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Configure a multiple-machine deployment

ArcGIS 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 ArcGIS Server component installed. On the first ArcGIS Server machine you configure, you'll need to create the site. Subsequently, you can add or join additional ArcGIS Server machines to the site. Each ArcGIS 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 ArcGIS Server machines can access them.

You might choose to put the configuration store on a machine or disk that is not dependent on the ArcGIS Server, such as a fault-tolerant file server. This allows you to add or remove machines from the site without worrying about which of them has the configuration store installed. This is especially important in cloud deployments in which 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 machine and you're looking to expand your site, see Add an ArcGIS Server machine to a site.

  1. On both machines, adjust your firewalls to open the ports described in Ports used by ArcGIS Server.
  2. Install and authorize ArcGIS 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 Server installation. You can also access the Software Authorization Wizard by browsing to the installed shortcut. The installed version of ArcGIS Server must be the same on each machine and each machine must be licensed the same.

    Make sure you install using the same operating system user on both machines. The user account used to install ArcGIS Server will be the account used to run the software. Group users and all others must have at least execute permissions to the ArcGIS Server installation directory. Note that installing ArcGIS Server with the root account is not supported. For more information, see The ArcGIS Server account. The user account used to install on Machine A and B, for example, could be as follows:

    1. Install ArcGIS Server on Machine A at /data/ags as user ags, with a user ID of 58103.
    2. Install ArcGIS Server on Machine B at /data/ags with the same username and ID (ags, user ID 58103).

    If the machine you've installed ArcGIS Server on has multiple network interface controller (NIC) cards, you may want to specify which NIC card should handle network communication for the server. To do so, follow this workflow.

  3. Create and share two directories on your network, granting the installation user as the owner. One should be for the configuration store and the other for your server directories. You must grant at least 700 permissions to the folders. For example:
    1. Create a directory called config-store. Specify the owner as ags, with the user ID of 58103. Grant at least 700 permissions to the directory.
    2. Share the config-store folder so that both machines can access the directory using the same path, for example, /net/myserver/config-store.
    3. Create a directory called arcgisserver. Specify the owner as ags, with the user ID of 58103. Grant at least 700 permissions to the directory.
    4. Share the arcgisserver folder so that both machines can access the directory using the same path, for example, /net/myserver/arcgisserver.

      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 path.

  4. Open ArcGIS Server Manager on Machine A and click Create New Site.
  5. To create a site, you are required to define a username and password as the primary site administrator. Choose a username and password and click Next.

    This name and password combination 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.

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

    Use the network path share you set up earlier (for example, /net/myserver/arcgisserver) so that all machines in the site can see the location.

  7. Click Finish to create your site or Back if you want to make changes.
  8. Type the username and password of the primary site administrator account you chose when you created the site and click Login.
  9. Click Site > Server Configuration > Machines.
  10. In the Machines module, click Add Machine.
  11. 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.

  12. Click Add to add Machine B to your site.

    Steps 9 through 12 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 clicking Join An Existing Site. For step-by-step instructions, see Joining an existing site.

  13. Consider registering your data with your site. Data registration gives the server a list of locations that the server administrator has verified that ArcGIS Server can access. Data registration also helps ArcGIS 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, see About registering your data with ArcGIS Server.
  14. Publish a map service to your site. After publishing, make some requests to the map service using the View in JavaScript option in the Services Directory. Then, in the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory, browse to services > (your service.MapServer) > statistics. You should be able to see some statistics about how many requests each machine received.
  15. Install and configure 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.


    Esri recommends using the script to check for security best practices with your ArcGIS Server following the upgrade.

Integrate the server with ArcGIS Enterprise

Though it can be deployed as stand-alone software, integrating ArcGIS Server with the ArcGIS Enterprise portal enables efficient workflows for your organization. There are three ways in which ArcGIS Server can be used with a portal:

  1. You can federate one or more ArcGIS Server sites with the portal to integrate its security and sharing models.
  2. You can assign a federated ArcGIS Server site to act as the portal's hosting server, allowing users to publish data and maps to a wider audience as web services.
  3. You can register individual services from any ArcGIS Server site with the portal, whether or not it is federated (or even if it is your own server).

Learn more about integrating your server with ArcGIS Enterprise

Connect to the server in ArcGIS Pro

Most of your work publishing services occurs in ArcGIS Pro, where you create your maps, tools, and other content.

Connect to a GIS Server explains the three types of connections between ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Server: user connections, publisher connections, and administrative connections.

In ArcGIS Pro, you can make a user connection to your ArcGIS Server site. With a user connection, you can browse the server site's content from within your desktop application and add it to your maps. A user connection alone does not allow you to publish to the server or make administrative changes.

You can also connect to your ArcGIS Enterprise portal to share web maps, web layers, and other GIS content. The sharing process publishes one or more services to a federated ArcGIS Server site, which will power the content in the portal. You do not need to establish a direct connection with the server if it's federated with your portal. If you have a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site at 10.6 or later, you can make a publisher connection from ArcGIS Pro to publish services.