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Deploy a GIS server on Microsoft Azure

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If you want to publish from local ArcMap clients to an ArcGIS Server site on Microsoft Azure, you can deploy a GIS server. ArcGIS and custom clients can consume web services you publish to ArcGIS Server on Azure.

You need the following to deploy a GIS server on Microsoft Azure:

  • Microsoft Azure subscription
  • Esri images
  • ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure
  • ArcGIS for Server license
  • An SSL certificate from a certifying authority that you have exported to a .pfx file and for which you have set up CNAME mapping to the cloud service domain you specify in Cloud Builder (optional, but strongly recommended)

Get a Microsoft Azure subscription

A Microsoft Azure subscription and account are required to use Microsoft Azure infrastructure and services. Contact Microsoft to purchase a subscription.

Enable programmatic deployment of ArcGIS images

Before you can use the images from the Azure Marketplace, you must enable the programmatic deployment of ArcGIS. An administrator of your Azure subscription must enable programmatic deployment once for the ArcGIS images. This enables all current and future ArcGIS images on the Azure Marketplace.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Browse to the ArcGIS image in the Virtual Machine Marketplace.
    1. Click Marketplace on the home screen.
    2. Choose Virtual Machines.
    3. Type arcgis in the search text box.
  3. Choose the ArcGIS <release> for Server image from the search results.
  4. Click Want to deploy programatically? Get Started at the bottom of the pane.

    The Configure Programmatic Deployment pane opens.

  5. Read the legal terms and Azure Marketplace Terms. If you accept their conditions, proceed with enabling programmatic deployment.
  6. Click Enable for your subscription.
  7. Click Save.

Your Azure subscription is now set to use the ArcGIS for Server image from Cloud Builder.

Obtain a license from Esri

To deploy a GIS server, you need an ArcGIS for Server license.

Get images from Microsoft Azure Marketplace

ArcGIS for Server on Microsoft Azure images are available from Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Use these images with ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure to deploy either a GIS server or web GIS.

Open Microsoft Azure Marketplace in a web browser and search for esri or arcgis to find the ArcGIS for Server on Microsoft Azure images.

Install ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure

Download the ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure installation file, and run it on a local Windows machine to install.

Deploy ArcGIS for Server

Follow these steps to configure an ArcGIS for Server site on Microsoft Azure:

  1. Start ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure.
  2. Sign in to Microsoft Azure.

    If you want to use the Microsoft Azure Government cloud and have an Azure Government subscription, check U.S. Government account.

  3. Choose the Azure subscription that contains the image you want to use and click next.
  4. Click deploy a site.
  5. Choose A Server to host GIS services.
  6. Choose which image to use.
  7. Either choose an existing cloud service domain or type a name for a new domain that ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure will create.

    Cloud service domain names must be unique. If you want ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure to create the domain, click Check Availability to ensure the domain name is not in use. Note that to use a certificate authority issued SSL certificate, the cloud service name must match the CNAME mapping you configured for the certificate.

  8. If you have an ArcGIS for Server workgroup license, are deploying a test or demonstration site, or only want one ArcGIS Server machine, click Single machine deployment. Only one Azure machine will be used for your site. If you want to distribute processing and connection loads across multiple machines, do not check Single machine deployment.
  9. Click next.
  10. Type a user name and password for the login you will use to administer the virtual machines in your site. The same login and password is used for all machines in your site.

    The user name must contain three or more characters, contain no spaces, and cannot be admin or administrator. The password must meet Windows Server 2012 complexity requirements.

  11. Choose the time zone you want your virtual machines to use.
  12. If you want Microsoft Azure to apply updates, check Enable Automatic Operating System Updates.
  13. Choose an existing virtual network from the drop-down list or click the plus sign (+) to create a virtual network.
  14. If you create a virtual network using Cloud Builder, specify the following:
    1. Type a name for the virtual network. Names must be unique within your Azure subscription.
    2. Click Check Availability to be sure the name you typed is unique.
    3. Choose the range of TCP/IP addresses (the address space class) to be used by your virtual network. See Microsoft documentation for more information on address classes.
    4. Choose the CIDR value from the VM Count drop-down list to determine the maximum number of addresses to be used in your address space.
    5. Click create.
    6. Once the virtual network is created, click close.
  15. Set virtual machine names and sizes and click next.
    • If you want ArcGIS Server Cloud Builder for Microsoft Azure to assign names and default sizes (A2) to a two-machine site, click Use default names and sizes for the machines.
    • If you want to specify the number of servers, their sizes, and their names, click Specify names and sizes for the individual machines. Set these properties on the next panel. Machine names must be 15 characters or fewer in length.

      Do not run ArcGIS Server on a greater number of CPU cores than you have licensed with Esri, regardless of whether the cores are in the cloud or on-premises. See this white paper on licensing in virtualized and cloud environments for more information.

  16. In the Site License section, browse to the location of your ArcGIS Server license file on disk. You can use a prvc, keycodes, ecp, or edn license file.
  17. In the Site Administrator section, type a user name and password for the ArcGIS Server primary server administrator account.
  18. In the ArcGIS 'Run As' Account section, specify a user name and password for the Windows login under which the ArcGIS Server service will run.
  19. Click next.
  20. Specify where you want feature service data to be stored.
    • If you want the feature services you publish to this GIS server to access data in an Azure SQL Database, choose Microsoft Azure SQL Database. When you publish feature services, the data will be copied from the source database or geodatabase and placed in the managed database in Azure SQL Database.
    • If you want the feature services you publish to this GIS server to access data in a SQL Server database on a Microsoft Azure virtual machine, choose Microsoft SQL Server. When you publish feature services, the data will be copied from the source database or geodatabase and placed in the managed database in the SQL Server database on Azure.
    • If you do not want feature service data copied to a managed database, choose None. Be aware that feature service data will be copied to a file geodatabase on the GIS server when you publish. If you want to reference the data directly from your on-premises database, you must set up connectivity from your on-premises database or geodatabase to the GIS server (typically using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between your on-premises network and Azure Virtual Network) and register the database with the GIS server.
  21. If you chose to register a managed database, either provide server, database name, database administrator, and user name information for an existing Azure SQL Database or SQL Server database on Azure, or use the Cloud Builder interface to define these.

    Note that the database administrator user name and password are required to create a database server and Azure SQL Database, so you will be prompted to provide those.

    The Database User in a managed database is the user account that owns the data that gets copied to the managed database when the feature service is published.

  22. Click next.
  23. Specify the SSL certificate to use for your deployment. Esri recommends you use a certificate issued by a certificate authority (CA).
    • To use a CA certificate, choose Certificate issued by a Certificate Authority, browse to and choose the Pfx File you exported from your certificate, specify the Password set on the file, and, in the Domain Name (Alias) text box, type the CNAME you mapped to your cloud service domain.
    • If you are setting up a GIS server for testing purposes and, therefore, choose not to use a CA certificate, choose Self Signed Certificate (Automatically generated), and Cloud Builder will generate a self-signed certificate for your virtual machines. Note that people connecting to your GIS server and services will receive warnings that the site is not trusted if you use a self-signed certificate.
  24. Click next.
  25. Review the settings in the summary window. If anything needs to be changed, click back to go to the panel where you need to change the information. When all settings are correct, click finish to create your GIS server.


    Click save summary to save your site configuration information to a text file.

When the site successfully deploys, a link to ArcGIS Server Manager will appear in the message box. To connect to Manager at a later time, use the URL format https://<cloud service name>