Between juggling the finance department’s demands for on-line stock quotes (why they can’t figure out PointCast, I don’t know) and Human Resources’ attempt to print 5,000 copies of the employee handbook on a dot-matrix, you barely have enough time to remember that you have a report on this month’s downtime due on your boss’ desk like, yesterday. Not to mention, you’d like to get up-to-date on the latest and greatest toys… and maybe, just maybe, squeeze in a little certification?

Well, of course! Here’s how to kill two birds (or three or four) with the broad side of a barn (my apologies to the bird lovers and mixed-metaphor haters).

Internet Information Server (IIS 4.0 in its latest incarnation) is Microsoft’s answer to managing Web and FTP services. It is, for all intents and purposes, perhaps one of the easiest ways to administer a Web site, publish to FTP or the Web, and manage your Web resources—even if you’re in Bermuda at that TechNet conference. Using it will free up all kinds of time for the thousand other emergencies on your desk, and being MS-certified will make a big impression on managers. Best of all, IIS 4.0 is FREE—it’s included in the NT Option Pack.

IIS 4.0 has a sweet little feature in the GUI resource manager. The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is something with which you’ll need to be very familiar—it’s the future of NT. (If you’ve installed Windows 2000 Beta 3, you know exactly what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, Willis.) It provides you with management control for your HTML and network administration. Microsoft is very committed to ensuring that the MMC is the tool for use in the new millennium.

The MMC isn’t bad at all. Actually, in a Microsoft kinda way, it’s very intuitive. You can be as vague or as focused as you wish on what you want to control. Hey, want to set up a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) so a client can dump data to you from Rio de Janeiro? How about logging the number of unsuccessful attempts at your port 21? Host multiple sites via one IP address (the Internic has been getting stingy these last few days…until Ipv6, of course).

Would you like some clues on the Microsoft IIS 4.0 test material?
Boiled down, there are seven facets to the IIS 4 exam. See the chart below for a crib sheet of info on each. This should provide a basic idea of what’s covered on the Microsoft exam.

Microsoft’s iis 4.0 exam categories
Planning HTTP 1.1, WWW, FTP, SMTP, NNTP, Index, Certificate, and Transaction Servers
Installing and Configuring IIS needs NT Server 4, at least Service Pack 3 (better make that 4—SP3 isn’t fully Y2K compliant) and IE 4.x or above
Configuring and Management Resources, access to, basic NT user authentication, Secure Socket Layer (port 443)
Integration and Interoperability More ODBC and indexing services than you can shake a stick at
Applications The wonderful world of scripting: CGI, Perl, ISAPI
Optimizing and Monitoring Hey, performance tuning, Andretti
Troubleshooting Everything you ever wanted to know about HTTP error messages but was afraid to ask (you know, 404 File not found and its ilk)
The IIS 4.0 exam covers these categories.

Once you’ve got these down, don’t forget to take that week’s vacation to the Caribbean. If the Man gives you a hassle, you still have a trump: Just dazzle him with your omnipotent powers, thanks to your trusty laptop and a hotel room with a data connection (and a nice view of the crystal blue waters). Microsoft provides the Internet Service Manager as a way to administer and configure your IIS server from any PC that’s patched into the Internet.

Excuse me. I hear some Bob Marley calling me to party on the beach now.
This article originally appeared in the AdminRepublic. If you’d like to comment on this article, follow this link to write to Ivan.