Did you know that running a high performance PHP web site is now possible on Windows platform?
You can now achieve that by installing the FastCGI component on Vista, Longhorn Server, IIS 6.0 and IIS 5.1
What is FastCGI?
The IIS FastCGI component enables popular application frameworks like PHP be hosted on the IIS web server in a high-performance and reliable way.
FastCGI provides a high-performance alternative to the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), a standard way of interfacing external applications with Web servers that has been supported as part of the IIS feature-set since the very first release.
CGI programs are executables launched by the web server for each request in order to process the request and generate dynamic responses that are sent back to the client. Because many of these frameworks do not support multi-threaded execution, CGI enables them to execute reliably on IIS by executing exactly one request per process. Unfortunately, it provides poor performance due to the high cost of starting and shutting down a process for each request.
FastCGI overcomes this performance penalty by re-using CGI processes to service subsequent requests, while continuing to ensure single request concurrency. For more information on how FastCGI works, see http://www.fastcgi.com/devkit/doc/fastcgi-whitepaper/fastcgi.htm.
This technical preview contains an IIS7 module that provides FastCGI support on Windows Vista and Windows Server codenamed “Longhorn” Technical Preview releases, and an ISAPI extension that provides FastCGI support for previous versions of IIS on Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000. The Microsoft FastCGI component for IIS feature provides improved performance and (when the final version is released) will be supported along with the rest of the IIS feature-set. Learn more about setting up PHP together with IIS FastCGI in the article Using FastCGI with PHP.