We now have ArcGIS Server running and I have a questions about the best way to share the data on it with my agency.
I have the Local Government database installed and have populated some of it. I would like to know how other employees here will access that data? I know I can 'Share a Service' that everyone can access, but I need them to be able to get to the most recent data and don't want to create 'Services' for every dataset (or recreate them every time there's a change).
Is there a way to provide all of the agency GIS users read-only access to the Server, is it a good idea to create a single User profile that anyone in the agency can use to have access?
I would like to know how other people are accessing their Server data?
How are and how often are the various features edited? How critical is user access to the data?
Allow me to describe my current workflow: the data I manage is edited in an Enterprise database environment (SDE). I have a one way replica set up to a file geodatabase, and publish locators as well as map services using the file gdb as the source data. The file geodatabase is not registered with the server so everything is copied to the server. This allows me to make changes to the source data, the mxd, and any of the locators without impacting the published services . I also have two identical services, A and B; when one is 'hot', the other us not. These services are consumed in 9-1-1 dispatch, so I don't have the luxury of any downtime .
Let's say services A are hot. After making any changes to the source data, I publish services B. Once I'm satisfied the re-published services are ready for consumption , I make them active, and deactivate the others. The process cycle begins once again.
This has worked for me for a number of years and I present it merely as an example. It may or may not work for you, but hopefully answers your question of how people access the data.
Re-reading your original post, you only mention server, and not an enterprise geodatabase . If you do have a enterprise gdb and don't want to publish any services, you can give read only privileges to your users. I like to create groups at the database level, for example editors and users. That way in ArcCatalog its easy to grant the appropriate privileges to a given group instead of each individual user.