Configuring the Global Assembly Cache

Configuration of the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) should be done by a developer 99 percent of the time because developers are most familiar with what their applications do and do not need. We touch on the GAC briefly here so that you, as a server administrator, have an idea of what its configuration actually entails.

The .NET Framework is capable of side-by-side DLL execution. Therefore, you can have two DLLs with the same name on the same machine and in the same folder. This enables applications to use the DLL that fits their needs. Application A may need version 1.0 of a certain DLL while a newer Application B may require version 2.0 of the same DLL. The .NET Framework Configuration MMC snap-in enables you to configure applications to use particular components. In the example just given, Application A can be set to use only the brian.dll file, versions 1.0 through 1.76. This ensures that if multiple brian.dll files are on the server, it uses the correct one, preventing the application from crashing.

To configure an assembly, right-click Configured Assemblies within the .NET Framework Configuration console and then choose Add from the pop-up menu. You have the opportunity to choose an existing assembly (also known as a DLL) on the system or a new one that has not been registered in the GAC, as shown in Figure 4-7.

Figure 4-7: Configure assemblies using the .NET Framework Configuration console.

Because your server probably hasn't had the opportunity to be overrun by programmers and thus has no custom assemblies in place, you want to choose an existing assembly, as shown in Figure 4-8.

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