On March 25, 2021, GISinc, A Continental Mapping Company, hosted a 1.5 hour workshop-style webinar with Panda Consulting on, Get ArcGIS Enterprise Ready and Maximize Your Deployment

Dozens of questions were submitted during the presentation. For your convenience, we have summarized in the Q&A below:

Q: How do we get access to the testing and developer environment with ArcGIS Enterprise? 

A: Esri provides licensing for production, test, and developer environments. Reach out to your Esri Account Manager for details. 

Q: Where do we find the Portal and Server scan scripts? 

A: For ArcGIS Server it's located at <ArcGIS Server installation location>\tools\admin For Portal for ArcGIS it's located at <Portal for ArcGIS installation location>\tools\security. 

Q: For clarification is the script different from the Esri Security Advisor? https://s3.amazonaws.com/ago-security-advisor/index.html#

A: Yes, the Security Advisor provides similar information on settings but additional information on content. The Scan Scripts are configuration settings only and can be scripted to run automatically unlike the Security Advisor.

Q: Will the number turn to year instead of x.x.x?  

A: Numbering will become two-tiered. There will be the year release that represents a marketing name for the application release, but under the hood, there will continue to be incremental x.x.x releases.

Q: Why Notebook Server? 

A: Notebook Server is a role that hosts and runs ArcGIS Notebooks. Notebooks use python programming language to perform spatial analysis, build data science, machine learning workflows as well as provide automation management to users, groups, data, and content within ArcGIS Enterprise.

Q: What do you mean by "Cloud"? Only Public Cloud? We have an internal cloud built by us. 

A: "Cloud" for this webinar is referring to infrastructure not housed in your facility, and is rather housed and maintained by Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), Google (GCP).

Q: Our Cloud is housed outside of our facility (redundant in two locations geographically far apart, multiple states away, and maintained by us). 

A: You are not alone! We've seen a lot of organizations using collocated data centers for managing their own cloud spaces.

Q: What is the best practice for migrating the Data Store to a different server? 

A: There are a couple of options. First, using the backup and restorer procedures could work nicely in any given situation. One thing to note though, make sure both servers are running the same version of ArcGIS Enterprise. Second, You could also establish a new secondary fail rover server that would maintain a copy of the data. Once you have that established, make this the primary server.

Q: Has Enterprise Builder evolved to allow other than single machine deployments? 

A: No, ArcGIS Enterprise Builder is still a single machine deployment option.

Q: What are the best tools for understanding the load? Is ArcGIS Monitor a good solution?

A: ArcGIS Monitor could help aggregate data but there are other tools to help determine system load. Esri professional services provides access to their System Test tool here: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=e8bac3559fd64352b799b6adf5721d81#! Other tools such as Apache JMeter, LoadRunner, Visual Studio Test Team, are good ones as well.

Q: Is Server Notebook scripting the best way to generate reports on Enterprise usage?

A: That is a tool could use, and if you have python experience then it might work well. However, you don't necessarily need Notebook Server to write and execute Python reporting scripts (although if you have it then yes, take advantage of it). Esri has started putting reporting tools inside Portal and will provide more over the next releases.

Q: Have you seen any customers try to configure a highly-available GeoEvent Server environment? In previous versions of the software, it's been difficult to ensure high availability for GeoEvent. Any recommendations on a specific approach for high availability when dealing with GeoEvent?

A: There are really only two ways to achieve a highly available GeoEvent configuration - using either the Sites or Silos approach. Sites simply means deploying multiple ArcGIS Server instances, each with a GeoEvent Server in a single AGS site. In this instance, the GeoEvent Gateway is used to distribute events across the sites. The silo approach requires a external broker or load balancer (such as Apache Kafka) for distribution of events against independent GeoEvent Server instances. We have seen several successful "Sites" deployments.

Q: My group currently uses ArcGIS Desktop. Have you heard whether Desktop will no longer be supported by Esri?

A: Esri will continue to use the ArcGIS Desktop and continue to upgrade. It is only ArcMap that is no longer receiving development updates. See Esri's announcement https://www.esri.com/arcgis-blog/products/arcgis-desktop/announcements/arcmap-continued-support/ 

Q: I know it would be pretty case specific, but can you discuss any general tips/concepts for maximizing the use of AGOL in concert with Enterprise and the types of use cases you would split between the two?

A: The best use case is to provide public access through ArcGIS Online and organizational access through ArcGIS Enterprise. There are variations of this scenario, but this is probably the most widely used one.

Q: What prevents us from publishing by reference to AGOL? 

A: Nothing, and in some cases this is a great solution.

Q: What is a ballpark yearly cost for deploying an Enterprise cloud solution using the pattern that you are highlighting? (e.g., 4 core AGS, Portal, DS, Web Adapter, and Web Server each on a different machine)? *Disclaimer, I do understand that the user loads on a website will affect cost.

A: As of the publishing of this article, you can get started for around $400/month. Here's a basic Azure example: https://azure.com/e/f32955a6777c4fab86c3a2fb7e5fcb4d

Q: Have you ever used Azure Front Door as part of an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment?

A: I have not. Most deployments are more locally organized then globally. We typically use Azure Application Gateway with their Level 7 Load Balancer and the WAF (Web Application Firewall).

Q: When you show a load a balancer, is that a third party one or the web adaptor?

A: The Load balancer discussed here is not just the Web Adaptor. It is part of the Cloud Infrastructure offering. As such, this could be Amazon AWS Elastic Load Balancer or Microsoft Azure Application Gateway.

Q: The dedicated/shared instance concept is interesting. If you have it, can you provide information or guidance on when to use shared vs dedicated?

A: The thing to remember here is that shared instances are best recommended for services that receive infrequent requests like reference layers, where as dedicated instances are more for those longer compute-intensive requests like print services or editing services.

Q: How can you learn ArcGIS Enterprise before purchasing it?

A: You can get a inexpensive developer license to start the learning process. Learn more at: https://developers.arcgis.com/pricing/build-arcgis-solutions/.

Q: What are the pitfalls of having an Enterprise GDB at a different version than desktop? Especially with parcel fabric?

A: Due to different functionality, the Parcel Fabric MUST be kept on the compatible Enterprise version. For example, 10.7.X = 2.5; 10.8.X = 2.6; 10.9.x (Once released) = 2.7. If the versions are not maintained, there are errors that appear and Esri will not support them.

Q: Can the Enterprise GDB and Enterprise ArcGIS Server be different versions, or is that also an issue? (thinking again of parcel fabric)

A: Only the server containing the Parcel Fabric needs to be kept at the same compatible version as the Desktop software. Other servers can exist at other releases and not impact the Parcel fabric or the ability to edit the Parcel Fabric.

Q: In Enterprise 10.8.1, is Branch Versioning the only option?

A: The Enterprise can be set with both types of versioning, traditional and branch, but to access the parcel fabric, branch versioning must be used. Traditional versioning can be set for other shared feature classes. The type of versioning is set as a property of the database connection.

Q: How do you estimate the specifications of each servers on which you will install ArcGIS Server/Portal/GeoEvent/other roles? If you use any tools, please introduce them. 

A: Depending on the license you have, the typical starting point is 4-cores and this specifically for ArcGIS Server. Capacity planning is a process of evaluating the users, workflow, data requirements, etc. One place you can start to learn this process and access Esri CP Tool is at:  http://wiki.gis.com/wiki/index.php/Capacity_Planning_Tool_updates

Q: Can your Enterprise geodatabase and ArcGIS Data Store database be a singular entity?

A: Yes, however make sure this configuration does not impact the overall performance.

Q: Are you aware of a tool that allows you to document your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment all the way through the stack (i.e. from the geodatabase, maps, service, applications). Sort of a XRay for the entire deployment and not just the geodatabase? 

A: Unfortunately no, not automatically anyway.

Q: When do you know it is time to migrate from a Desktop and AGOL setup to a an Enterprise se up as a AEC firm?

A: Several variables come into play wiWth this evaluation, and in some case you may not move away but instead introduce a hybrid environment. Typically this deals with the number of users, data security and management requirements, server role requirements, geoprocessing needs, and etc.

Q: Does being in a virtual environment impact Enterprise and/or Cloud interaction?

A: The only real noticeable change is when you are talking about ArcGIS Desktop. For Desktop, where does ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro sit and how do these applications access data and services? 

Q: What is the fastest process for replicating AGOL Web maps and Dashboards onto Enterprise Platform? Or is rebuilding the Web maps and Dashboards the best route, as it takes more time (i.e., rebuilding SDE to Enterprise, rebuilding Web maps and popups)?

A: Something to think about on this: The key to migration is the data. Web maps, dashboards, story maps, and others all reference the data, so you need to start with this component. At GISinc we have written python scripts to help migrate content form ArcGIS Online to ArcGIS Enterprise. Esri is starting to provide migration tools beginning in 10.9.x. Also consider using a 3rd Party tool like GeoJobe' s Admin Tools.

Q: Do you see a loss in performance when using ArcPro in the Cloud?

A: This could be a challenge if the instance running Pro is not configured correctly to handle the workflow with things like CPU, RAM, and most importantly, GPU.

Q: When you say your "license" with Esri, how many ArcGIS Servers would be required here?

A: Typically we start with (1) 4-core instance since this is the default license with ArcGIS Enterprise. With this default license you also get access to stand up a passive instance as well (i.e., so 2 ArcGIS Server instances to start with). 

Q: What is a good way to backup ArcGIS online?

A: Python scripts to automate the process or use a 3rd party tool like GeoJob's "Backup My Org" https://geo-jobe.com/backupmyorg/

Q: What would be an estimated cost and time to train and set up staff for this? Any recommended classes to help with ArcGIS Enterprise training? 

A: Here is a list of Esri recommended class to get started. From a cost and time perspective, this takes on a wider discussion around how you plan on sharing roles & responsibility:  https://www.esri.com/training/catalog/5b32602ff1cd55099eef0ace/arcgis-enterprise-for-the-gis-administrator/. 

Additional Guidance

We hope this article has provided some value to you! If you ever need additional help, don't hesitate to reach out to the GISinc team. 

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Topics: ArcGIS Enterprise

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