We are considering adding geoprocessing services on our ArcGIS Server infrastructure, and wondering what others' experiences were. Effect on performance is the biggest concern. I realize there are lots of variables there, but a specific use case would be a service which buffers point data. We currently have a single server site but expecting to bring a second server online soon. Alternatively considering using ArcGIS Online geoprocessing services, although that consumes credits. Wondering what others have done. Is there a reliable way to estimate performance impact, given an anticipated use case?
We are currently using this in a number of our web app's, for what you are doing this may not be a major work load, and with adding another server to load balance the system this should help as well, because if one is being used for processing it will flip the load to the other server. Do you have an ArcGIS server license? If so you can create a map service of your geoprocessing service and serve it from your server, this will not consume any credits.
It's difficult to provide expected results of any type of load test, as there are a number of variables to consider:
1) Resources on the machine
2) Other processes/software running on the machine
3) Where the data is located
4) Parameters specific to the tool, (dissolve edges, etc)
5) Number of users accessing the service
6) Location of the directories, (UNC or non-local paths will take a performance hit)
The best way to determine performance impact is to run a performance load test using something like JMeter or even something simple like Python. You can write a simple script that uses the threading module to simulate x number of users hitting the service at a given time. A proper load test application like JMeter or Road Runner will give you the best results, and JMeter is also free, which is a plus.
Are you literally just buffering points? ArcGIS Server's default geometry service will do that and more.