Help a newbie decide how to set up Server

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03-03-2016 07:26 AM
AdrianWelsh
MVP Notable Contributor

I have never been on the back end of setting up a server for the first time and now I find myself working for a small company that is just getting its feet wet with GIS. The issue is, I am not sure where to start and not sure if I should consult the GeoNet or my local Esri rep.

There seems to be so many options out there and I want to make sure I get things setup right initially. We do not have a real dedicated server machine in our building so we are looking at options on this (like do we outsource and use something like Amazon web services, do we dedicate a local machine in-house, etc.). My company has a standard ArcGIS Server Workgroup license (with two cores, whatever that means). We will be wanting to host data on our ArcGIS Online site and will want to be able to update that data regularly. We will also want some secure services and things like that (and we are in the US).

We do not have a back-end relational database but I believe we are working towards getting one on PostgreSQL, from what I understand. Our website has a MySQL component that could work, I suppose, but then again, I am unfamiliar with configuring these types of relational databases (though, I would love to learn).

Ok GeoNet, the question is, where is the best place for me to start? How should I best approach this to get the most value and functionality? Are options like ArcGIS for Portal or an SDE likely possibilities for me?

Thanks!

21 Replies
SteveCole
Frequent Contributor

I don't have the dubious honor of having to do what you're trying to do so I don't really know the ins & outs. Our organization is having performance issues under peak loads so I'm trying to research what I have no control over.

That being said, there are some good links (and perhaps a good book to pick up) about setting up Server in this thread.

Good luck!

Steve

MichaelVolz
Esteemed Contributor

Are you having performance issues with all your services or just specific services?

Do you have a multi-server environment?  If so, can you set your hardest hit service(s) on 1 server in its own cluster and put all the other services in another cluster using the other server?

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SteveCole
Frequent Contributor

Michael Volz​ It's the same issue we were discussing in my thread about designing load tests. I don't have anything really new to report; I just think we're using under-powered resources to support high demand services. In other words, we can't really support high demand services given our current resources.

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MichaelVolz
Esteemed Contributor

Sorry to hijack this thread, but Steve did you ever try using the python code example to move your stream gauge service to AGOL which is most likely much more scalable than your hosted environment?

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AdrianWelsh
MVP Notable Contributor

SteveCole
Frequent Contributor

Sorry, no, I haven't. Part of me isn't happy that I'm doing someone else's job for them and the other part of me got busy with other things. Plus it's not currently flooding.

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AdrianWelsh
MVP Notable Contributor

That book (Administering ArcGIS for Server: Hussein Nasser: 9781782177364: Amazon.com: Books  ) is sounding more and more like good starting place for a lot of this.

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BrianOevermann
Occasional Contributor III

Adrian,

Previous posts have pointed you to some decent sources of info. You don't provide much info regarding what you are needing the map server for, so we can only speculate regarding your true needs. You mention you already have Server Workgroup but we don't know if someone at your company got talked into buying a license and now you need to figure out how to implement it or if it was purchased by someone prior to you with more knowledge and they left before implementation and you are assigned to pick up where that person left off but with less knowledge.

Depending on your needs, you may be able to just use ArcGIS Online and pay Esri to host your data. You could get rid of the Workgroup license cost and put it toward AGOL and hosting. You already mentioned Amazon Web Services, which could save you from managing the hardware but I don't know how your existing Workgroup license might be leveraged (does it just transfer?). Both of these scenarios could save you from the hassles of maintaining hardware. Your overall knowledge level, such as with relational databases, should also be taken into account. It's evident that you have a willingness to learn but do you have the time and resources to do so? And what are the expectations of your employer? Do they understand where you are on the knowledge arc for Server or do they believe that because you "know computers" you automatically know Server? I have co-workers who believe I am a Windows desktop support specialist simply because my desk was once in IT (my job has always been as a GIS Coordinator). I call it "abilities by association".

You also mention needing some secure services, so maybe your data is sensitive enough that you don't want it hosted off-site. Someone mentioned that Portal (should you decide to host AGOL in-house) is recommended to be on a separate server. You say you work for a small company. Depending upon how beefy your server is and exactly how small your company is (i.e. how many users are expected to be hitting the server/Portal at one time) you may be just fine with both on the same box.

I think the book that was mentioned would give you a solid contextual knowledge of Server--enough to be able to ask the right questions of Esri reps or maybe a consultant hired to take your use case and recommend a setup or course of action. Rebecca's comment regarding an EDN subscription could make sense, but once you settle on a possible configuration, you may consider asking your Esri rep to provide a six month trial license (if you don't already have the necessary licenses) to test the viability of your decision. I'm not sure if Esri does that much anymore but it would be worth asking.

BTW, SDE is part of ArcGIS for Server Standard (Workgroup or Enterprise), so you just need to have a compatible relational database (yet another additional cost/license and possibly another server box).

AdrianWelsh
MVP Notable Contributor

Brian,

I really appreciate the response and this is good info. Server workgroup was purchased prior to me starting at this company and it is still unclear on our exact needs (unfortunately). I fully understand about being considered an “IT” person just because “I know computers”. But, I’m sure everyone has gone through this and for the most part, us “IT” people have helped fix a few things (like, did you restart your PC???, etc.).

I finally did call my Esri sales rep and it just left me more confused than before. I suppose my company does not know exactly what we need or where we think we are going, so there are problems there. The Esri rep I talked to said that if we wanted to use Secure Services and have people outside of my organization access these services, then we would have to upgrade to the ‘higher’ version of Server that involves “Application Service Provider” and would cost waaaaay much more than my company would ever shell out.

From talking with the Esri guy, it sounds like my first steps might be just to install the Server Workgroup and kind of see what we can do from there (though, first we need to get a dedicated server, or go with Amazon web services or so).

And… with Server Workgroup Standard license, I can only use a MS SQL Server Express. So that really isn’t an option for now.

Again, thanks for your help and suggestions. I really do appreciate it.

Cheers,

Adrian

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