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Configuring a multiple-machine deployment

ArcGIS for Server has a scalable architecture that allows deployment sizes ranging from one to many machines. You may need to consider a distributed installation of ArcGIS Server so that you can achieve an acceptable level of performance for the number of users accessing the system.

All machines in an ArcGIS Server site have the GIS server component installed. On the first GIS server machine you configure, you'll need to create the site. Subsequently, you can add or join additional GIS server machines to the site. Each GIS server in the site must be at the same version number and be licensed exactly the same.

When you create a site, you determine where to store the critical files and configuration information for your site. This directory is called the configuration store. Your site also has server directories that store service output files, geoprocessing jobs information, service definitions, cache tiles, and other items. When you add a machine to the site, it is configured to point to the configuration store and server directories. In a multiple-machine site, you must share the configuration store and server directories so that the other GIS server machines can access them.

You might choose to put the configuration store on a machine or disk that is not dependent on the GIS server, such as a fault-tolerant file server. This allows you to add or remove machines from the site without worrying which of them has the configuration store installed. This is especially important in cloud deployments where automatic scaling mechanisms might add and remove machines from your site without any intelligence built in about which holds the configuration store.

The steps below explain how to configure a multiple-machine deployment of ArcGIS Server. The site is created on Machine A, then Machine B is added to the site. If you've already been running ArcGIS Server on a single GIS server and you're looking to expand your site, see the following topic instead: Expanding from one GIS server to multiple GIS servers.

  1. On both machines, adjust your firewalls to open the ports described in Ports used by ArcGIS Server.
  2. Install ArcGIS for Server on Machine A and Machine B. The installed version of ArcGIS Server must be the same on each machine. Enter the same ArcGIS Server account during both installations. It's recommended that you use a domain or active directory account, but if you choose a local account, it needs to exist on both machines with an identical name and password combination. Keep in mind that the account you specify does not have to be part of the Administrators group. For more information on specifying the ArcGIS Server account, see The ArcGIS Server account.
  3. Authorize ArcGIS for Server on Machine A and Machine B with Enterprise licenses. This requires running the Software Authorization Wizard on each machine. The Software Authorization Wizard is launched at the end of the ArcGIS for Server installation. You can also access the Software Authorization Wizard by clicking the Start menu and selecting All Programs > ArcGIS > Software Authorization. The exact same license must be applied to each machine.
  4. Create and share two directories on your network. One should be for the configuration store and the other for your server directories. Grant the ArcGIS Server account read and write permissions to these two directories (make sure to do this on both the Sharing tab and Security tab of Windows Explorer).

    Shared network directories that are hidden or use special characters (for example, $) are not supported by ArcGIS Server.

    • Even if the directories reside on the same machine that you will use when creating the site, you must still manually create and share the directories and reference them through a network (UNC) path.
    • If the ArcGIS Server account does not exist on the machine (in the case where you put the configuration store and server directories on a file server), you need to create the ArcGIS Server account using the same name and password that you used in all the other machines in your deployment.
  5. Open ArcGIS Server Manager on Machine A and click Create New Site.
  6. To create a new site, you are required to define a user name and password as the primary site administrator. Choose a user name and password and click Next.

    This name and password is recognized only by ArcGIS Server; it is not an operating system account, and it is managed separately from the user accounts in your user store. The primary site administrator has unrestricted access to the ArcGIS Server site. This account is generally used to create the ArcGIS Server site and to configure and manage security. Do not confuse the primary site administrator account with the ArcGIS Server account you provided during the ArcGIS Server installation.

  7. Type the paths to your server directory and configuration store folders that you set up earlier and click Next.

    Use a UNC path (for example, \\myserver\config-store) so that all machines in the site can see the location.

  8. Examine the summary and click Finish to create your site, or Back if you want to make changes.
  9. Type the user name and password of the primary site administrator account you chose when you created the site and click Login.
  10. Click Site > GIS Server > Machines.
  11. In the Machines module, click Add Machine.
  12. In the Add Machine window, enter the name of Machine B. You must type the exact name of the machine; do not use localhost.

    The URL of machine B is entered automatically.

  13. If your site has multiple clusters, you'll see a drop-down list with available clusters. In this case, you only have one cluster (default), so click Add to add Machine B to your site.

    Steps 10 through 13 demonstrate how to add a machine to your site. You can alternatively join Machine B to your site by opening ArcGIS Server Manager on Machine B and click Join An Existing Site. For step-by-step instructions, see Joining an existing site.

  14. Consider registering your data with your site. Data registration gives the server a list of locations that the server administrator has verified that the GIS server can access. Data registration also helps the GIS server understand how to adjust data paths as you publish across machines. If you attempt to publish a service that references data from an unregistered location, the data is copied to the server during the publishing operation. To learn more about this, see About registering your data with ArcGIS Server.
  15. Publish a map service to your site. After publishing, make some requests to the map service using the View In: ArcGIS JavaScript option in the Services Directory. Then, in the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory, navigate to services > (your service.MapServer) > statistics. You should be able to see some statistics about how many requests each machine received.
  16. Install and configure the ArcGIS Web Adaptor. The Web Adaptor provides a link between your enterprise web server and your ArcGIS Server site. It allows you to choose the port, address, and authentication settings that you want to use for incoming requests. It also allows you to prevent outside users from accessing Manager and the Administrator Directory.

    See About the ArcGIS Web Adaptor to learn more.


At 10.4, new sites default to single cluster mode. Sites using a single cluster that are upgraded to 10.4 will also use this mode. In these cases, an external load balancer or ArcGIS Web Adaptor must be configured to forward requests to the GIS servers in the site. If no external gateway exists, requests will only be handled by the GIS server designated in the request.

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