Using ArcGIS on cloud platforms has been popular for years. The use of cloud platforms and has been growing rapidly for over a decade. Many Esri customers use one or more of the patterns discussed below to quickly deploy secure GIS solutions at scale.
Cloud usage patterns
Cloud computing services fall into three main categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS ), and platform as a service (PaaS ).
With IaaS, you run traditional software, but the hardware infrastructure—the physical servers and networking equipment on your premises—is replaced by virtual machines and virtual networking provisioned and configured using the administrative interfaces of the cloud platform of your choice. With SaaS, everything is hosted and managed by the software vendor. Once you're running in the cloud, there are additional cloud-native features provided by the cloud platform. Common features include storage and database options that are specific to running in the cloud. This kind of functionality is referred to as PaaS and provides building blocks to run highly scalable and highly resilient software deployments.
The choice of running software yourself (ArcGIS Enterprise using an IaaS model) versus having a vendor provide the software as a service (such as ArcGIS Online, Esri Managed Cloud Services, or Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus using a SaaS model) depends on the requirements of the organization.
For many organizations, it's not an either-or choice, as they implement both products to get the best of both worlds. For organizations that choose one or the other, the decision is often driven by functional requirements (capabilities available in one model but not the other) as well as externally imposed requirements around security (rules and regulations that impact where data resides, who manages and has access to their data, and so on). The following graphic shows how these deployment responsibilities are delegated:
This graphic shows the areas of responsibility under the different models.
From the left: a traditional on-premises deployment; deploying ArcGIS Enterprise software under an IaaS model; engaging Esri Managed Cloud Services (EMCS) to deploy and manage software on your behalf; and finally using ArcGIS Online under a SaaS model.
Esri supports working securely in the cloud in three distinct ways:
- ArcGIS cloud images
- Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus
- ArcGIS Online
ArcGIS cloud images
You can build ArcGIS Enterprise software using IaaS. Use specialized deployment tooling to make it easier to install and configure the software on certain cloud platforms. You can also create your own machine images to host Esri software in cloud environments. With either option, security is granularly configurable to meet your security needs. Consider Esri best practices for configuring secure ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS environments as well as your organization's needs and policies when designing your ArcGIS Enterprise site security.
Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus
You can work with Esri to securely deploy ArcGIS Enterprise in the cloud by engaging with Esri Managed Cloud Services to design and host a solution that fits your needs. The Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus offering is compliant with FedRAMP Moderate requirements and provides ArcGIS securely in the cloud. Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus consists of a secure deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise in the cloud and is offered under Managed Services. Esri Managed Cloud Services Advanced Plus can be used as a stand-alone solution, but also to supplement existing implementations of ArcGIS Online using a hybrid approach. This enables customers to meet stricter security requirements while continuing to operate entirely in the cloud.
ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based SaaS mapping and analysis solution. Use it to make maps, analyze data, and to share and collaborate. Get access to workflow-specific apps, maps, and data from around the globe, and tools for being mobile in the field. Your data and maps are stored in a secure and private infrastructure and can be configured to meet your mapping and IT requirements.