GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS

Installing and configuring a portal

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This section of the lesson describes how Portal for ArcGIS is installed and initialized. As we did with ArcGIS Server, we’ll use AWS as the target infrastructure. Some of the material gets technical; please follow any instructions carefully and read all recommended documentation.

Think about all the ArcGIS Online features that you used in the past three lessons, including the ability to make web maps, upload data, publish services, and run analysis. What kinds of technical resources would you need in order to run something like that in an internal environment? First, you would need a web server that could serve out pages via the HTTP or HTTPS protocols. You’d also need a data storage mechanism to save all the uploaded data and the information about web maps, groups, users, etc. Finally, if people were allowed to publish services, you’d need a GIS server in the background.

The aforementioned components are essentially the pieces of ArcGIS Enterprise. Per the Esri help topic What is ArcGIS Enterprise, the product comes with:

  • ArcGIS Server
  • Portal for ArcGIS
  • ArcGIS Data Store (this holds data used by the portal)
  • ArcGIS Web Adaptor (this is a small application that allows the portal and server to hook onto your organization’s existing web server)

If you want to run a portal, you install and configure all the pieces. If you just want to run ArcGIS Server, you install the server piece and the web adaptor.

Installing and configuring ArcGIS Enterprise requires close collaboration with IT staff in your organization, especially if the product will be integrated with existing public facing web sites. The installation requires a web domain name, as well as an SSL certificate that will allow for encrypted connections. This certificate verifies your web address’s identify, and is usually obtained for a fee from a certificate authority. IT departments typically manage the acquisition and distribution of these certificates throughout their organizations. One of the most effective things you can do as a GIS professional is establish a cordial, open, and frequent relationship with your IT staff. This will help things run more smoothly when some careful coordination is needed for configuring web GIS components.

Deploying ArcGIS Enterprise on clouds like AWS or Microsoft Azure might be simpler in some ways than doing it on premises because Esri has automated parts of the configuration process. This is possible because all the software and configuration on the AMIs is well known. Installation in your on-premises environment could become complex if you are running some kind of software, scan, or policy that doesn't "play nicely" with one of the ArcGIS Enterprise components. Furthermore, if you're not on the IT staff, you might have greater control over cloud accounts and environments than you typically do in your on-premises environment.

For installing ArcGIS Enterprise on AWS, Esri leverages a service called AWS Cloud Formation. This allows you to submit a document containing all the configuration instructions and launch it one time as a single connected process. This document is called a template.

Take a look at the templates listed on this page: Esri 10.5.1 CloudFormation Templates

Scroll down and find the Single-machine Deployment Template and click the Read Me link to see the documentation for running this template. This will give you an idea of all the information you need to supply. The most important are the domain name (mapped to an elastic IP) and an SSL certificate. Running all the components of ArcGIS Enterprise on a single machine in this way can be an appropriate way to test the software, and it may be the only option for a limited GIS shop.

You can see an example of the template code itself here: Windows 2016 Single-machine Deployment template

Notice at the bottom of this read me document all of the links to information about how to configure your portal after install. Help topics such as Configure home page explain how to replace the default styles, graphics, and maps with your own content.