Large ArcGIS Server 'Site': stability issues

10-14-2014 09:54 AM
Occasional Contributor II

We have an existing ArcGIS Server  (AGS) 10.0 solution that is hosting close to 1,000 mapping services.  We have been working on an upgrade to this environment to 10.2.1 for a few months now and we are having a hard time getting a stable environment.  These services have light use, and our program requirements are to have an environment that can handle large amounts of services with little use.  In the AGS 10.0 space we would set all services to 'low' isolation with 8 threads/instance.  We also had 90% of our services set to 0 min instances/node to save on memory.  Below is a summary of our approaches and where we are today.  I'm posting this to the community for information, and I am really interested in some feedback and or recommendations to make this move forward for our organization.

Background on deployment:

  • Targeted ArcGIS Server 10.2.1
  • Config-store/directories are hosted on a clustered file server (active/passive) and presented as a share: \\servername\share
  • Web-tier authentication
    • 1 web-adaptor with anonymous access
    • 1 web-adaptor with authenticated access (Integrated Windows Authentication with Kerberos and/or NTLM providers)
    • 1 web-adaptor 'internally' with authenticated access and administrative access enabled (use this for publishing)
  • User-store: Windows Domain
  • Role-store: Built-In

We have a few arcgis server deployments that look just like this and are all running fairly stable and with decent performance. 

Approach 1: Try to mirror (as close as possible) our 10.0 deployment methodology 1:1

  • Build 4 AGS 10.2.1 nodes (virtual machines).    
  • Build 4 individual clusters & add 1 machine to each cluster
  • Deploy 25% of the services to each cluster.  The AGS Nodes were initially spec'd with 4 CPU cores and 16GB of RAM.
    • Each ArcSOC.exe seems to consume anywhere from 100-125MB of RAM (sometimes up to 150 or as low as 70). 
    • Publishing 10% of the services with 1 min instance (and the other 90 to 0 min instances) would leaving around 25 ArcSOC.exe on each server when idle. 
    • The 16GB of RAM could host a total of 100-125 total instances leaving some room for services to startup instances when needed and scale slightly when in use.

our first problem we ran into was publishing services with 0 instances/node.  Esri confirmed 2 'bugs':

#NIM100965 GLOCK files in arcgisserver\config-store\lock folder become frozen when stop/start a service from admin with 0 minimum instances and refreshing the wsdl site

#NIM100306 : In ArcGIS Server 10.2.1, service with 'Minimum Instances' parameter set to 0 gets published with errors on a non-Default cluster

So... that required us to publish all of our services with at least 1 min instance per node.  At 1,000 services that means we needed 100-125GB of ram for all the ArcSOC.exe processes running without any future room for growth....

Approach 2: Double the RAM on the AGS Nodes

  • We added an additional 16GB of RAM to each AGS node (they now have 32GB of RAM) which should host 200-250 arcsoc.exe (which is tight to host all 1,000 services). 
  • We published about half of the services (around 500) and started seeing some major stability issues. 
    • During our publishing workflow... the clustered file server would crash. 
      • This file server hosts the config-store/directories for about 4 different *PRODUCTION* arcgis server sites. 
      • It also hosts our citrix users work spaces and about 13TB of raster data. 
      • During a crash, it would fail-over to the passive file server and after about 5 minutes the secondary file server would crash. 
      • This is considered a major outage!
    • On the last crash, some of the config-store was corrupted.  While trying to login to the 'admin' or 'manager' end-points, we received an error that had some sort of parsing issue.  I cannot find the exact error message.  We had disabled the primary site admin account, so went in to re-enable, but the super.json file was EMPTY!  We had our backup team restore the entire config-store from the previous day, and copied over the file.  I'm not sure what else was corrupted.  after restoring that file we were able to login again with our AD accounts. 

The file-server crash was clearly caused by publishing a large amounts of services to this new arcgis server environment.  We caused our clustered file servers to crash 3 separate times all during this publishing workflow.  We had no choice but to isolate this config-store/directories to an alternate location.  We moved it to a small web-server to see if we could simulate the crashes there and continue moving forward.  So far it has not crashed that server since. 

During bootups, with the AGS node hosting all the services, the service startup time was consistently between 20 and 25 minutes.  We were able to find a start-up timeout setting at each service that was set to 300 seconds (5 minutes) by default.  we set that to 1800 seconds (30 minutes) to try and get these machines to start-up properly.  What was happening is that all the arcsoc.exe processes would build and build until some point they would all start disappearing. 

In the meantime, we also reviewed the ArcGIS 10.2.2 Issues Addressed List which indicated:

NIM099289 Performance degradation in ArcGIS Server when the location of the configuration store is set to a network shared location (UNC).

We asked our Esri contacts for more information regarding this bug fix and basically got this:

…our product lead did provide the following as to what updates we made to address the following areas of concern listed inNIM099289:

  1. 1.       The Services Directory
  2. 2.       Server Manger
  3. 3.       Publishing/restarting services
  4. 4.       Desktop
  5. 5.       Diagnostics

ArcGIS Server was slow generating a list of services in multiple places in the software.  Before this change, ArcGIS Server would read from disk all services in a folder every time the a list of services was needed - this happened in the services directory, the manager, ArcCatalog, etc.  This is normally not that bad, but if you have many many services in a folder, and you have a high number of requests, and your UNC/network is not the fastest, then this can become very slow.  Instead we remember the services in a folder and only update our memory when they have changed.

Approach 3: Upgrade to 10.2.2 and add 3 more servers

  • We added 3 more servers to the 'site' (all 4CPU, 32GB RAM) and upgraded all to 10.2.2.  We actually re-built all the machines from scratch again
  • We threw away our existing 'config-store' and directories since we knew at least 1 file was corrupt.  We essentially started from square 1 again. 
  • All AGS nodes were installed with a fresh install of 10.2.2 (confirmed that refreshing folders from REST page were much faster). 
  • Config-store still hosted on web-server
  • We mapped our config-store to a DFS location so that we could move it around later
  • Published all 1,000 ish services successfully with across 7 separate 'clusters'
  • Changed all isolation back to 'high' for the time being. 

This is the closest we have gotten.  At least all services are published.  Unfortunately it is not very stable.  We continually receive a lot of errors, here is a brief summary:


SEVERE Instance of the service '<FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer' crashed. Please see if an error report was generated in 'C:\arcgisserver\logs\SERVERNAME.DOMAINNAME\errorreports'. To send an error report to Esri, compose an e-mail to and attach the error report file. Server 8252 440 1
SEVERE The primary site administrator '<PSA NAME>' exceeded the maximum number of failed login attempts allowed by ArcGIS Server and has been locked out of the system. Admin 7123 3720 1
SEVERE ServiceCatalog failed to process request. AutomationException: 0xc00cee3a - Server 8259 3136 3373
SEVERE Error while processing catalog request. AutomationException: null Server 7802 3568 17
SEVERE Failed to return security configuration. Another administrative operation is currently accessing the store. Please try again later. Admin 6618 3812 56
SEVERE Failed to compute the privilege for the user 'f7h/12VDDd0QS2ZGGBFLFmTCK1pvuUP1ezvgfUMOPgY='. Another administrative operation is currently accessing the store. Please try again later. Admin 6617 3248 1
SEVERE Unable to instantiate class for xml schema type: CIMDEGeographicFeatureLayer <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50000 49344 29764
SEVERE Invalid xml registry file: c:\program files\arcgis\server\bin\XmlSupport.dat <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50001 49344 29764
SEVERE Unable to instantiate class for xml schema type: CIMGISProject <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50000 49344 29764
SEVERE Invalid xml registry file: c:\program files\arcgis\server\bin\XmlSupport.dat <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50001 49344 29764
SEVERE Unable to instantiate class for xml schema type: CIMDocumentInfo <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50000 49344 29764
SEVERE Invalid xml registry file: c:\program files\arcgis\server\bin\XmlSupport.dat <FOLDER>/<SERVICE>.MapServer 50001 49344 29764
SEVERE Failed to initialize server object '<FOLDER>/<SERVICE>': 0x80043007: Server 8003 30832 17

Other observations:

  • Each AGS node makes 1 connection (session) to the file-server containing the config-store/directories
  • During idle times, only 35-55 files are actually open from that session.
  • During bootups (and bulk administrative operations), the file's open jump consistently between 1,000 and 2,000 open files per session
  • The 'system' process on the file server spikes especially during bulk administrative processes. 
  • The AGS nodes are consistently in communication with the file server (even when the site is idle).  CPU/Memory and Network monitor on that looks like this:
  • AGS nodes look similar.  It seems there is a lot of 'chatter' when sitting idle. 
  • Requests to a service succeed 90% of the time but 10% of the time we receive HTTP 500 errors:

Error: Error exporting map

Code: 500

Options for the future

We have an existing site with the ArcGIS SOM instance name of 'arcgis'.  These 1,000 services are running in that 10.0 site for the past few years.  Users have interacted with this using a URL like:<FOLDER>/<MapService>/MapServer

We are trying to host all these same services so that users accessing this URL will be un-impacted.  If we cannot, we will switch to 1 server in 1 cluster in 1 site (and instead have 7 sites).  We will then be re-publishing all our content to individual sites but will have different URL's:<FOLDER>/<MapService>/MapServer<FOLDER>/<MapService>/MapServer



We would have extensive amount of work to either (or both) communicate all the new URL's to our end users (and update all metadata, products, documentation, and content management systems to point to the new URL's) and/or build URL Re-direct (or URL Re-write) rules for all the legacy services.  Neither of two options are ideal, but right now we seem to have exhausted all other options. 

Hopefully this will help other users while they troubleshoot thier arcserver deployment.  Any ideas are greatly appreciated with our strategy to make this better.  Thanks!

51 Replies
Occasional Contributor II

I should have also have asked about the ArcGIS Server heap size settings.  We noticed these available settings under the following URL: https://servername.domain/agspub/admin/machines/machinename.doamin?f=pjson


  "machineName": "machine.domain",

  "platform": "Windows Server 2008 R2-amd64-6.1",

  "ports": {

    "JMXPort": 4000,

    "OpenEJBPort": 4001,

    "NamingPort": 4002,

    "DerbyPort": 4003,

    "tcpClusterPort": 4005,

    "HTTP": 6080,

    "HTTPS": 6443


  "ServerStartTime": 1412696078447,

  "webServerMaxHeapSize": -1,

  "appServerMaxHeapSize": 256,

  "socMaxHeapSize": 64,

  "webServerSSLEnabled": true,

  "webServerCertificateAlias": "SelfSignedCertificate",

  "adminURL": "https://machine.domain:6443/arcgis/admin",

  "configuredState": "STARTED",

  "synchronize": false


Specifically interested in the 'appServerMaxHeapSize' and the 'socMaxHeapSize' settings.  Can anyone provide more insight to those settings? 

We briefly knocked those up (doubled them at one point in time), but that did not seem to help the situation.  We doubled again (and even a third time) to see if it helped with any stability or performance.  The highest we went was:

  • appServerMaxHeapSize: 1024
  • socMaxHeapSize: 256

It ended up causing a crash on one of the AGS nodes that logged the following windows events:

Log Name:      System

Source:        Microsoft-Windows-Resource-Exhaustion-Detector

Date:          10/7/2014 8:47:13 AM

Event ID:      2004

Task Category: Resource Exhaustion Diagnosis Events

Level:         Warning

Keywords:      Events related to exhaustion of system commit limit (virtual memory).

User:          SYSTEM

Computer:      MACHINE.DOMAIN


Windows successfully diagnosed a low virtual memory condition. The following programs consumed the most virtual memory: javaw.exe (56032) consumed 954195968 bytes, ArcGISServer.exe (41556) consumed 927776768 bytes, and ArcSOC.exe (20524) consumed 407146496 bytes.














and we subsequently placed those settings back to the default. 

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Frequent Contributor

Hi Pat-

Sounds like you have your hands full.  First, we also have a large, distrubuted site running 10.2.2.  In all the, the site consisits of 3 app servers hosting ags10.2.2. All app servers are Windows Server 2008R2 machines, where each applicaiton server has 32GB RAM, dual 4 core cpus with hyperthreading enabled.  Two machines participate in a mapCluster, with the 3rd on the gpCluster that handles asyc tasks, caching, data extract tasks, etc.

The webServer hosting our WebAdaptor is a virtual machine with 8GB RAM.   The File Server hosting our directories and stores has 16GB, same  cpu setup on a 10-1 raided array. The files server was previously a SAN gateway but we removed it due to performance issues. 

The database server hosting sde 10.2.2, SQL Server 2008R2 (SqlGeometry Storage) also has 32GB Ram, Dual 4-core cpu's but NO HyperThreading enabled. 

We are stable in terms of performance and availability with some 70 services.  The mapCluster is usually running some 8GB under load with 32-35 SOC procs balanced between each. 

Couple of observations.  Why are you running one server per cluster?  To us, we thought that defeated the whole purpose of the web adaptor's load balancing.  I would place 3 of your servers in one mapCluster, and place your fourth in a gpCluster.  Also, if you are using full web-tier and windows domain authentication, why are you using the built-in roles and not AD roles?  We found that using our AD without using AD roles led to alot of instability.   Lastly, for us, we found that reverting back to gis-tier, gis-user defined store and internal roles greatly enhanced our control and scalability-

Hope this helps-


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Occasional Contributor II

Hi David,  thanks for the response!

We are running 1 server/cluster to provide scalability in terms of the amount of services that can be hosted rather than increase the amount of requests that need to be fulfilled.  When 2 servers are added to 1 cluster it scales the amount of requests a service can handle rather than how many services can be hosted.  The 'minInstancesPerNode' and 'maxInstancesPerNode' setting specify how man instances per node the publishers would like available for their services.

Assume we set 1 'min instances' and 2 'max instances' on each service (default).  Assume we had 4 servers each are spec'd to host 250 total instance executables...

Scenario 1: Scale the amount of services to be hosted

If we have 1 server/cluster and 4 total clusters, then we can host 1000 total services when idle (4 servers*250 instances/server). assuming each service only needs 1 instancePerNode. Obviously this has no room for growth in terms of hosting more services or having more instances available for requests. 

Scenario 2: Scale the amount of requests that need to be fulfilled

If we had a 3 node cluster, then while idle ArcGIS Server will build 1 instance on each node in that cluster for each service (so that 3 executables can handle requests rather than 1 executable in the scenario above). with that scenario, I can only host (at most) 250 total services and assume they will not need a second 'instancePerNode' spun up.  Obviously this has no room for growth in terms of hosting more services. 

Based on our business requirements (for this project).... this arcgis server platform needs to provide large amounts of services that require little use (at this point in time).  Isolating the servers into individual clusters meet that need and also provide some isolation from each-other.  Monitoring usage in the future may change this publishing model (where we may have a multi-node cluster and move services to that cluster that become popular).  Make sense?

As for the AD Roles... we had some pretty serious performance issues at ArcGIS Server 10.1 and have not revisited since.  I'm not sure if those have been worked out or not in 10.2.2.

Occasional Contributor III

Hi Pat:

There's QFE for NIM100965: QFE-1021-S-292065.  Have you tried that?


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Occasional Contributor II

Hi Fred,

I am interested in the QFE you referenced.  We have been pushing secure support for a hot fix on both of these issues Without much success.  Do you have more information about this QFE regarding what was fixed, how to get ahold of this and how to deploy this?  Thanks!

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Occasional Contributor III

Hi Patrick: 

Want to connect/follow me so I can shoot you a direct message with my phone.  It's probably too complicated to type out in the thread. 

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New Contributor III


Patrick is out for a week so won't be able to reply - if you could send me the information that would be great.  I've connected/followed you on this site.


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Occasional Contributor II

Pat:  Do you mind me asking who you work for?  What organization is having these issues?  We have a similar AGS implementation.  Thanks!

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Occasional Contributor II

HI Jerry - I work for the United States Department of Interior (US DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

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