Joshr
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:40 pm

IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:12 pm

I have an application which requires IIS. I see that I can configure IIS through either the Windows Features or Windows Server Roles section of Advanced Installer, but there is no guidance as to which should be used.

From what I understand, Server Roles are typically a function of Windows Server editions, as opposed to Desktop, but the Windows Features section in Advanced Installer allows me to select Windows Server editions under "Target Operating Systems".

So I'm not sure whether I should use Windows Features, Server Roles, or both to configure ISS in my installer. Which is appropriate in which cases?

Thank you.

Catalin
Posts: 4206
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 am

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:36 pm

Hello,

If we have a look over the "Prerequisites Page" article, we can notice that:
Windows Server Roles:
Roles selected in this view only apply when running the package on a Windows Server. They will be ignored on any other OS type.
With that being said, your assumtion is indeed correct:
From what I understand, Server Roles are typically a function of Windows Server editions, as opposed to Desktop
Hope things are clearer now!

Best regards,
Catalin
Catalin Gheorghe - Advanced Installer Team
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Joshr
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:40 pm

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:54 am

Thank you for the reply.

How are features, that are also roles, handled when selected for a server edition OS? For example, if I select IIS in Server Roles and then also select IIS in the Features for server editions, which one is applied?

Catalin
Posts: 4206
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 am

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:35 pm

Hello Josh,

As I have explained above, the roles will only be installed when the setup is run on a Windows Server machine.

Server roles refer to the roles that your server can play on your network — roles such as a file server, a web server (IIS), or a DHCP or DNS server.

On the other hand, features refer to additional capabilities of the Windows operating system itself, such as the . NET Framework or IIS.

More information about this in the following Microsoft article:

Roles, Role Services, and Features

Hope things are clearer now.

Best regards,
Catalin
Catalin Gheorghe - Advanced Installer Team
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Joshr
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:40 pm

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:31 am

I am apparently not asking the question correctly. I am aware that server roles are for Server Editions of Windows. I even stated as much in my original post. I am asking what will happen when:

1) I create a new install package
2) Under Prerequisites, I right click "Windows Features" and click "Add New Windows Feature Bundle"
3) In the newly created bundle, check ONLY the "2019" check box in the "Server" row
4) Expand "Internet Information Services"
5) Expand "World Wide Web Services"
6) Expand "Application Development Features"
7) Check the "ASP.NET 3.5" checkbox

And then:

1) Select "Windows Server Roles"
2) Check the "Web Server (IIS)" checkbox
3) Select the newly created "Web Server (IIS)"
4) Check the "ASP.NET 3.5" checkbox

This installer is now configured to install "ASP.NET 3.5" as a both a Feature and a Server Role when installed on Windows Server 2019. Assuming this install package is ran on Windows Server 2019:

1) It's obvious that this installer should install IIS with ASP.NET 3.5 support, but is it installed as a Feature? A Server Role? Both? Is there a difference?
2) After the installation, is there a functional difference to an end user between installing the component as a Features Bundle or a Server Role?
3) What happens if I check a IIS component in the Server Role, but not in the Feature Bundle and vice versa?

And finally, when targeting server editions of Windows, which would be the preferred configuration in Advanced Installer: using Feature Bundles or Server Roles? If it's Server Roles, why are the same components available under both Feature Bundles and Server Roles when targeting Server editions of Windows?

Joshr
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:40 pm

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:17 am

Hello,

I just wanted to follow up on this.

Thank you.

Catalin
Posts: 4206
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 am

Re: IIS: Windows Feature or Server Role?

Thu Jul 01, 2021 2:32 pm

Hello Josh,

First of all, please accept my apologies for the delayed reply.

Also, I am sorry for misunderstading your question.
This installer is now configured to install "ASP.NET 3.5" as a both a Feature and a Server Role when installed on Windows Server 2019. Assuming this install package is ran on Windows Server 2019:
1) It's obvious that this installer should install IIS with ASP.NET 3.5 support, but is it installed as a Feature? A Server Role? Both? Is there a difference?
I have tested just now two setups, one with a "Windows Feature" and the other with a "Windows Server Role".

Based on the event logs (from the eventvwr.msc), both do the same:
WinFeat.png
WinFeat.png (328.17 KiB) Viewed 2526 times
WinServerRoles.png
WinServerRoles.png (236.85 KiB) Viewed 2526 times

It is indeed true that the "Windows Feature" installation seem to have more events:
EventCount.png
EventCount.png (58.59 KiB) Viewed 2526 times


However, all those events that differ give the following message:
"Initiating changes to turn off update..."

With that being said, there is no difference between the two.

Here are the saved event logs in case you want to have a look over them:
Win Feature vs Win Server Role.zip
(5.95 KiB) Downloaded 60 times

Hope things are clearer now!

Best regards,
Catalin
Catalin Gheorghe - Advanced Installer Team
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