Selecting a deployment pattern for enterprise application hosting and management systems

Enterprise application hosting and management systems are typically deployed using one of four deployment patterns:

Selecting a deployment pattern is one of the most important decisions to make in designing a GIS system for your organization.

Perhaps the most critical factor in this decision will be aligning with your organization’s IT principles, guidelines, and comfort-level in supporting different deployment approaches. For example, some organizations may prefer to standardize on SaaS-based systems and solutions. Other organizations that are investing heavily into Kubernetes-based deployments, including hiring and training staff with operational Kubernetes experience and skills, may prefer Kubernetes-based deployment patterns. Whereas organizations that are building GIS capabilities into their existing applications may prefer a PaaS-based approach.


The capabilities as well as the considerations differ significantly between deployment patterns. Review the comparisons below, along with the deployment pattern pages for additional information.

For general information and considerations around these deployment approaches see the ArcGIS products and deployment options page of the ArcGIS Overview.

Capability comparison

In addition to aligning with your IT principles, guidelines, and comfort-level, it’s also important to consider the capabilities of each deployment pattern in your decision-making process. The capabilities of a enterprise application hosting and management system differ between deployment patterns. The following matrix compares the specific capabilities supported by each of the deployment pattern.

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.

Capability SaaS PaaS Windows/Linux Kubernetes
Mapping and visualization
App building  
Site building  
Data publishing and hosting
Data editing
Data import and export
Data interoperability and transformation1    
Workflow management and automation   2 2,3
Spatial joins and relationships  
Network analysis 4 4
Pattern analysis  
Proximity analysis  
Summarization analysis  
Geometry analysis
3D visual analysis  
Hosted Python notebooks   5  
Indoor GIS6
Mission management     7  
Other industry solutions8  

Full support

Partial support

  1. ArcGIS Data Interoperability for ArcGIS Pro supported in all deployment patterns 

  2. Requires ArcGIS Workflow Manager Server  2

  3. Requires some Windows/Linux infrastructure 

  4. Requires integration with a location services system or additional data, such as ArcGIS Street Map Premium  2

  5. Requires ArcGIS Notebook Server 

  6. Full capability spans multiple system patterns 

  7. Requires ArcGIS Mission Server 

  8. Some industry solutions only available on SaaS 

See the enterprise application hosting and management system capabilities for more information on each row listed above. Additionally, each of the cells above is described in more detail in the enterprise application hosting and management system deployment pattern pages.

The capabilities represented above reflect those available as of December, 2023.

General considerations

The considerations below aim to help align your organization’s business and IT needs with the appropriate enterprise application hosting and management system deployment pattern. The information presented here is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather highlights key considerations for designing and implementing enterprise application hosting and management systems.

  • Custom, full-code web applications require external web hosting capabilities (e.g., web server) for all deployment patterns.
  • Scalability, reliability, service level agreements (SLA), security, and the balance of responsibility between your organization and Esri tend to be major factors in selecting a deployment pattern. See the reliability, performance and scalability, and security pillars for more information.
  • The SaaS deployment pattern using ArcGIS Online features the quickest time to market.
  • Organizations delivering apps to public stakeholders commonly use the SaaS or PaaS deployment patterns because of their built in scalability and internet accessibility.
  • The service level agreements (SLAs) for SaaS and PaaS differ. Review the ArcGIS Online (SaaS) SLA and ArcGIS Platform (PaaS) SLA in more detail.
  • Enterprise application hosting and management systems rely heavily on location services provided by a location services systems. These two system pattens are often combined, especially when deployed as SaaS or PaaS. The deployment of your location services system(s) should be taken into consideration when designing a enterprise application hosting and management system.
  • In addition to some of the differences described above, some other extended capabilities differ notably between deployment patterns. Some differences to consider include:
    • Workflow management and automation is typically provided by ArcGIS Workflow Manager, which has both ArcGIS Online (SaaS) and ArcGIS Enterprise (Windows/Linux) deployment options. The capabilities of these two options differ, so review product documentation carefully in evaluating options. Additionally, while ArcGIS Workflow Manager for ArcGIS Enterprise is only available on Windows and Linux, it may be integrated with a Kubernetes-based deployment pattern for a Kubernetes and Windows/Linux hybrid deployment.
    • Python-based analysis and automation is supported by all deployment patterns using the ArcGIS API for Python. The SaaS and Windows/Linux deployment pattens also support hosted Python notebooks managed within the GIS system, which provides additional capabilities and integration opportunities, such as the scheduling of notebooks. Please see ArcGIS Notebooks for more information. Hosted Python notebooks are not currently supported for PaaS and Kubernetes deployment patterns.

Selecting a deployment pattern is one of the most important decisions to make in designing a GIS system for your organization. However, it is not the only one. There are many additional factors to take into consideration when designing your system, including areas like security, reliability, and integration. As such, consider that the information provided here is not exhaustive. Review the architecture practices and pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework, as well as product documentation in detail as part of your design process.