Do I Need the Web Adaptor? IIS or Java?

12-04-2014 08:15 AM
New Contributor II

In brief, we (a US University) deploying a new instance of ArcGIS Server 10.2.2 on Windows 2008 R2 with separate database and application servers. There is no existing web server, this will also be new. The objective is to provide web-based maps to various user groups within the University community (for example, the general campus map will be available to the public, but we also intend to maintain infrastructure maps that will only be accessible to physical plant staff via either Active Directory or LDAP authentication). The geographic extent of the maps is unlikely to extend beyond our single campus.

I've read the documentation here ArcGIS Help (10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2) and have spoken with our IT staff who will be performing the install and maintaining the servers. They are of the opinion that we should install the Web Adaptor for the load balancing benefits and so we can hide the default port and admin directory. I'm inclined to agree with them, but is there anything we may have overlooked?

Assuming we do need the Web Adaptor, they want me to decide whether to use IIS or Java. They're not GIS people and I'm not an IT person.

I've come up with very little in my attempts to research this. The GIS wiki on the subject ( is a blank page. The best I've been able to find is a 2.5 year old discussion (ArcGIS Server on Windows Server 2008 - .NET or Java Backend - Geographic Information Systems Stack E... )where a fellow named George says:

On a Windows environment I don't see much benefit of using the Java edition of AGS. It's another server for you to manage and it's not fully integrated as IIS with Microsoft options. That is, your setup will leak complexity to your code/deploy/maintenance process.

On Windows I would go 100% with IIS and .NET.

This sounds logical to me, but I don't have the technical knowledge to back up the decision beyond repeating the above.

My questions are:

  • Does ArcGIS Server perform any differently (better/worse) on IIS vs Java platforms?
  • What would lead one to choose IIS over Java or vice versa?
  • Why does it matter?
5 Replies
Occasional Contributor II

Web adapter advantages that seem relevant to you:

Will you or IT be doing the support and setup of the web adaptor and authentication? Do they prefer IIS? Because you should choose the one (IIS or Java) that the people doing the support and management are more comfortable with.

As I use Windows servers I would choose IIS, for ease of management and setup (and probably easier to integrate with Active Directory), but more importantly because that is what will be easier to for me to manage and support. And I haven't seen any downsides to running the web adapter yet.

New Contributor II

IT will be doing support and setup, I just make & publish maps. They don't have a preference - they just don't know whether GIS, while supporting both IIS & Java, might run better using one over the other and don't want to be responsible for making the wrong choice. Basically, they've passed the buck and it stops here.

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New Contributor

I expect that you came to a resolution to this as it has been six months since you posted your question. Will you please enlighten me as to what your ultimate solution was?

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

I wrote a comparison for .net vs. java (before the current web adapter model) back in 2007 which is still in the forum archives Java or .NET  that might be helpful. But if I remember correctly, starting in 10.2 or 10.2.2 there was only one version.  That is, you no longer have to specify the flavor you want.  But maybe you are asking IIS vs another (JAVA) web server, in which case, I can't be of much help.

However, I know in our situation, I have Server with web adapter in IIS, and therefore our services are served thru IIS. However, the web folks do not us IIS (not sure what web server they use) and they are able to access my services without any issues, although we did need to set up a proxy for the cross platform and to access our secure service).

As for Web Adapter, I personally recommend it for a number of reasons, unless everything is going to be totally in house so you can refer to the server name.

New Contributor

Thank you, Rebecca. Your input is helpful.

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