The company that I work for has recently acquired licenses for ArcGIS for Desktop, as well as ArcGIS Server. Ultimately we would like to establish an SDE SQL database as a central repository for our data. We currently have a team of two GIS Specialists that will be creating and managing the data, however, neither one of us have experience with using ArcGIS Server. Is there any general information that you can give that will help prepare us or help us understand how it works?
Do SQL databases function in the same way as the typical file and personal geodatabases?
We both dabbled with using the Publisher extension and reading the subsequent files in ArcReader, which was very nice since we could distribute that readable file to anyone else and they would have full navigation and access to the attribute tables. How does using ArcGIS Server compare to the usage of the Publisher extension?
We have no need for company wide edits to the GIS data, as the only people that will be creating/editing are myself and our other GIS Specialist. The only thing that we need is for company-wide access for viewing the data, which publisher seems to have accomplished quite well.
Initially we submitted a proposal to the high-ups in our company to purchase ArcGIS for Desktop licenses, as well as Publisher extension licenses for our GIS team, but our IT department suggested that we go ahead and go forth with the purchase of Server to help stay ahead of our growth, instead of catching up to ourselves and having to upgrade again in a few years. My understanding of ArcGIS Server is very limited, even through various online searches on the product, so can anyone help explain to me why it is needed over the alternative of desktop and publisher licenses?