ArcGIS Enterprise

ArcGIS Enterprise Product Q&A highlights from our 2021 Esri User Conference

A big thank you to everyone who attended our 2021 Esri User Conference last month!  Once again it was a virtual conference, which means could not interact with you all in person, but it did provide an excellent opportunity to hear from you all – our customers, partners, and GIS colleagues from around the world.

If you attended the conference, you still have access to recorded sessions for a short time within the conference platform. The plenary presentations are already published to YouTube, and soon we will add recordings from the technical sessions as well so please keep visiting this blog for an update.

Throughout the conference, we received many questions in our product Q&A and live technical sessions.  Thank you for all the great conversations around ArcGIS Enterprise!  For those who missed the event or who just want a recap, the team has compiled the questions you voted most important and their answers.

Jump to a category


Q: How do I find out what’s new in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9?

A: ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 is a short-term support release that was released last May. This blog and video cover the overall release, and our other blogs detail new features such as ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes, administrative reports, the ArcGIS Solutions app, and more.


Q: When is ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1 releasing?

A: You can expect ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1 to release later this year, in Q4.  More details will be coming closer to release!


Q: Will the new Map Viewer be available out of beta for ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 or 10.9?

A: No, while the new Map Viewer will be available out of beta in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1, there won’t be a new install available specifically for 10.8.1 or 10.9.


Q: Why does functionality introduced in ArcGIS Online take so long to make it to ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: While ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise are in many ways similar and share a lot of functionality (such as the portal experience, web applications, and more), it is important to keep in mind that they are two separate products.  There is development work involved with taking the information included in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Online product, and making it usable in the software product that is Enterprise – as well as making this software ready to install in your infrastructure.  With Online releasing four times a year and Enterprise releasing twice, Online may seem “ahead” with some of the functionality it offers but Enterprise also has some functionality you may not see in Online until later.


Q: Will ArcMap always be able to publish to ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: No, ArcMap will not always be able to publish to ArcGIS Enterprise.  As a bit of background, ArcGIS Enterprise’s ArcGIS Server component currently includes two internal runtimes: an ArcMap-based runtime for services published from ArcMap and an ArcGIS Pro-based runtime for services published from ArcGIS Pro. Starting with the ArcGIS 2022 releases, the ArcMap-based runtime will be removed from the software, meaning it will no longer be possible to publish newer services from ArcMap to ArcGIS Server sites.  Additionally, existing services previously published from ArcMap will need to be migrated to the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime. The ideal time to migrate these services is before upgrading to an ArcGIS Enterprise release that only contains the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime.  For more on this, see our removal of ArcMap-based runtime from ArcGIS Enterprise blog.

To help you prepare for this change, the ArcGIS Enterprise 2021 releases – version 10.9 and the upcoming 10.9.1 – include migration tooling that can help you migrate all compatible ArcMap-based services to the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime.  This migration tooling comes in two forms: the Edit Runtime operation, accessible through ArcGIS Server Manager, and the UpdateArcMapServices utility, accessible as a command line utility included with ArcGIS Server.  For more on the migration tooling included in the latest release, see our migrating services to the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 blog.

Even with the migration tooling introduced at 10.9, some services will need to be migrated manually, meaning that they will need to be republished from ArcGIS Pro.  For those running a version of ArcGIS Enterprise without the migration tooling, 10.8.1 or earlier, services will need to be manually migrated to the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime before upgrading directly to a release of ArcGIS Enterprise with only the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime.  For more information on how to migrate ArcGIS Enterprise services manually, see our manually migrating services from the ArcMap-based to the ArcGIS Pro-based runtime technical paper.


Q: When will ArcGIS Velocity be available in ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: Currently ArcGIS Velocity is only available as a SaaS offering, as part of ArcGIS Online.  In ArcGIS Enterprise, we have ArcGIS GeoEvent Server to help with your real-time event-based data.  The real-time team that builds both products has heard your feedback and is currently looking to potentially bring ArcGIS Velocity into ArcGIS Enterprise.


Architecture and Installation

Q: Is it considered a best practice to install both ArcGIS Web Adaptors, for the Enterprise portal and the ArcGIS Server components, on the same machine?

A: There is no best practice per se; you can install the ArcGIS Web Adaptor on any machine on your organization’s network.  It really depends on your situation but, when making this decision, it’s important to consider how members of your organization will be accessing the Enterprise portal and the content.  Factors to consider include whether you want ArcGIS Enterprise accessible within your firewall, in a DMZ, and what security configuration ArcGIS Enterprise is set up with.


Q: Is there a future for standalone ArcGIS Server sites?

A: Standalone ArcGIS Server sites, meaning it’s not federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, is still considered a supported configuration.  Many of you continue to use this option and we have introduced new functionality to support these workflows, such the ability to publish from ArcGIS Pro to a standalone ArcGIS Server.  While a full ArcGIS Enterprise deployment may be what makes sense to most of you and your organizations, a standalone ArcGIS Server still makes sense for some – whether that’s powering your basemaps or providing services to be consumed in custom web applications.  Regardless, standalone ArcGIS Server sites are still very much a thing.



Q: Is it possible to use both active directory and built-in users simultaneously?

A: Yes, you can!  It’s all in how you have your ArcGIS Enterprise organization configured.


Q: Can we use an active directory security group to add users to the ArcGIS Enterprise portal instead of having to add each new user manually or with a script?

A: Not directly.  Within the ArcGIS Enterprise portal user interface, you can set members of a group based off of an active directory group.  Using the ArcGIS Enterprise portal REST API, you can browse to your active directory group, get a list of all members, create a file from this, and then upload this list as new members within your Enterprise portal.


Q: Can you configure ArcGIS Enterprise to use SAML authentication configured to work with multiple active directories?

A: It is possible, but this is all dependent on the SAML provider, not your ArcGIS Enterprise software.  This can be done through SAML with an active directory forest or a SAML federation.  This is something for your IT admin, not necessarily your GIS admin, to investigate further.


Q: When my users log into the ArcGIS Enterprise portal with their active directory accounts, their usernames are “domain\userID”.  Is there anything we can do to have their login just be “userID” without the domain?

A: No.  Your ArcGIS Enterprise portal supports active directory forests and it needs to know which domain the user ID is part of.  The same username can be present in multiple domains; the username JaneDoe can be present in both the SouthAmerica domain and the Africa domain.  Keeping the usernames as SouthAmerica\JaneDoe and Africa\JaneDoe helps distinguish between the two separate user accounts.  Not to mention, having both the domain and username helps distinguish from built-in accounts as well.


Q: Our ArcGIS Enterprise is configured with SAML logins – how do I ensure my ArcGIS Enterprise portal users aren’t prompted for credentials when signing into Enterprise?

A: The SAML specification may be written so you only get authorized for one client at a time.  These settings depend on how your IT department has configured your identity provider (IDP) and security.  With the proper settings on the SAML side, you can get close to not having to see that sign-in window in.


Q: How can I have single sign-on experience when connecting my ArcGIS Enterprise portal to field applications on my phone, such as ArcGIS Field Maps?

A: Esri’s field applications, including ArcGIS Field Maps and even custom applications built with the ArcGIS Runtimes APIs, all have a very similar sign-on process using OAuth.  These apps open a web browser within the mobile application; this web browser is where you sign into the Enterprise portal, using the same credentials you’d use in a desktop browser.

The ability to have a more streamlined sign-on experience, without being prompted for your credentials, will depend on how what security ArcGIS Enterprise is configured to use and what your IT department provisions on your mobile device.  This could be a profile or a certificate to authenticate for you.  A good approach would be to get the sign-on experience as smooth as possible in a desktop environment and then apply those principles to your mobile device.


Q: How is OpenID Connect different than other identity providers?

A: Support for OpenID Connect logins was introduced in 10.9.  While it’s a different security protocol under the hood, you can think of it being similar to similar to SAML logins.  It all depends on which identity provider you have.  Your IDP may support SAML, OpenID Connect, or both!


Q: Is multifactor authentication in ArcGIS Enterprise supported with web-tier, SAML, or OpenID Connect logins?

A: No, multifactor authentication in ArcGIS Enterprise is only available for built-in accounts.



Q: Will the WebGIS DR utility work if the ArcGIS Enterprise portal and ArcGIS Server components are on different domains?

A: If communication is open between all ArcGIS Enterprise components so that they can communicate to one another, this will work.  There are certain considerations beyond the WebGIS DR utility to consider, including connectivity, different data centers, issues outside the environment, and so forth.


Q: Sometimes there are issues with ArcGIS Data Store which would be easier to understand if you could look directly into the PostgreSQL database but that is a “black box”.  Will there ever been an option to allow direct access to the PostgreSQL database, even on a read-only basis?

A: The way ArcGIS Data Data Store is designed, you shouldn’t have to access that internal PostgreSQL database since it is a fully managed option.  We don’t intend to expose the internal database for those kinds of operations.  Generally, this data is exposed through hosted content and their related administrative APIs.  If you are still encountering issues related to this, you should reach out to Esri Technical Support for assistance.


Q: Is there a way to configure ArcGIS Monitor to not only detect down services but to also start the services?

A:  Not today but this is something we’re actively researching and it’s on the long-term roadmap for ArcGIS Monitor.  Stay tuned for more information coming on this in the future.


Q: Is there a plan to monitor traffic in ArcGIS Enterprise, such as for individual services, like what we see in ArcGIS Online?

A: We’re looking into this further with ArcGIS Monitor in order to intercept ArcGIS Enterprise traffic at various stages of content usage.  This would potentially include servlets within ArcGIS Server and allow users to leverage JavaScript within their applications to provide information to ArcGIS Monitor.


Q: Aside from ArcGIS Monitor, what tools can I use to monitor the health of my overall ArcGIS Enterprise and individual services?

A: Beyond ArcGIS Monitor, there’s a couple of tools available put together by Esri’s Professional Services for this.  There’s System Test for the Web, which can help you craft requests specific requests against map services to check their health and performance over time.  There’s also System Log Parser, which will aggregate various logs together to make them more easily minable.

Beyond this, you can look into using a custom script to parse certain ArcGIS Enterprise REST endpoints, depending on what information you want to keep an eye on.  The ArcGIS REST API documentation and ArcGIS API for Python documentation can be helpful for creating such custom scripts.


Services and Data

Q: How should I go about allocating pooling instances for my individual services?

A: The first thing to decide is if you want to use dedicated instances or shared instances.  Shared instances are recommended for services that receive infrequent requests, particularly when the server site hosts many services. Dedicated instances, on the other hand, make a service always available to handle requests using one or more server processes and are ideal to use for services that receive constant or particularly compute-intensive requests.

If you are unsure, start with shared instances – you can always move to dedicated if you find it necessary. See our documentation for more information on configuring service instance settings.


Q: Is it possible to change the name of a SQL Server database registered as a data store with ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: Yes!  This can be done through ArcGIS Server Manager.  Similar to how you can change a database connection to use new password, you can also change the name of the database (for example, if you need to migrate your database to a new machine).  Doing this updates the connection string for all services using this particular string. Then the individual services are restarted, and the change is complete.  Do be aware of any implications changing the hostname of your database may have on the schema of your database, tables, etc.  More information on this can be found in our product documentation.


Q: Is there a way to automate daily extracts of data views or tables to the ArcGIS Data Store by either overwriting feature services or by updating referenced layers in an enterprise geodatabase?

A: This is a common request to keep data in sync across multiple systems.  You could look into the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension, which is available for both ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Enterprise.  This allows for you to connect to many different data sources and different targets.  You can also move your data in part or in whole.  This could be run manually, as a geoprocessing service, or as a script.


Q: Is there a way to have multiple owners of one ArcGIS Enterprise portal item?

A: No, the security model used in the ArcGIS Enterprise portal only allows one member to have own an item.  You could look into using a group with update capabilities, which would allow for group members to update content shared to that group.


Q: We’ve had some issues using ArcGIS Online Assistant to swap our URLs within our web maps and web applications, is there a better tool to use for this?

A: ArcGIS Online Assistant is a tool put out by Esri’s Professional Services to help inspect, update, and copy your ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise portal item’s JSON.  The team has been working to update this tool, now known as ArcGIS Assistant, which is currently in beta – we’d love to hear your feedback on it.  We also have partners, including GEO Jobe, whose Admin Tools can be used for editing item JSON.

When editing item JSON in your ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise organizations, be aware that these workflows are “use at your own risk”.  Making changes in one item may have impacts downstream – for example, editing a web map pop-up will affect the pop-ups in any web application that is consuming that particular web map.


Q: As our ArcGIS Enterprise organization grows, it has become difficult to keep track of which services exist in which layers, which layers exist in which maps, etc.  What work is being done to help this?

A: Currently we have partners who have solutions to help out with this; one solution that comes to mind is GEO Jobe’s Admin Tools.

This is also something we’re actively looking into, with internal research into what is needed to make your ArcGIS Enterprise more manageable and accessible to both admins and.  We’d love to hear your use cases, as that feedback will help us develop a design that suits you and your organization’s needs.


Q: How can I share content between my ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online organization?

A: Distributed collaboration will allow for you to share content between an ArcGIS Enterprise organization and other ArcGIS Enterprise organizations or an ArcGIS Online organization.   You can choose how you share your content, whether that be references to the original data source or copies of the data.  You have full control over how you share those items between those organizations.  For more ideas on how to use distributed collaboration in your organization, see our five ways to use distributed collaboration to share your data with others blog.


Q: How exactly are organizations using distributed collaboration between ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: Distributed collaboration could be a solution when ArcGIS Enterprise is your system of record, sharing content into ArcGIS Online.  For example, content can be promoted from Enterprise to Online for workers to use out in the field.  Those edits can then be synchronized back to Online and, starting at 10.9, those edits can be synchronized back to Enterprise using two-way distributed collaboration.


Q: Will distributed collaboration sync ever be available in real-time (or at least close to it)?

A: There are technical limitations preventing this and distributed collaboration’s intent is not to share data in real-time.  This is why the minimum sync interval is one hour.


Q: Can I set up a distributed collaboration between my ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise organizations if my Enterprise is behind a firewall?

A: Absolutely!  You will need to make sure that the network where ArcGIS Enterprise resides has outbound traffic allowed on port 443 so that it can communicate with ArcGIS Online.  To get a bit deeper, this is because Enterprise will be making requests to Online and Online will only be responding – Online will never be making requests of Enterprise.


Q: Is there any way to change the 1GB limit when sharing content with distributed collaboration?

A: When a sync takes place, we have intentionally limited the size of one item to 1GB and of an entire sync to 5GB. There is no way to change it at this point as this is the most performant size we are able to support.  Files larger than this require a significantly long time to synchronize and have a higher probability of errors.  This is something we’re continuing to investigate further.


Q: Currently distributed collaboration works by only updating the data with additions and deletes, rather than truncating and appending. Are there plans to support the truncate and append workflows for people moving data between databases?

A: Under the hood, distributed collaboration uses our replication technology, which relies on ObjectIDs.  Truncating and appending would break the relationships with the ObjectIDs and the replication process.  If you need this, distributed collaboration may not be the correct tool to move content.



Q: How can I migrate content between environments, such as development to staging to production?

A: If you’re looking to have a parallel environment for testing, it’s important to think about if you need all content or just a representative set of content.  For example, if you have 50 image services in your production environment, having five in your QA environment is likely to be an accurate representation for testing purposes.

If you’re looking to migrate the content between environments, the group import/export functionality is worth looking into.  Introduced at 10.8.1, currently hosted content, web maps, configurable applications, and Web AppBuilder applications are supported but we are looking to include more types of content – such as ArcGIS Dashboards and ArcGIS Enterprise Sites and would love to hear your feedback.  To read more on this, see our moving content across tiered ArcGIS Enterprise environments blog.

Even if referenced services may need to be republished, web maps can still be copied regardless of if they contain referenced or hosted services.  Cloning can also be accomplished using the ArcGIS API for Python.  If you are looking to duplicate your entire ArcGIS Enterprise, you may want to consider using the WebGIS DR utility.  More on this can be found in our migrate to a new machine in ArcGIS Enterprise using the WebGISDR tool blog.

This is all depends on what you’re testing and what you’re hoping to validate with these environments.


Q: How do I migrate applications from ArcGIS Online to ArcGIS Enterprise?

A: Before migrating any applications, it’s important to consider if that ArcGIS Online application is available in ArcGIS Enterprise.  For example, ArcGIS Instant Apps were introduced in ArcGIS Online earlier this year, so they won’t be available in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7.1, which was released in 2019 – before Instant Apps existed.

Once you make sure the application you want to migrate is present in both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise, there’s a couple of different ways you could look into migrating the application.  Depending on the application, there’s distributed collaboration (which has been described in previous questions).  You could also look into the ArcGIS API for Python, which has logic built into it that takes into account related layers, web maps, and web applications.  If using notebooks, there are sample notebooks out there to help out with this.


ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes

ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes received so many questions at our 2021 Esri User Conference, it has its own Q&A blog.


Thank you for taking the time to read through this!  We hope this is useful for your continued understanding of ArcGIS Enterprise.  If you have any questions or comments, be sure to connect with us in the comments below.

About the author

Jill is a senior product manager for ArcGIS Enterprise. She works to empower ArcGIS Enterprise users and their organizations. In her free time, Jill loves to be outside in the California sunshine.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Next Article

Basemap Releases Include Over 300 New and Updated Communities

Read this article