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What is the difference between portal and manager

02-20-2017 01:53 PM
New Contributor III

We are about ready to start our install for ARC GIS SERVER ,etc. I am a little confused about whether we need to istall Portal or not. We plan on sharing our gis maps/data within and outside our domain. I would think portal does a much better job of publishing services, using the web app builder,etc than manager does?


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5 Replies
MVP Emeritus

I'm assuming you are new to the whole "Enterprise" (ArcGIS Server and Portal) installation?  What version do you plan to install?  10.5.x or ??

Every situation is different of course, but you do not have to install Portal to use ArcGIS Server. There are several things that you will need to consider when installing, including how you will manage users and security, and whether you plan to federate your ArcGIS Server and Portal.

For our shop (state agency, no enterprise licensing), we have been running ArcGIS Server for many years (no Portal, except access to ArcGIS Online).  We use our domain's active directory and have our security managed thru ArcGIS Server folders (i.e. some public, some require a domain user).  With federation, Portal takes over the management and things automatically get added and assigned to the user logged in.  Since we have a limited amount of "named users", we would wanted have Server manage the security.  For us, we will use Portal as a on-site ArcGIS Online, to some degree, but will also continue to use ArcGIS Online.  The different being (as I understand it, not yet tested) is that setting up a proxy for our secured services will be much easier with Portal since we can use the "referer" option.  With ArcGIS Online, this is not an option.

Anyway, as mentioned, there are so many options.  I would suggest taking the admin class for ArcGIS Server if you only have one option for one.  They are rewriting the class right now to combined the two courses.  There are many similarities.  Also, check out any of the free options at    and Esri Videos | E360 Videos: GIS, Events, ArcGIS Products & Industries 

New Contributor III

Hi Rebbeca,

Not completly new to Arc Gis Server...just used to taking care of a enterprise GIS system in Autodesk..which I will be so happy to get rid of. With our system we have a administrator GUI which we use to access and server. And also has a GUI to do the publishing,theming,etc.

Just trying to wrap my head around all thcomponets , we plan on setting up a GEODB in server based In SqlServer. And Im thinking using ARC Gis Online and published maps/data from Server for end users intially.

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MVP Emeritus

I see Portal as being another tool for AGS.  For anything that is totally public and/or were want to use with the esri  Open Data site, we would probably have that on AGOL.  For items that I want to have partial secutiry and/or use the proxy, I will probably have on Portal.  For those things I want totally private, I may use Portal, but will keep the apps within the firewall.  In any case, I will use AGS for security, whether public or restricted to active directory users.

You can administer Portal and AGS separately.  AGS can have as many web adaptors as you want, Portal only has one.  If you know AGS, Portal is fairly easy to pick up, administration wise, but I still picked up some good tips in the class. In particular, it convinced me that we don't want to federate...although for some operations it would work great.

Check out   for some great tips that might help...or just make your head spin more.

Pretty much just my opinions.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Checkout the ArcGIS Portal implementation considerations in Architecting the ArcGIS Platform: Best Practices 

Think Location
Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi John,

> What is the difference between portal and manager?

Portal for ArcGIS is a component of ArcGIS Enterprise. It enables you to set-up and deploy a "portal" - a central destination of all of your geographic assets within your own infrastructure. ArcGIS Server is another component of ArcGIS Enterprise that enables you to share your GIS data as web services; and its management app is called ArcGIS Server Manager.

For more background, you might want to watch the first 15 mins of these technical session videos,

Also, these technical articles breakdown the difference(s) between ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS,

Hope these help,