ArcGIS 10.1: Planning for success

With the general release of ArcGIS 10.1 occurring two weeks ago, the early adopters amongst you may have already downloaded and installed the software. For the majority of you however, I would guess that you’re watching with interest and intend to move to 10.1 as part of your forward planning. Whether your interest is now or later, here is some information and resources to help you effectively plan for the upgrade.

10.1 the new ArcGIS

10.1: the new ArcGIS

A major change with 10.1 is the new ArcGIS for Server 64-bit architecture, which sees the familiar SOM/SOC configuration seen since ArcGIS Server 9.2 replaced with a simpler concept of one or more ArcGIS Servers communicating with each other, and the outside world, through simple HTTP.  At 10.1, there’s no more DCOM or complex inter-process or inter-machine communications – ArcGIS Server is now a pure web services application with even the administration of the server managed through a simple HTTP connection.

You can see the new streamlined installation process in this video: Installing ArcGIS 10.1 for Server on Windows. If you want to read more about the new server architecture then I would recommend Components of ArcGIS for Server, available in the ArcGIS 10.1 for Server help.

Another major change is the way in which services are published to ArcGIS for Server. At 9.3.1 and 10.0 you could publish an MXD directly as a map service or optionally go through the Map Service Publishing tools to create a MSD that leveraged the new rendering engine that came in at 9.3.1 offering increased performance. At 10.1 there is no concept of publishing directly from a map document. All services, whether they are Map, Geoprocessing or Image services are created by stepping through a rigorous new Share As…/Service Editor workflow that results in a service definition or SD that is ultimately what is published to create a new service. To see this in action, take a look at this short video: Publishing a map service to ArcGIS 10.1 for Server.

ArcGIS 10.1 Service Editor

ArcGIS 10.1 Service Editor

The additional steps in the workflow are worth it as the end result has been thoroughly checked to ensure it has everything to make it a high performance, robust service. Why is this important? Well it means that when you perform the upgrade, it won’t automatically transition what you’ve have already published in the previous release. Each service will need to be passed through the new Service Editor and re-published. Recommended reading on this subject is: What to expect when migrating to ArcGIS 10.1 for Server.  There is also a Migration Checklist topic and a great post on the Esri Support Services blog titled Welcome to ArcGIS 10.1 – A Few Tips for ArcGIS for Server Migration that will help you establish your upgrade plan.

For ArcGIS Desktop users, the upgrade process is much the same as with previous versions. However, questions around licensing and backwards compatibility are often raised during the upgrade process. The HowTo:  Upgrade licenses for ArcGIS Desktop 10 to Version 10.1 tech article on the Esri Support Services blog is a great place to get these questions answered.

On the training front, we’re working towards offering 10.1 based courses as soon as they are finalised.  This will include the new Migrating to ArcGIS 10.1 for Server training course, which will not just showcase the new features at ArcGIS 10.1, but will also provide the information you’ll need to start planning your server migration strategy back in the office. For Desktop users, there are a number of recorded Esri webinars that you can experience right now, including Working with Lidar Data in ArcGIS 10.1 and Sharing Analysis Workflows on the Web Using Geoprocessing Services.

For more information on 10.1 training, visit the training page, look out for updates on the Esri Australia blog or contact our training team at training@esriaustralia.com.au.

In summary, upgrading to ArcGIS 10.1 is nothing to fear, but requires a pragmatic approach and well structured plan. There are plenty of resources online to help, some of which I have included in this post – but Esri Australia is here to help. Please reach out to your Account Manager or our Professional Services team if you would like assistance with the planning and upgrade process.

Josh V

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