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Launch an EC2 instance running ArcGIS Server

If you build your ArcGIS Server site manually using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Management Console, you need to know what is required to run ArcGIS Server on an AWS EC2 instance.

For specific steps and explanations of Amazon Web Services functionality and how to use the AWS Management Console, read the Amazon Web Services documentation. The following is information specific to launching an EC2 instance running a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site.

Before you launch an instance

You must have an Amazon account enabled for AWS access, and you should create an Elastic IP address to use with your ArcGIS Server for Amazon Web Services instance.

  1. Open a web browser and sign in to the AWS Management Console with your Amazon user name and password.

    Your Amazon account must be enabled for AWS access, which is a one-time step that can be performed on the AWS website. Contact your system administrator or Amazon if you are unsure about the account to use.

  2. Go to the EC2 section of the AWS console and choose the region in which you want to work.

    Regions represent the AWS data centers available throughout the world. You can use regions to get your deployment closer to customers or to meet legal requirements. Pricing varies among the regions.

  3. Allocate a new Elastic IP address to use with your instance. Be sure to record the IP that is created, as you will use that later.

Launch an instance from an Esri AMI

Before you use a new Esri AMI for the first time, you must accept the AWS Marketplace terms. Once that's complete, launch an instance from the EC2 section of the AWS Management Console using this AMI. To find the Amazon Machine Image (AMI), search for ArcGIS or Esri.

There is an AMI available for Linux and two AMIs available for Windows (one with SQL Server Express and another with SQL Server Standard).

Instance type and details

You must choose an instance type when you launch an EC2 instance. Be sure to choose an instance type that meets at least the minimum system requirements for ArcGIS Server.

Be aware that different instance types will incur different charges with Amazon.

Storage options

When you launch an instance from the AWS Management Console, you have the opportunity to change the storage options. However, don't change the storage settings when you launch the instance. There are settings on the AMIs that configure device mapping, and altering the storage options could cause these mappings to fail.

If you want to change the size of the attached EBS volume, you can do so after launching your instance. See Work with EBS volumes for more information.


Create keys and values to help you identify your instance.

Security groups

Create a security group when you launch your instance to define what incoming traffic can access your instance.

The following are basic security group rules that allow you to log in to the ArcGIS Server for Amazon Web Services instance and test that your services are running. See Common security group configurations for lists of security group rules that you can apply in different scenarios.

ProtocolPort Range (Code)Source

RDP (Windows instance only)


Specify an IP address or IP address range of the machines allowed to connect to your instance through remote desktop.

SSH (Linux instance only)


Specify an IP address or IP address range of the machines allowed to connect to your instance through an SSH client.

Custom TCP rule


If you are not using an Elastic Load Balancer, type If you are using an Elastic Load Balancer, type the Elastic Load Balancer's security group name. This is a value such as amazon-elb/amazon-elb-sg.

Create a key pair

After you launch an instance, create a key pair to allow you to log in to your EC2 instance. The key pair is needed to retrieve the administrator password of a Windows instance. You must have the key pair to make an SSL connection to a Linux instance.

Download the key pair file, which has a .pem extension. Save the file in a safe place.

After you launch an instance

It will take a few minutes to launch the instance. While the instance is launching, its status is shown as pending in the AWS Management Console. Once the instance has finished launching, its status is shown as started, and you have a running AWS instance for which you will incur charges. You may need to click Refresh to determine if your instance has finished launching.

For several minutes after you launch or start an AWS instance, you may notice that you cannot log in even though the instance appears started in the AWS Management Console. It takes a few minutes for the instance and ArcGIS to be completely configured.

To determine whether your instance is ready to accept a connection, right-click the instance in the AWS Management Console and click Get System Log. When you first launch or start the instance, you will see a blank log screen when you do this. On a healthy Windows AWS instance, you should see a message that Windows is ready to use if you check the log a few minutes later. To allow time for ArcGIS to configure itself, you should not attempt to connect to your AWS instance until at least five minutes after the system log reports the message Windows is ready to use, although this time can vary based on the health of Amazon Web Services.

See Administer your Amazon EC2 instance with Windows Remote Desktop Connection, Administer your Amazon EC2 instance with remote access to Ubuntu Linux, or Administer your Amazon EC2 instance with remote access from Windows to Ubuntu Linux for additional instructions about logging in to your instance and working with it.

If you plan to store data in enterprise geodatabases on the instance, you must create the geodatabases. See Create enterprise geodatabases in SQL Server on AWS or Create geodatabases in PostgreSQL on AWS for instructions.


Once your EC2 instances are no longer needed, stop or terminate them to avoid unnecessary charges. When you terminate an instance, all data and software on it is lost and cannot be recovered. However, you can stop and start an instance without losing data (provided you did not choose the option to terminate your instances when stopped). You can right-click the status of an instance to see a menu that allows you to stop, start, or terminate the instance.

Deploy Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Data Store

Both Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Data Store are installed on the instances you deploy from Esri AMIs. If you have an ArcGIS Enterprise license, you can deploy Portal for ArcGIS on your AWS instance. You can also deploy ArcGIS Data Store on your instance, create (at a minimum) a relational data store, configure it with an ArcGIS GIS Server site on AWS, and set the site as your portal's hosting server.