ArcGIS for Server takes the GIS resources you’ve always used on your desktop, and exposes them as web services that can be used in a wide variety of devices and apps. Types of GIS services you can publish with ArcGIS for Server include:
For example, you can take an ArcMap document and create a map service from it. You can share this service through common web protocols for easy access and integration, for example, using REST, KML, and OGC specifications such as WMS. These GIS services are then combined and integrated for use in all kinds of applications—desktop applications, web browsers, mobile clients, and tablets.
ArcGIS for Server supports workgroup, departmental, and enterprise GIS implementations, as well as web GIS deployments.
ArcGIS for Server is centrally managed, supports multiple users, provides access to rich GIS functionality, and is built using industry standards.
ArcGIS for Server includes the following:
You can access your GIS web services in, desktop, mobile, and browser-based applications and combine them with services on the open web such as Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap, or content shared in ArcGIS Online.
ArcGIS for Server is engineered from first principles to support widely adopted web standards. Publishing your information using ArcGIS for Server enables your content to be easily used in numerous settings without any heavy lifting.
ArcGIS for Server leverages standard web interfaces for all services, including:
ArcGIS for Server includes tools for making tile caches for your web maps. Pregenerating your maps in this way allows you to incorporate top-of-the-line cartography without worrying about performance drawbacks at runtime. You can get size estimates and progress reports as you build your caches, helping you to allocate your server resources appropriately toward the caching job.
ArcGIS for Server includes capabilities for managing multiuser geodatabases in a number of DBMSs. When you need a large multiuser geodatabase that can be edited and used simultaneously by many users or that can be synchronized across many copies (replicas) of the database, the geodatabase provides a good solution.
ArcGIS for Server adds the ability to manage shared, multiuser geodatabases as well as support for a number of critical multiuser database workflows. The ability to leverage your organization's enterprise relational database is a key advantage.
Geodatabases take full advantage of underlying DBMS architectures to support the following:
DBMSs are efficient at retrieving and working with records containing the type of large geometry elements required for GIS data. In addition, GIS database sizes can be much larger, and the number of supported users greater, than with file-based GIS datasets.
These enterprise geodatabases are enabled using the ArcSDE technology that is part of ArcGIS for Server. For information about the ArcSDE geodatabase architecture and how ArcSDE geodatabases leverage relational database technology, review the book of help topics starting with The architecture of a geodatabase.
Many GIS users want to integrate data coming from any external DBMS into their GIS. ArcGIS for Server includes capabilities to connect to, query, apply, and update spatial information from any external relational database.
You can deploy ArcGIS for Server on premises using your own servers, or in the cloud using Amazon EC2. ArcGIS for Server runs in both Windows and Linux environments.
Instead of installing and managing ArcGIS for Server, you can alternatively subscribe to an organizational license for ArcGIS Online to publish services in a hosted environment managed by Esri. ArcGIS Online currently supports feature services and tiled map services. You can publish these to ArcGIS Online directly from ArcMap.