Architecture pillars

To support the implementation of system patterns as well as the practice of architecture for ArcGIS systems, Esri has identified six architecture pillars, or technical areas, which contribute significantly to the design and implementation of systems. The articles included in these pillar sub-sections cover best practices and successful approaches while sharing some perspective on how Esri has developed software for these technologies. Each of the pillars is an important area to consider during the architecture phase, and does not represent a clear, singular set of requirements, but an area of consideration that should be discussed, weighed, and decided in collaboration with an organization’s IT standards and leadership.


Whether automating a software deployment or a specific workflow, automation increasingly drives efficiency in modern systems. This section provides guidance on where automation opportunities exist across the ArcGIS system, and how automation workflows are commonly implemented in ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online. Deployment automation through infrastructure-as-code, tools like Chef and PowerShell DSC, and other approaches are also discussed, with links to extensive documentation.


No system operates truly independently, and most have key dependencies on other systems. ArcGIS is an excellent integrator between other enterprise systems, using location as a common layer for data, transactions, workflows and use cases. This section lays out several ways to approach potential integrations along with key technologies that can enable these processes. Common external systems such as data lakes and data warehouses, integration patterns using webhooks, and external architecture components such as API management layers are also discussed.


To understand how a system is operating, and how well or poorly it relates to an established baseline, the observation of system metrics, status and processes is critical. This section provides topical guidance on how to approach questions of observability in ArcGIS and provides guidance on how ArcGIS systems can implement observability goals as well as integrating with third party observability offerings.

Performance and scalability

This section provides an approach to establishing performance baselines and optimizing services and systems for performance. Users often judge a system based on their perceived experience of performance, and this pillar is critical to adoption and long-term system relevance. Scalability can also be addressed through workload separation, and a robust testing strategy ensures that performance choices and decisions are made from an educated basis.


Enterprise systems must be reliable, as they run the business of an organization while other business processes integrate with them and rely on them. This pillar includes considerations and recommendations in this area, as architects strive to design systems that meet reliability goals while managing cost and aligning to organizational standards and tools such as load balancers or high availability requirements.


Whether deploying a software-based system on-premises or an entirely SaaS-based system, establishing the identity of users and securing both the system boundary and internals is critical. This section also provides recommendations related to new security trends in the IT industry and how these technologies interact with an ArcGIS architecture process. The ArcGIS Trust Center also provides a wide array of information related to security topics, compliance, and privacy.

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