What is ArcGIS Server?
What is ArcGIS Server?

ArcGIS Server is a comprehensive server-based GIS that provides advanced Web GIS services and applications as well as enterprise geodata management capabilities.

ArcGIS Server is used to build workgroup, departmental, and enterprise GIS applications as well as Web GIS deployments. ArcGIS Server is centrally managed, supports multiple users, provides access to rich GIS functionality, and is built using industry standards.

ArcGIS Server includes the following:

  • A set of comprehensive GIS and map services and tasks
  • Open, standards-based, Web service interfaces for accessing and using ArcGIS services
  • An administrator's console for setting up and managing an ArcGIS Server installation
  • Powerful enterprise geodatabase management in a number of DBMSs
    • Oracle
    • SQL Server and SQL Server Express
    • DB2
    • Informix
    • PostgreSQL

In addition to their use in ArcGIS Desktop, these server capabilities can be accessed and used in Web applications and combined with content on the open Web such as GIS content from ArcGIS.com and consumer maps from Bing Maps and Google.

GIS services

ArcGIS Desktop users create maps and rich geographic information elements such as analytic models and tools, geodatabases, address and place-name locators, 3D globes, and layer packages. Each of these elements encapsulates not only geographic data but how that data can be viewed and used.

You can open up access to these GIS information sets by publishing these GIS information elements as open Web services using ArcGIS Server. For example, map documents created in ArcMap can be used to create map services, such as multiscale basemaps.

Publishing a multiscale basemap as a map service
ArcGIS users create a number of types of maps that are published as ArcGIS map services. Many of these are designed and served as multiscale basemaps such as the topographic map shown here.

To learn more, see What are services? in the ArcGIS Server help.

GIS Web applications

Once GIS Web services are created, they can be combined in a GIS Web or mobile application. Multiple GIS services are accessed and used from many Web environments.

Web map that mashes up multiple Web map services
This Web application includes three map services: a global basemap from ArcGIS.com, a population density map served as an image service, and a series of GeoRSS feeds of recent earthquakes from USGS. An analysis tool that runs as a geoprocessing service in ArcGIS Server is accessed to compute the total population count that falls within 100 miles of the quake location.

For more information, read about building and sharing Web applications at ArcGIS.com.

Standards-based services that are easy to integrate

ArcGIS Server is engineered from first principles to be Web compliant and to support widely adopted Web standards. Publishing information using ArcGIS Server enables these services to be easily used in numerous settings without any "heavy lifting."

ArcGIS Server leverages standard Web interfaces for all services, including these:

  • SOAP XML
  • REST
  • KML
  • OGC services such as WMS, WCS, and WFS
  • SQL for multiuser geodatabase management

This opens up access to rich geographic information from many types of GIS clients.

Geodatabase management

ArcGIS Server includes capabilities for managing multiuser geodatabases in a number of DBMSs. When you need a large multiuser geodatabase that can be edited and used simultaneously by many users, the geodatabase provides a good solution. ArcGIS Server adds the ability to manage a shared, multiuser geodatabase as well as support for a number of critical version-based GIS workflows. The ability to leverage your organization's enterprise relational database is a key advantage.

Multiuser, transactional geodatabases work with a variety of DBMS storage models (IBM DB2, Informix, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server). They take full advantage of underlying DBMS architectures to support the following:

  • Extremely large, continuous GIS databases
  • Many simultaneous users
  • Long transactions and versioned workflows
  • Relational database support for GIS data management (providing the benefits of a relational database for scalability, reliability, security, backup, integrity, and so forth)
  • SQL types for spatial in all supported DBMSs (Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Informix, and DB2)
  • High performance that can scale to a very large number of users

Through many large geodatabase implementations, it has been found that DBMSs are efficient at retrieving and working with records containing the type of large geometry elements required for GIS data. In addition, GIS database sizes can be much larger, and the number of supported users greater, than with file-based GIS datasets.

These enterprise geodatabases are enabled using the ArcSDE technology that is part of ArcGIS Server. For information about the ArcSDE geodatabase architecture and how ArcSDE geodatabases leverage relational database technology, review the book of help topics starting with The architecture of a geodatabase.

Supported environments for ArcGIS Server

You can deploy ArcGIS Server using your own servers (on premises) or on Amazon EC2 (in the cloud). On premises, ArcGIS Server runs in both Windows and Linux environments.

ArcGIS Server product options

Functional levels

There are three functional edition levels of ArcGIS Server: Basic, Standard, and Advanced.

Basic: This level provides a comprehensive GIS server for spatial data management. It focuses on organizing and managing geographic datasets using ArcSDE technology.

Standard: This level provides a comprehensive GIS server for spatial data management and mapping. It includes 2D mapping; 3D globe services; and a suite of related features such as Web editing, geocoding, and routing. All aspects of the Basic edition are included in the Standard edition.

Advanced: This level provides users with a comprehensive GIS server for spatial data management, mapping, 3D services, and editing, as well as comprehensive geoprocessing, spatial analysis, and modeling. All aspects of the Basic and Standard editions are included in the Advanced edition.

Multiuser geodatabase support using ArcSDE technology is included with all three editions of ArcGIS Server.

Basic

Standard

Advanced

Multiuser geodatabase

Yes

Yes

Yes

Web-based replication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Map services

No

Yes

Yes

Image services

No

Yes

Yes

Globe services

No

Yes

Yes

Web editing

No

Yes

Yes

Geoprocessing

No

Limited

Yes

Web applications

No

Yes

Yes

Windows Mobile applications

No

No

Yes

iPhone applications

No

No

Yes

SharePoint Web parts

No

No

Yes

Capacity

ArcGIS Server can be implemented in workgroup settings and in enterprises as follows:

  • ArcGIS Server Workgroup: Limited to run on a single machine and includes the Microsoft SQL Server Express database engine to support geodatabases
  • ArcGIS Server Enterprise: Runs on multiple computers and works with any DBMS (SQL Server, IBM DB2, Informix, PostgreSQL, or Oracle)
    • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections to multiuser geodatabases
    • Contains unlimited storage capacity
    • Can be installed on either a single server or distributed across multiple servers (Each server requires a license.)

Optional extensions to ArcGIS Server

A number of specialized software capabilities are available as add-on extensions to ArcGIS Server. Each extension enables you to add capabilities such as raster geoprocessing, 3D GIS, and network analysis.

Here is a brief overview of the ArcGIS Server extensions:

ArcGIS Server extensions

Advanced level

Standard level

3D extension: Advanced 3D modeling and analysis

Included

Optional

Geostatistical extension: Advanced statistical modeling and analysis

Included

Optional

Network extension: Advanced network modeling and analysis

Included

Optional

Spatial extension: Advanced raster data modeling and analysis

Included

Optional

Data Interoperability extension: Provides Web access to hundreds of data formats

Optional

Optional

Image extension: Dynamically serves and processes huge amounts of imagery in dozens of formats on the fly

Optional

Optional

Workflow Manager extension: Provides GIS workflow management

Optional

Optional

Geoportal extension: Used to create portals to organize, share, and discover GIS resources

Optional

Optional

Schematics extension: Advanced network diagrams and models

Optional

Optional

Source: http://help.arcgis.com