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Deploying ArcGIS Enterprise

05-19-2023 04:22 AM
New Contributor

I am a one man GIS department and my company is finally taking steps to deploy Enterprise later this year. I am curious to hear any tips, tricks, do’s and dont’s, or general advice that you may have for me. Anything involved with your experience of deploying Enterprise.

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5 Replies
MVP Regular Contributor

I didn't do my organization's initial deployment, but the Federation process really made my predecessor nervous. Ultimately it's basically essential, but have an ESRI rep on hand and make sure you're ready, because unlike many other steps in the deployment, once you federate and actually get your users...using the software, there's no going back without pretty much re-doing the whole dang thing.

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Esri Contributor

As a small GIS department, you may want to install all your ArcGIS Enterprise components onto a single server (known as a Base deployment). In which case I recommend you use the ArcGIS Enterprise Builder. It deals with all those tricky bits like Federation, Web Adaptors, Licensing etc for you.

Occasional Contributor III

A good suggestion, however recognize that using the "canned" Enterprise Builder method does limit some organization/site specific configuration settings that may lead to success, failure or inhibit grow out options later on.  

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Regular Contributor II

If you have a big server with space for many VMs then put one component per VM -- one for Portal, one for Server, one for Datastore, one for your flavor of database server. I ended up with Portal and Web Adaptors and IIS on one, which works fine.

If it were up to me alone, I would put them on Linux and use PostgreSQL as the database but that's me (and I will retire soon). We are a mixed shop here so Esri software runs on Windows. (Our concurrent license manager is on CentOS.)

I don't feel there would be an advantage of using PostgreSQL, but I have more experience with it. Our IT group runs SQL Server and they manage it for us, so we use that.

One of the reasons for one component per VM is snapshot backups. Whenever you call in to Esri support and they hit a broken component that they can't fix, they will say "can you drop back to yesterday's snapshot?" and if the SQL Server is on the same machine, the answer will be "NO, we will lose work". 

Another reason is that you will have some license limit on the CPUs and if you have (like us) a 4 CPU limit, you get 4 per machine = 16 vs 4 total for everything.

Interesting about federation. I don't remember that being an issue. Esri support has always been good enough over the phone for us. (Though occasionally they can't help at all.)  I can't imagine what it would cost to bring someone in here physically.

Upgrades have always been a pain. I am getting ready to go from 10.9.1 to 11 now. Every time we upgrade, something breaks. Last time, EVERY Web App Builder application stopped working (and no, Esri could not figure it out.) Only the Developer Edition apps survived so that's all we use now.


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Regular Contributor

I am also a one man GIS department and we started using ArcGIS Enterprise in 2016.

  • I would also recommend running the three main ArcGIS Enterprise components on different servers (physical or virtual) for the same reasons stated above. I would recommend virtual servers to have the snapshot availability. I guess I do not fully trust Esri's backup and restore tools. I still use the backup tools, but I think using both is safer.
  • Start with a fresh ArcGIS Server instance for the hosting server. I would not recommend trying to federate an existing ArcGIS Server instance. I did that back in 2016 and had all kinds of odd issues over the years that went away we I migrated to new servers and started with a fresh install of everything.
  • Be patient, some of the installers can take a long time to complete and look like that are not doing anything. Depending on the servers it can take awhile.
  • But... sometimes the installers will hang for some reason. I do not think that happened during my last fresh install but it has happened often with upgrades. Contact Esri Support before trying to cancel or close anything.
  • Read and re-read the ArcGIS Enterprise help documentation about installing and configuring. It is really helpful to know what to expect and make sure you are not skipping any steps.
  • Create an admin account to manage the deployment and a separate account to publish/create content.
  • Come up with some standards for naming conventions (for services, items, folders, tags, etc.) and content organization before you start loading content.
  • Make sure your storage for ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Portal config directories have good performance with small, random input/output. Otherwise ArcGIS Enterprise will be slow for many operations (

I hope that helps.

"Not all those who wander are lost" ~ Tolkien