Anatomy of a system pattern

ArcGIS system patterns are types of geospatial systems commonly implemented with ArcGIS software and services.

ArcGIS system patterns are described at two main levels of detail. At the highest level is the system pattern overview, which introduces the system pattern in a product and deployment agnostic form. System patterns are also described at a deployment level, with each system pattern containing one or more common deployment patterns that are described at a logical level of detail along with specific ArcGIS products, capabilities, and technical considerations.

If you’re new to ArcGIS system patterns, review the introduction first.

Overview level

The overview level is intended to introduce the system pattern. This level focuses on what the pattern is used for, and the value it can deliver to an organization. This level also begins to describe specific capabilities that the system pattern can deliver.

The system pattern overview is described through the following sections:

  • Description and value. Provides a brief explanation of the what the system is, the function it typically serves in an organization, as well as the value or impact the system may have on an organization.
  • User personas and workflows. Describes the primary user personas (or types, roles) that interact with the system, along with common workflows, tasks, or functions they perform that are enabled by the system.
  • Applications. Introduces the applications most commonly used by the user personas described above when interacting with the system. In most cases these applications are used similarly across all deployment patterns. This section typically also includes links to specific application product pages for more information.
  • Capabilities. Introduces primary capabilities delivered by the system. Some system patterns may also include industry-specific capabilities and solutions. It’s important to note that not all capabilities are available in all deployment patterns, and some capabilities may require additional software or licensing to use. The capabilities described in the overview here represent a superset of those available across all deployment patterns.
  • Architecture considerations. Describes how the system aligns with and focuses on specific aspects of the ArcGIS architecture. The information presented in this section is organized by the same architecture tiers or areas that are described in the ArcGIS architecture, including:
    • Apps (presentation) describes the application types, as well as form factors and experiences, to consider when interacting with the system pattern.
    • Services (logic) describes the data, visualization, analysis, and portal services typically employed in the system pattern, as well as the REST API and other interfaces typically used to communicate with applications and other systems.
    • Data (persistence) comprises all data, both spatial and non-spatial, that are required for the system pattern to function. This includes both data stores as well as information models.
    • Support broadly encompasses IT concepts and architecture pillars that are required for the system pattern to operate effectively.
    • Integration and related system patterns identifies systems, apps, tools, data stores, and content or service providers that are commonly integrated with this system pattern. This includes other ArcGIS system patterns that are commonly used in conjunction with this system pattern.
  • Examples. System patterns are not industry-specific and can be applied to many different industries and markets. This section provides examples and case studies (where available) of specific systems, in some cases organized by industry, that can be realized using this system pattern.

The system pattern overview is intended to be an introduction. The next major consideration will be selecting a deployment pattern and understanding some of the functional and non-functional factors to consider in planning and designing a system.

Deployment level

Deployment patterns go a level deeper than the overview, introducing the most common ways the system pattern is deployed. Deployment patterns align with the foundational ArcGIS products and deployment approaches, including:

  • ArcGIS Online (SaaS)
  • ArcGIS Enterprise for Windows/Linux (Windows/Linux)
  • ArcGIS Enterprise for Kubernetes (Kubernetes)
  • ArcGIS Platform (PaaS)

Not all system patterns support all the deployment approaches described above. Additionally, some system patterns may incorporate more specialized deployment approaches, such as the big data analytics system pattern, which supports embedding into Apache Spark environments.

Each system pattern section includes a Selecting a deployment pattern page, which serves to help understand and compare each of the deployment patterns. It includes a comparison of capabilities supported by each deployment pattern, as well as additional information to consider when evaluating and selecting deployment patterns.

System patterns also include more information on each of the deployment patterns, each presented in its own page. The deployment pattern details are described through the following sections:

  • Base architecture. Presents a typical, logical-level architecture diagram that implements the base capabilities of the system pattern. Additionally, the base architecture:
    • Incorporates foundational ArcGIS products, like ArcGIS Online, into the diagrams.
    • Distinguishes between apps, services, data, support, and integration using the same colors presented in the ArcGIS architecture diagram.
    • Includes descriptions of each major component and interaction presented in the diagram, along with links to additional information.
    • Does not include system components required for all extended capabilities.

These base architectures should not be taken as is and used as a system design. There are many important factors and design choices to take into consideration when designing systems. Review the using system patterns topic for more information.

  • Capabilities. Presents a list of capabilities supported by the deployment pattern, along with deployment and product-specific considerations, and links to additional information. Capabilities are separated into base and extended capabilities. Base capabilities are common to most systems that implement the pattern and are typically what’s provided through the base architecture described above. Extended capabilities go above and beyond the base capabilities, typically to address more specialized, advanced, or industry specific needs and workflow. Extended capabilities may require additional software components or licensing.
  • Considerations. Applies the pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework in the context of this specific system and deployment pattern. The considerations presented are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to highlight key considerations for designing and/or implementing this specific combination of system and deployment pattern. For more information on the pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework, see architecture pillars.

The deployment level of the system pattern provides technical information, guidance, and considerations in the context of specific deployment patterns.

Continue to learn more about using system patterns.