends hashes of the password to the Web server in the default Windows password format, much the same as Windows networking does. This can be done without prompting the user for a password when run through IE on the local area network. This format took off as the easiest way to provide Web security over corporate networks. While originally only Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft IIS were also able to speak this way, in recent years the Mozilla (and derivative) browser and Apache (through numerous different modules) are able to speak NTLM.

IIS will verify all passwords in one of two ways: on the local machine, or against the domain controller that the server is connected to. This poses a problem for migration, as neither of these formats will allow us to get the passwords to migrate. (This is really a good security feature, as strong passwords should be a one-way street. If the password can be retrieved, it can be hacked.) If the passwords are stored on the local machine, we can retrieve a password hash. If the passwords are verified against a domain controller, Apache can be made to do that too.

This is one example of a technical issue that you may face when performing your migration. The good news is that there are tools and documented best practices for making this migration seamless.

Once You Are There

As you can see, there are some compelling reasons to consider moving from Microsoft IIS to Apache on Linux. But migrating is not without its concerns. As with many changes, educating yourself, planning the migration, and choosing the right tools are the keys to a successful transition.

Is Microsoft Going to Open Source IIS?

I received a call a couple of weeks ago from an industry analyst asking what I knew about Microsoft's plans to open source IIS. I responded that I hadn't heard anything about it, but if it is true it's probably a good idea.

Whether the rumor is true or not, I cannot imagine that Microsoft will do this. IIS has major challenges maintaining their existing market share. I hear rumblings of Microsoft's desire to eat back into Apache's market, however, they won't be able to do this until they are able to solve their gaping security problems. By then it may be too late.

More Stories By Jon Walker

Jon Walker serves as CTO of Versora, an ISV providing Microsoft to Linux migration software. Mr. Walker recently has co-authored 2 whitepapers with Novell titled Migrating from IS Web Servers to Apache SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9.0 and Migrating File and Print Servers from Windows to SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9. Prior to Versora, Mr. Walker was CTO/VP of Engineering for Miramar Systems. Software developed under his direction at Miramar has been deployed to over 20 million computers worldwide. Mr. Walker has also served as senior technologist for Nortel and Xing Technology (now Real Networks).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, will discuss how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the data to create additional revenue streams, such as improved warranties or premium features. Or slash...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
Containers are not new, but renewed commitments to performance, flexibility, and agility have propelled them to the top of the agenda today. By working without the need for virtualization and its overhead, containers are seen as the perfect way to deploy apps and services across multiple clouds. Containers can handle anything from file types to operating systems and services, including microservices. What are microservices? Unlike what the name implies, microservices are not necessarily small, but are focused on specific tasks. The ability for developers to deploy multiple containers – thous...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on demos and comprehensive walkthroughs.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.