Enterprise application hosting and management system (SaaS)

The enterprise application hosting and management system pattern is available as a software as a service (SaaS) based deployment using ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based GIS managed and delivered as SaaS by Esri. ArcGIS Online provides capabilities that span the data, services/logic, and presentation tiers, working together to provide a complete system. Built on world-class cloud architecture and managed by IT and geographic information system (GIS) experts, ArcGIS Online offers reliable and comprehensive web-based GIS capabilities.

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Base architecture

The following is a typical base architecture for an enterprise application hosting and management system deployed as SaaS.

This diagram should not be taken as is and used as the design for your system. There are many important factors and design choices that should be considered when designing your system. Review the using system patterns topic for more information. Additionally, the diagram depicted below delivers only the base capabilities of the system; additional system components may be required when delivering extended capabilities.

Enterprise application hosting and management system base architecture (SaaS)

Key components of this architecture include:

  • ArcGIS Online, including standard portal components such as users, groups, and items, as well as location services such as basemaps and geocoding services. The location services powering the enterprise application hosting and management system may also come in part or full from another location services system. ArcGIS Online also includes feature services, vector tile services, and map tile services to provide mapping and visualization capabilities (and more). The ArcGIS Online data store hosts organizational data and content used to power location services.
  • A wide range of web, mobile, and desktop applications designed to support a variety of user personas and workflows. Learn more about the applications used in an enterprise application hosting and management system.

Hosting for custom, full-code web applications is not provided by ArcGIS Online. External web hosting (e.g., web server), not depicted in the diagram above, is required for hosting custom, full-code web applications.

Key interactions in this architecture include:

  1. Client applications communicate with data services as well as location services over HTTPS, typically via stateless REST APIs.

Additional information on using and administering ArcGIS Online can be found in the ArcGIS Online product documentation.


The capabilities of the enterprise application hosting and management system on SaaS are described below. See the capability overview and comparison of capability support across deployment patterns for more information.

Capabilities used in an enterprise application hosting and management system, but typically provided by other systems, such as basemaps, geocoding, and other location services provided by a location services system are not listed below. Learn more about related system patterns.

Base capabilities

Base capabilities represent the most common capabilities delivered by enterprise application hosting and management systems and that are enabled by the base architecture presented above.

Extended capabilities

Extended capabilities are typically added to meet specific needs or support industry specific data models and solutions, and may require additional software components or architectural considerations.

  • Increase ArcGIS Online subscription feature data storage and support for intensive query, edit, analysis, and extract with Premium Feature Data Store options.
  • Data interoperability and transformation capabilities support data movement among hundreds of systems and apps using the visual programming interface provided by ArcGIS Data Interoperability, which includes reading and writing to hosted feature services in ArcGIS Online. An alternative for easily creating and scheduling simple pipelines that write data to ArcGIS Online is ArcGIS Data Pipelines.
  • Workflow management and automation of self-service mapping, analysis, and sharing workflows with the capability to orchestrate and automate work across teams using ArcGIS Workflow Manager.
  • Indoor GIS extends the capabilities of ArcGIS Online with ability to create and manage floor plan data, map building interiors, and share floor-aware maps and services. This capability requires ArcGIS Pro, and is made possible by ArcGIS Indoors. Indoor GIS also extends the capabilities of ArcGIS Online with SaaS based indoor space management and workspace reservations using ArcGIS Indoor Spaces, a capability delivered through ArcGIS Indoors. Indoor GIS commonly serves indoor maps and applications to broad groups of stakeholders including, but not limited to, enterprise and public audiences through lightweight mobile apps or kiosks. As such, portions of an indoor GIS may be best delivered through an enterprise application hosting and management system.
  • Other industry solutions allow for rapid deployment of industry-specific apps and configurations of ArcGIS Online using ArcGIS Solutions.


The considerations below apply the pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework to the enterprise application hosting and management system pattern on SaaS. The information presented here is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather highlights key considerations for designing and/or implementing this specific combination of system and deployment pattern. Learn more about the architecture pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework.


Reliability ensures your system provides the level of service required by the business, as well as your customers and stakeholders. For more information, see the reliability pillar overview.

  • ArcGIS Online leverages multiple availability zones, regions, and service providers to ensure redundancy, resiliency, and service continuity.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided by ArcGIS Online.
  • Organizations can monitor the health and availability of ArcGIS Online location services at the ArcGIS Online Health Dashboard.
  • Consideration should be given to recoverability in enterprise application hosting and management systems. Backup processes and procedures external to ArcGIS Online are recommended.


Security protects your systems and information. For more information, see the security pillar overview.

  • Authentication and authorization are typically required. One notable exception is publicly shared apps and supporting content, which do not require authentication.
    • Due to the wide range of users logging in from across the organization, this system pattern almost always leverage a single sign-on (SSO) approach to authentication. SSO is typically implemented using SAML and/or OpenID Connect.
    • User access and data collaboration are governed by role-based access controls and modern authorization and authentication models, including OAuth, SAML, OpenID Connect, and multifactor authentication.
  • Systems are subject to vulnerability assessments including system, web application, and database scans.
  • Learn more about ArcGIS Online security best practices and implementation guidance.

Performance & Scalability

Performance and scalability aim to optimize the overall experience users have with the system, as well as ensure the system scales to meet evolving workload demands. For more information, see the performance and scalability pillar overview.

  • Performance and scalability is typically important or critical for enterprise applications that are hosted and managed in this system. Applications, along with supporting content like maps and layers, should be designed and engineered to meet the performance and scalability expectations of users and the organization (including SLAs if required). Learn more about configuring highly scalable web applications for ArcGIS Online, and optimizing apps and services in ArcGIS.
  • Scaling is handled automatically by ArcGIS Online, which includes multiple content delivery networks delivering highly scalable maps and apps to diverse locations around the world.
  • Regional geospatial data hosting is available in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific to improve performance and support data residency requirements.


Automation aims to reduce effort spent on manual deployment and operational tasks, leading to increased operational efficiency as well as reduction in human introduced system anomalies. For more information, see the automation pillar overview.

  • Automation related to publishing, content management, as well as administration is common with ArcGIS Online. This is typically done using the ArcGIS API for Python.


Integration connects this system with other systems for delivering enterprise services and amplifying organizational productivity. For more information, see the integration pillar overview.

  • Incorporation of external data and services into this system for use by enterprise applications is common. Integration approaches tend to focus on data or services-level integration, sometimes involving automation. Learn more about integration approaches and methods.
  • Enterprise application hosting and management systems are commonly used to deliver data, analytic results, or other content produced or managed in another ArcGIS system. Learn more about related system patterns.


Observability provides visibility into the system, enabling operations staff and other technical roles to keep the system running in a healthy, steady state. For more information see the observability pillar overview

  • Careful monitoring of service and application utilization is important with this system pattern. The delivery of enterprise applications typically extends to the whole organization (and possibly beyond), and therefore usage patterns and growth may not be anticipated by the system designers or operators. Monitoring helps people make decisions about when to scale and evolve to meet demand while continuing to operate properly (and in accordance with SLAs).
  • ArcGIS Online, as a SaaS offering, does not support observation of its underlying infrastructure and software internals. It does, however, offer ways to observe system utilization and health.
  • Some extended capabilities of this system pattern, such as workflow management and automation with ArcGIS Workflow Manager, have additional observability support. Please review the corresponding product documentation for more information.
  • Use of web analytics should be strongly considered when using ArcGIS Hub sites, ArcGIS Instant Apps, ArcGIS StoryMaps, and custom applications.
  • Additional observation of user logins and account changes may be possible through the configured identity provider when using SAML and/or OpenID Connect logins.


Additional considerations for designing and implementing an enterprise application hosting and management system as SaaS include:

  • This pattern is typically designed to meet strict non-functional requirements and/or SLAs. As such, strong governance and alignment with IT policies and roles, such as data steward and content manager, should strongly be considered when implementing this system pattern.

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