ASP.​NET Core in .NET 6 - Shadow-copying in IIS

This is the next part of the ASP.NET Core on .NET 6 series. In this post, I'd like to explore the Shadow-copying in IIS.

Since .NET is locking the assemblies that are running by a process, it is impossible to replace them during an update scenario. Specially in scenarios where you self-host an IIS server or where you need to update an running application via FTP.

To solve this, Microsoft added a new feature to the ASP.NET Core module for IIS to shadow copy the application assemblies to a specific folder.

Exploring Shadow-copying in IIS

To enable shadow-copying you need to install the latest preview version of the ASP.NET Core module

On a self-hosted IIS server, this requires a new version of the hosting bundle. On Azure App Services, you will be required to install a new ASP.NET Core runtime site extension (https://devblogs.microsoft.com/aspnet/asp-net-core-updates-in-net-6-preview-3/#shadow-copying-in-iis)

If you have the requirements ready, you should add a web.config to your project or edit the weg.config that is created during the publish process (dotnet publish). Since most of us are using continuous integration and can't touch the web.config after it gets crated automatically, you should add it to the project. Just copy the one that got created using dotnet publish. Continuous integration will not override an existing web.config.

To enable it you will need to add some new handlerSettings to the web.config:

<aspNetCore processPath="%LAUNCHER_PATH%" arguments="%LAUNCHER_ARGS%" stdoutLogEnabled="false" stdoutLogFile=".\logs\stdout">
    <handlerSettings>
        <handlerSetting name="experimentalEnableShadowCopy" value="true" />
        <handlerSetting name="shadowCopyDirectory" value="../ShadowCopyDirectory/" />
    </handlerSettings>
</aspNetCore>

This enables shadow-copying and specifies the shadow copy directory.

After the changes are deployed, you should be able to update the assemblies of a running application.

What's next?

In the next part In going to look into minimal APIs in ASP.NET Core.

If you found any error on this post, feel free to tell me: Add a comment below, file an issue on GitHub or edit this page on GitHub and send me an PullRequest.

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Jürgen Gutsch Jürgen Gutsch
@sharpcms
.NET junkie, addicted to web and software development, clean coder, MVP for Developer Technologies