If you haven’t heard, Esri found out we finally understand the current naming conventions and licencing models for their server products. Naturally, this means it’s time for a name and licence change. Don’t be too hard on them, many didn’t like the existing names either: is it ‘ArcGIS for Server’ or ‘ArcGIS Server’? And sooo many different server products, all dependent on each other yet separate products at the same time. Arrgghhh. This is what Esri is hoping to fix with the new branding (assumption).

So let’s not dwell on what could have been and the latest ArcMarketing terms du jour.  Instead let’s focus on what this change means to GIS administrators.

What is ArcGIS Enterprise?

The Enterprise is an interstellar spacecraft powered by warp-drive engines that…. oh crap, sorry about that – ArcGIS Enterprise is the entire server stack of Esri software ‘components’ for your organizations’ server environment. This includes:

  • ArcGIS Server
  • Portal for ArcGIS
  • ArcGIS Data Store
  • ArcGIS Web Adaptor

There are lots of enhancements to many of the software components, such as Portal-to-Portal sharing, and new HTTPS defaults. The official list will be released soon but you can checkout the draft Esri 10.5 help pages to get an idea of some of the bigger changes.

So overall, the change doesn’t sound too crazy so far, since ArcGIS [for] Server really came with this product list before. However ArcGIS Enterprise will require new 10.5 authorization numbers as previous authorizations (10.1-10.4x) will not migrate like they did in the past. And as for licencing, this is where it gets fun!

Licencing Roles and Extensions

System capacity and capabilities are licenced “by CPU cores according to one or more server roles” ~Esri docs. In layman’s terms, each ArcGIS Server Role has one or more licence options available. So you install the ArcGIS Server component and licence it as one of the following:

  • ArcGIS GIS Server: Still has editions – Basic/Standard/Advanced
  • ArcGIS Image Server
  • ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server
  • ArcGIS GeoEvent Server
  • ArcGIS Business Analyst Server

From this list, it’s pretty clear licencing is still based on functionality/use, and we get a few new things to laugh at: “ArcGIS GIS Server” is redundantly redundant. And the words ‘ArcGIS’ and ‘Server’ are used to describe every licence which contradicts the overall name change. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. To be honest, it doesn’t matter what the name is, the focus is the functionality/purpose ;). Shakespeare said it best [What’s in a name].

So, the software is upgraded, and the software components you are familiar with from 10.1-10.4 are still there (bigger change is licence lingo), and we licence by functionality. Oh, and yes there are still extensions (Schematics, Data Reviewer, INSPIRE, Workflow, Defense, etc). Some extensions are included, some can be purchased – depending on the Standard/Advanced Edition (extensions not available for Basic).

Should I upgrade?

So nothing has changed, but everything has changed – this doesn’t mean you should be worried about upgrading as you will be given the appropriate licences based on your current maintenance/setup. I usually recommend waiting for the first service pack before moving a production environment – but we do need a few early adopters to find those bugs for the rest of us!

For smaller shops with one licence of AGS Standard (and maybe Portal), it really is just a new authorization with little changing. Larger implementations will see focus on how the various ‘roles’ should be implemented in determining licence needs if you want to change where components are currently installed as part of the upgrade – Multi-server setups by Role are recommended. Either way, we need to update our server diagrams and PowerPoint slides.

Release Date

There is no public/official release date as of yet, but the pre-release is currently available from myEsri. If you are eagerly waiting the final cut, it is anticipated to be released before the end of the calendar year.

Other Names on the Shortlist

Here are a list of names on my 15-second brainstormed shortlist Esri can use for the next name change:

  • “ArcIMS Pro”
  • “ArcGIS 4k Neo”
  • “ArcInternet”
  • “ArcGIS Online Locally”

Supporting links