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Deploy ArcGIS Server on virtualized hardware

You can deploy ArcGIS Server in a virtualized environment, such as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. See the system requirements for more details.

Virtualized hardware in your infrastructure is different from cloud infrastructure, which is managed by a cloud provider. When using a virtualized environment, you still own, operate, and maintain the hardware infrastructure on which the virtual machines run. You may choose to use virtualized hardware to increase resource efficiency, improve disaster recovery capabilities, or test a new operating system, all while maintaining your own infrastructure on-premises. ArcGIS Enterprise, including stand-alone ArcGIS Server sites, can also be deployed on cloud infrastructure, which transfers responsibility for powering and maintaining physical infrastructure to your cloud provider. To learn more about ArcGIS Enterprise in the cloud and Esri cloud deployment tools, see the cloud section of the documentation.

Best practices for virtualized environments

When setting up your site in a virtualized hardware infrastructure, there are some best practices to follow to optimize stability and performance.

  • Ensure that enough resources are available or directly assigned to the host hypervisor. This includes CPU and memory resources. If you need specific guidance on how many resources to leave available and how to assign those resources, consult the product documentation for the hypervisor provider.
  • Because ArcGIS Server can be very disk intensive, ensure that individual virtual machines do not run on the same single physical disk. If possible, use high-performance solid state drives (SSDs).
  • Install and run your ArcGIS Server components within a single virtual network to avoid disrupting communications.
  • It's recommended that you use a few large virtual machines as opposed to many small virtual machines. For example, a single virtual machine with eight CPUs will perform better than four virtual machines with two CPUs each. If you're configuring failover, high-availability, or separate ArcGIS Server sites for separate purposes, follow the recommendation above to determine the size of machines in each site.

Deploy ArcGIS Server on VMware

You deploy an ArcGIS Server site with VMware in much the same way that you deploy ArcGIS Server on physical hardware. Both Windows and Linux are supported. The workflow is as follows:

  1. Create a VMware template with ArcGIS Server installed.
  2. Launch a virtual machine (VM) from your template, rename the machine, and reboot it.
  3. Create the ArcGIS Server site on your VM.
  4. Optionally, launch additional VMs, and join them to the site.
  5. Configure services; applications; and, optionally, ArcGIS Web Adaptor (which integrates your site with your enterprise web server).

This sections below describe items of note when deploying ArcGIS Server on VMware.

Create a VMware template with ArcGIS Server installed

A VMware template is a primary copy of a virtual machine that you can use to create and provision additional virtual machines. When you deploy ArcGIS Server on VMware, you first need to build a VMware template that has ArcGIS Server installed. The steps for building a template are found in the VMware documentation.

When building the template, keep in mind the following:

  • You should install ArcGIS Server and authorize it, but you should not create the ArcGIS Server site on the template. You will create the site once you launch your VM.
  • Optionally, you can load your GIS data onto the template. This will cause a local copy of the data to be available on each VM that you launch, saving you the time of loading the data. Referencing a local copy of the data on each GIS server can also be a beneficial architecture for performance in appropriate scenarios.
  • On Windows, ArcGIS Server is configured to start automatically when the operating system starts. On Linux, you must configure this manually.

ArcGIS Server is compatible with virtualized environments and does not need any additional configuration to run on VMware or connect to a site running on VMware. It's recommended that you install ArcGIS Server on your organization's existing web server machine if possible.

Launch a VM from your template and rename the machine

Use your template to launch one VM that has ArcGIS Server installed.

When you deploy the VM, it takes the name of the template by default. You should rename the machine and reboot it before you continue. Consult your operating system documentation for instructions on renaming a machine.

Renaming the machine does not affect ArcGIS Server or the ArcGIS Server account.

At this time, you can add the machine to your network, if necessary, so it can reference your file shares, web server, and other GIS servers.

Build your ArcGIS Server site

You’re now ready to access ArcGIS Server Manager on the VM. Click the Create New Site button to create the ArcGIS Server site.

If more than one GIS server will participate in the site, use shared network paths when you specify the configuration store and server directories. In this scenario, the configuration store and server directories should be on a highly available file server. If your configuration store is lost or corrupted beyond the possibility of recovery, you will need to create a site again.

After you’ve launched your first VM and created the site, you can optionally launch additional VMs and join them to the site using the Join Site button that appears when you start Manager.

At this time, you can also configure any services that should be running on your site. Optionally, connect ArcGIS Web Adaptor to your site, and deploy and update any web applications that reference your services.

Back up and recover your site

An advantage of a virtualized environment such as VMware is the ease of backing up your site and recovering it in case of a problem. You can use VMware templates to preserve your machine settings and optionally run the ArcGIS Server backup and restore utilities to preserve your ArcGIS Server settings.

If you're working with a single-machine site, you can use VMware templates to back up and restore your site. The backup and restore utilities are not needed.

If you're working with a multiple-machine site, you can use VMware templates to preserve your data and other machine configurations, and use the ArcGIS Server backup utility to preserve your site configuration. In the event of a failure, you can use the VMware template to recover your machines, and run the restore utility to recover your site configuration. See Back up and restore your ArcGIS Server site configuration to learn which items are preserved by the backup.

You should store the backup file .agssite on a machine separate from your site, on a physical server if possible.