Annual Maintenance Pros / Cons?

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04-03-2018 11:43 AM
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Occasional Contributor

Hey folks. I have, forever, assumed that the annual maintenance we pay for our ArcGIS Server commercial license was required. However, I've now realized it is not. I mean, the first year of maintenance was included, but after that, we can opt to not pay annual maintenance. 

I'd like to know the pros and cons of the maintenance. Maybe via war-story examples from folks that opted to not pay maintenance and learned the hard way what sort of mistake that can be, or alternately, how not paying maintenance turned out to be a perfectly acceptable solution for someone else.

In general, the most obvious con for us is cost. But I'd love to read other thoughts on this!

Moreover, one detail that is not clear is if you buy additional cores for server, is there a maintenance fee for those?

If you paid maintenance for the server, but not the additional cores, what would happen?

Thanks for any input folks!

Nick

3 Replies
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MVP Esteemed Contributor

I can mention a couple quick thoughts...(may add more later).  FYI - I have been the maintainer of our licenses for 33+ years (from back in the ArcInfo Workstation 3.0 days thru all the Enterprise stuff).

- if you do not maintain it and decide that in 3 or 4 years you want to upgrade, you basically have to pay all the back maintenace and sometimes are better off just buying a new license.

- no "included" tech support (I think you can purchase per incident support)....although geonet is here

- any ArcGIS Online (not sure about Portal) named users that are ties to the Enterprise/Server license will go away.

fwiw

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Nicholas,

Pros: with maintenance, you get

- access to the latest software updates;

- access to participate in software early adopter and beta programs;

- unlimited access to all of Esri's e-learning resources, https://www.esri.com/training/unlimited-esri-training/ 

Hope this helps,

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Occasional Contributor II

We're kicking around this idea ourselves. If we were going to opt out here's why:

  • Our budget has become very tight and we need new field equipment.
  • We aren't going to migrate ArcGIS Desktop or Server beyond 10.5.1 because we don't want to implement the necessary changes in our architecture to accommodate a redundant 10.6.x data-store.
  • Almost no development of ArcMap or Catalog anymore as ESRI focuses on Pro.
  • We've kept a close eye on Pro's development. It isn't ready to replace ArcMap/Catalog and at the rate they're going, it won't be for a few years after they've pulled the plug on ArcMap/Catalog. I tried in earnest to force myself to use Pro. I learned that no matter how much I wanted to like it, I couldn't. It isn't very good. It isn't stable. It does many things poorly that ArcMap & Catalog do well. At this point, I can honestly say that other than being 64 bit, in terms of overall user experience, its a step backward. Moreover, it has project-based approach that doesn't jibe with an enterprise GIS environment. It has a few cool bells and whistles but overall, its poorly implemented and not production-worthy. I feel like our maintenance money is currently being spent on Pro's development rather than the software we actually use right now.
  • ESRI support isn't very good unless you can get routed to American support (which is quite good). That has become more difficult. It used to be, I'd tell them I had a question about ARCINFO workstation and they'd immediately route me stateside, but alas, those days are gone. I generally get better answers from the online communities.
  • We don't have many power users who crave the latest and greatest. In fact, most our users would probably be happy if the software they use never changed.
  • QGIS could work well for us if we don't want to re-buy licenses down the road. It's better than Pro, in my opinion, and it's free.

That said, we really like AGO. We would continue to pay for AGO accounts.

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