Our web environment is currently running a single machine install of ArcGIS Server 10.4.1 Advanced. This meets all of our current needs (mobile editing with Collector, hosting map / feature services, adding map / feature services as items within AGO for end users, creating caches for custom base maps, using services within web map for WAB, etc...).
We have started looking at upgrading our web environment to 10.5.1 and I'm a little confused about ArcGIS Enterprise. I've read a base deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise consists of a combination of 3 products:
- ArcGIS Server
- Portal for ArcGIS
- ArcGIS Data Store
We have never seen a need for Portal for ArcGIS as we have always used AGO for Organizations as a means of publishing web maps via our services created through our own ArcGIS Server. With AGO for Organizations we have no additional software or hardware to maintain, and we have no reason to install Portal for ArcGIS, which, the only compelling reason I've ever heard anyone from Esri say to go with Portal over AGO for Organizations is if your data needs to be housed on-premise and behind a firewall.
So...my first question is: do we really need to install Portal for ArcGIS? Is this a requirement at 10.5.1?...or does it come along for the ride starting at 10.5.1 for those who wish to deploy it? Having worked a bit with ArcGIS Pro 2.0 there is no way to publish a service to ArcGIS Server. So, is our current workflow going to become obsolete once ArcGIS Pro is mainstream and ArcMap is only in maintenance mode? Our current workflow is to use ArcMap to publish map / feature services, add those to a web map in AGO for Organizations, and consume the web map in either AGO, Collector, Web AppBuilder, etc...
I'm very curious what the optimum workflow is from Esri's point of view for publishing services through ArcGIS Pro. You are able to share a web map to a portal, share a feature layer to a portal, but what exactly does that mean? There's no way we want to publish hosted feature layers if we have Server. Perhaps this is different if you are dealing with Portal, but to me, a hosted feature layer is a static snapshot of your data which is living in the cloud, and not referencing production or replicated data.
My second question is: what exactly is the data store used for? Is it a necessary component? We have registered folders and databases with ArcGIS Server so we don't have to copy data to the server. In this blog, it mentions that 10.5.1 will be the last release to support anything other than the data store product as a data store for a hosting server. So...can services no longer reference a file gdb, enterprise gdb? Does a data store somehow reference production / replicated data sources to ensure 'live' data is being served by the services?
I'd appreciate any comments from the Esri Server team, or others that have a far better understanding than I on ArcGIS Enterprise, on how each component of ArcGIS Enterprise is meant to be used, seeing as how our current system only uses ArcGIS Server along with AGO for Organizations and meets our needs wonderfully.