We are thrilled to be in the 11.x generation of ArcGIS Enterprise! Last year, we turned ArcGIS Enterprise up to 11 with the release of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0. This introduced many new and breaking changes to the software that marked a new generation of ArcGIS Enterprise. We built on this with the release of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1 earlier this year.
The 11.x generation introduces many significant changes to the software, to make ArcGIS Enterprise more modern, secure, and add even more valuable functionality. We know many ArcGIS Enterprise users are already thoughtfully planning their upgrade to this new generation of the software and want to provide another resource as you prepare for your upgrade to 11.x. In this blog, we will review the considerations you should make prior to upgrading to 11.x, why it might be a good idea to upgrade to Enterprise 10.9.1 first, depending on where your organization is currently at, and considerations for future versions of ArcGIS Enterprise.
Before diving into all the new and exciting things in current releases, we should review the Product Lifecycle for ArcGIS Enterprise and the difference between long and short-term support releases on Windows and Linux. For any given version of ArcGIS Enterprise, there is a defined product lifecycle. A version of Enterprise will move from general availability (in which it receives full technical support and patching) all the way to retirement (in which in no longer receives technical support or patching). The length of time it takes a release to move along this spectrum from general availability to retirement depends on if it is a short-term or long-term support release. If a version of Enterprise is classified as a short-term support release, it will receive 1.5 years of technical support and 3 years of patching. Long-term support releases of ArcGIS Enterprise receive 4 years of technical support and 6 years for patching. Please refer to the Product Lifecycle page on the Technical Support website for more information.
There were also some version numbering changes starting at the 11.0 release of ArcGIS Enterprise that relate to the product lifecycle. In the 11.x generation, there are no longer “dot dot” version numbers, meaning instead of having ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0.1 after 11.0, we went straight to 11.1. In the 10.x generation, long-term support releases were “dot dot” releases. For example, ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 was a short-term support release and 10.9.1 (the “dot dot” release) was a long-term support release. With the removal of “dot dot” version numbers in the 11.x generation, even numbered minor versions (11.0, 11.2, 11.4, etc.) are now short-term support releases and odd numbered minor versions (11.1, 11.3, 11.5, etc.) are long-term support releases. For more information on these version numbering changes, refer to the What’s in a number? blog.
We encourage you to upgrade to both short and long-term support releases, but we know some organizations may wait to upgrade from long-term support release to long-term support release if the longer product lifecycle is necessary for their organization. Because ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1 is our first long-term support release in the 11.x generation of Enterprise, this may be the first version of 11.x many customers upgrade to. The significant changes originally released in Enterprise 11.0 are also present in Enterprise 11.1 and onwards and we want you to be prepared.
Some of the most significant changes at the 11.x generation of Enterprise include the removal of the ArcMap-based runtime, the .NET generation update, and various web app retirements. Let’s go through each of these changes in detail:
ArcMap-based runtime removal:
- Versions of ArcGIS Enterprise prior to 11.0 included two internal runtimes: one runtime for services published from ArcMap and a second runtime for services published from ArcGIS Pro. At the 11.0 release of Enterprise and onwards, there is only an internal runtime to support services published from ArcGIS Pro. This means with releases of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0 and onwards, it will no longer be possible to publish services from ArcMap and ArcMap-based ArcPy to ArcGIS Server sites (both federated and non-federated). Thankfully, if you are still using services published from ArcMap, there is migration tooling in the software to help you migrate these services. Many services will migrate automatically during the upgrade to 11.x, meaning you don’t have to manually republish anything. Other specific types of services, such as geoprocessing services, originally published from ArcMap will need to be republished from Pro. For thorough documentation on this change and the migration work involved, please refer to the Removal of ArcMap-based runtime from ArcGIS Enterprise blog and the Services and the ArcGIS Pro service runtime documentation page.
.NET generation update:
- ArcGIS Enterprise on Windows, and other products in the ArcGIS system, use .NET as an underlying framework technology. In order to stay modern, we regularly update the version of .NET that is used and supported by ArcGIS Enterprise. With the release of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0 we began the move to the modern version of .NET (called simply .NET in contrast to the older .NET Framework). At 11.0, we moved the ArcGIS Enterprise SDK from .NET Framework 4.x to .NET 6. This means ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0 and onwards requires that server object extensions (SOEs) and server object interceptors (SOIs) are built using .NET 6 rather than .NET Framework. This affects both developers using the SDK and system administrators deploying SOEs and SOIs. Prior to upgrading, system administrators should ensure that .NET 6 and any necessary extensibility prerequisites are installed. For more information, refer to the ArcGIS Enterprise SDK.
- At the 11.1 release, the ArcGIS Web Adaptor for Microsoft IIS also shifted from using .NET Framework to being built with .NET 6. In order to ensure you do not run into any challenges while upgrading, make sure to have .NET 6 and any necessary prerequisites installed. Please refer to the ArcGIS Web Adaptor 11.1 system requirements documentation for more information.
Web app retirements:
- The process of moving from these older web apps to the current generation depends on which apps you are specifically working with. Certain apps may require little to no migration to get started with using the current-generation version, while others may have a more involved migration pattern. Let’s go through the web app retirements to understand the migration pattern to the new apps:
- Classic Esri Story Maps templates: If you are currently using Classic Esri Story Maps templates, you will need to rebuild those stories using ArcGIS StoryMaps prior to upgrading to ArcGIS Enterprise 11.0 and beyond.
- Presentation for Map Viewer Classic: Presentation for Map Viewer Classic was superseded by the Exhibit instant app. Prior to upgrading to ArcGIS Enterprise 11.x, you will need to retire those old presentations and rebuild them using Exhibit.
- ArcGIS Configurable Apps: Many configurable app templates were retired at 11.0. Existing apps created from these retired templates will need to be rebuilt using ArcGIS Instant Apps prior to upgrading. For a full list of retired configurable app templates, see What’s new in ArcGIS Configurable App templates. There is also a Python script available to help you identify apps that are using retired Configurable App templates.
With all these changes in the 11.x generation of ArcGIS Enterprise, you are probably wondering “what should I be thinking about as I prepare for my upgrade to 11.x?” Let’s walk through the steps you should take to have a thoughtful upgrade.
First, you want to determine the level of effort required for your upgrade. Many things changed at the 11.0 release of ArcGIS Enterprise, but how these changes impact you depend on what you are using within your current deployment. If you are still heavily reliant on ArcMap-based runtime services and using many of the retired web apps, you will have more work to do to prepare for the upgrade. If you are exclusively using ArcGIS Pro-based runtime services and have migrated to the new web apps already, you won’t have much, if any, migration work to do prior to upgrading. You want to carefully go through the Considerations for upgrades documentation to fully understand all of these changes and start to identify which of these changes will have an impact on your organization.
After you have identified which changes at the 11.x generation Enterprise will impact you, you will need to start to plan for necessary migration work. If you are using ArcMap-runtime based services, you will need to identify which of these services need to be manually migrated. Many types of services will automatically migrate during the upgrade process, but particular services such as geoprocessing services will require manual migration. For details on migrating services, refer to the Manually migrating services from the ArcMap-based to ArcGIS Pro-based runtime Technical Paper. You can take advantage of built-in migration tooling at ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.x to take an inventory of these services.
Next, if you have determined particular web app retirements will impact your organization, following the necessary migration steps to move those apps onto the current versions. Again, this migration work will differ depending on the web app. Migration from older web apps to current-generation apps is another process that is well suited to ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1. Enterprise 10.9.1 has many of both the old and new versions of these web apps, allowing you to compare the configuration of your old app to the current-generation app as you migrate content.
Much of this migration work to prepare for Enterprise 11.x, whether migrating services from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro or migrating from older web apps to current-generation web apps, is easiest at ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1. The Consider ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1 until you’re ready to turn it up to 11 blog covers the benefits of using 10.9.1 as an opportunity to migrate your content as you prepare for the 11.x generation.
Next, make sure you are prepared for the .NET changes by installing the necessary pre-requisites for .NET 6 prior to upgrading on Windows. Linux deployments don’t have to worry about this particular change.
Finally, it’s time to upgrade! We are excited about the significant improvements to ArcGIS Enterprise starting at 11.0. The changes made at the 11.x generation of ArcGIS Enterprise were intentional, modernizing the product, making it more secure, adding new functionality, and making it more performant. We want you to take advantage of these improvements to get the full value out of your deployment. There are many things to consider before upgrading to 11.x, but you shouldn’t feel intimidated to upgrade. You should just take a thoughtful approach and use the variety of resources available to prepare for the upgrade. We are excited to hear what you think of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.x!