New white paper gives metrics, best practices for a workgroup ArcGIS Server deployment

You probably wonder how much you can get out of a four-core machine with ArcGIS Server. The answer depends on what you do… We’ve prepared a new white paper document where you can see some interesting metrics on the throughput of a workgroup ArcGIS Server deployment and an application based on the Flex Viewer.

Throughout the document you’ll learn the steps we followed to create a typical Web application for use within a local government office. We also provide figures showing how the application performed under load. While every map and every workflow is different, the document provides some insight into what you can expect from ArcGIS Server and gives some tips on how to approach the creation of web applications to get the most out of your server.

View the document Best Practices for Creating an ArcGIS Server Web Mapping Application for Municipal/Local Government.

Contributed by Ismael Chivite and Derek Law, ESRI Product Management

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  1. sterlingdq says:

    I can take a shot at these. #1 is difficult without seeing the problem. If you’re in a Web app, the map’s not going to do a dynamic draw when you zoom in. Instead, it should create the tiles on demand. This can take longer than a normal dynamic draw because the server draws a large chunk of tiles at once. If you waited a while and you’re sure nothing’s going to draw, the next thing might be to check your data connections, perhaps looking through the log files for broken layers. Some folks deploy a tile cache, then remove the source data from the production machine; however, removing the source data is going to cause a problem if on-demand caching is enabled. You would see…nothing.

    For question 2, there’s often not a direct 4:1 ratio in tiles between scale levels due to the shape of the area being cached. As you reach larger scales the created tiles follow the area of interest boundary in a more fine-grained way.

    With regards to the caching time, at larger scales more layers tend to be visible and layers tend to have more complex symbology. This makes the tile creation time for large scales disproportionately long.

  2. sterlingdq says:

    If you don’t have cache on demand turned on, it won’t draw the layer dynamically in a Web application. This model of “you either get a tile or you don’t” is by design, and it helps the layer maintain its scalability. Bing Maps and Google Maps work this way when you pan to some area where there’s no data. You just see a generic tile that says “Data not available”. There’s no way MS and Google are going to let potentially millions of people make dynamic requests against their servers.

    And yes, you’re right, you can put a “dummy” MXD on the production server and still see the tiles. You need some feature class in there (turned off) to define the map extent, but that’s about it. This saves you the need to put all your data on the production server. It doesn’t work if you’re doing queries or cache on demand, though.

  3. sterlingdq says:

    @ej- The best approach here is probably to go back to the source MXD. As you zoom in and out in ArcMap can you see the data at all scales? Check to see if you have a custom full extent defined, if you are clipping the data frame to a given shape, or if you have scale ranges set on some of the layers.

    If the source MXD looks okay, then add the (uncached) map service itself to ArcMap. Again, check to see if data appears as expected at all scales.

    If it looks okay in those other environments, then it could be isolated as a caching issue. Are you using a feature class to define your area of cache creation? If you are using the lower 48 states as your mask, Alaska and Hawaii would disappear eventually as you zoomed in. Also, make sure your feature class is in the Google/Bing projection (WGS 1984 Web Mercator)

  4. wthughes says:

    first question: do you have to use one of the web ADFs Java, Silverlight, .Net, Flex to create ArcServer maps?

    Anyone done a cost comparison on Java, Silverlight, .Net, and Flex?


  5. maxsquires says:

    Hello. You noted above that it is possible to create a “dummy” mxd by leaving just a layer for the extent of map and the service would still draw tiles appropriately. Is there any documentation on this? I am trying to do this but the service appears blank in both arcgis explorer and in arcmap after doing this. Thanks.


  6. sterlingdq says:

    @Max – The technique of using a “dummy” MXD behind your tiles is discussed at the end of this topic: If you still have trouble verifying that the tiles are available in ArcMap or ArcGIS Explorer, you may check to see if you can get the tiles in a simple Web app. To do this, you can try browsing to the service in the Services Directory and click “View in JavaScript”. You can also try typing anticipated tile URLs directly into the browser address bar to see if they’re available through your Virtual Directory.