Preface 30th Edition

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System Design Strategies
System Design Strategies 30th Edition (Fall 2011)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. GIS Data Administration
6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 9. Platform Performance 8. Information Security
5. Performance Fundamentals 10. Capacity Planning Tool 11. City of Rome 12. System Implementation

The System Design Strategies wiki documentation includes a table of contents and 12 separate chapters linked by a TOC Insert at the top and bottom of each wiki page. You can access the table of contents page through the System Design Strategies link located at the top of each insert. You are currently located on the System Design Strategies Preview page.

What is the System Design Strategies documentation?

This System Design Strategies documentation was developed and maintained to share our system architecture design methodology and the fundamental principles that contribute to system performance and scalability. The System Design Strategies 26th Edition was released in August 2009 - the last PDF version of the complete document.

The System Design Strategies content was first published on the Esri site in March 2010 - the first "living" online publication. The wiki technology provides a more adaptive publishing framework than what was available with static PDF documents - an opportunity to maintain and share much richer content in a timely manner. The System Design Strategies wiki site can be maintained as a current resource - updated as required to keep pace with technology. Major updates are planned each year, providing a spring and fall release to reflect major changes in technology. Each update provides a link to previous release editions for reference.

Who can benefit from this documentation?

This document is shared to help Esri customers build and maintain successful GIS operations. The audience includes GIS managers, Project managers, GIS technical architects, IT administrators, business partners, systems integrators, system consultants, system administrators, and software developers - there is a broad audience that can benefit from an understanding of enterprise system performance and scalability. The content is focused on basic fundamentals - the technology concepts that contribute to successful GIS operations.

What is this document all about?

Technology has changed dramatically over the years, and updates to this document reflect those changes. System Architecture Design services have evolved with the changing technology. Technology choices available today position GIS as a framework for effective Enterprise business information integration.

The focus today is on Enterprise System Design, a discipline that requires a clear understanding of business needs, user workflow requirements (business processes), GIS software technology patterns, software performance, data architecture patterns, network communications, GIS solution architecture, information security, and hardware platform performance. An Enterprise GIS design must consider business needs and the technical architecture required to meet user performance expectations.

The chapters that follow provide an overview of the many pieces of GIS technology that must work together within a distributed GIS production environment. Each chapter summary includes a list of primary content objectives. Online streaming video links are provided at the end of several chapters to demonstrate how the Capacity Planning Tool can be used to answer your performance and scalability questions and complete your system architecture design.

System Design Process

User needs must be identified before completing the system architecture design. A simple user requirements template can be used to review and collect peak user workflow requirements. GIS user workflows are best defined during a formal user needs assessment, where existing user workflows are reviewed to identify technology enhancements that will improve business operations. Roger Tomlinson provides excellent guidance for GIS planning in his Esri Press release Thinking about GIS Fourth Edition, GIS Planning for Managers. A sample Enterprise System Design case study will be presented in Chapter 11 (City of Rome).

    • Understand the objectives of the system design process
    • Understand why System Architecture Design is important
    • Understand the need for an Integrated Business Needs Assessment
    • Understand how to manage implementation risk
    • Understand the importance of an iterative design process
    • Understand the purpose of available Capacity Planning Tools
    • Introduce key capacity planning terminology

The capacity planning tool provides a framework for collecting user requirements and completing the system design. This chapter ends with a streaming video that provides an introduction to the system design process and an overview of the structure of the Capacity Planning Tool.

GIS Software Technology

A variety of GIS software technology patterns are available to satisfy Enterprise business operational needs. Technology patterns include a broad range of ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Server, and ArcGIS Mobile deployment options. Selecting the right technology is a critical component of the Enterprise System Design process.

    • Understand GIS software evolution and the lessons learned
    • Recognize the emerging technical architecture strategies
    • Understand the available GIS Software technology patterns
    • Understand how to use capacity planning tools for software technology selection

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The GIS Software Technology video describes how the capacity planning tool can be used to select the right software technology for each identified user workflow. This video focuses on understanding and configuring the CPT Workflow tab for an Enterprise GIS design.

Software Performance

There are many key factors that impact GIS software performance and scalability. The CPT Calculator was designed to integrate capacity planning performance targets with software performance parameters defined by Esri performance validation testing.

    • Understand the system design concept of a user workflow
    • Understand value of an optimized map service
    • Understand the system design concept of display complexity
    • Understand value of using a pre-cache data source
    • Understand value of proper display resolution
    • Understand value of selecting the right image output format
    • Understand value of selecting an optimum data source
    • Understand value of proper service configuration
    • Understand value of making the right technology selection
    • Understand the concept of workflow performance targets
    • Understand how to use capacity planning tools to set appropriate workflow performance targets

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The Software Performance Video describes the CPT Calculator software technology selection and performance parameters that define user workflow performance targets. The result generated on the Calculator tab is transferred to the Workflow tab for use in the Enterprise system architecture design. The Calculator tab can also be used for system performance and scalability demonstrations and preliminary system architecture design analysis to evaluation a single workflow technology selection.

The video also describes the software component service times and network traffic performance factors included in the CPT Workflow tab. The Workflow tab is the software workflow performance lookup table supporting the Enterprise system design analysis. Establishing proper user workflow performance targets is a critical step in completing a valid system architecture design.

GIS Data Administration

This section provides an overview of GIS data management technology patterns. Several basic data management tasks will be identified along with the current state of technology to support these tasks. These data management tasks include ways to manage, serve, move, store, protect, and back-up spatial data.

    • Identify spatial data architecture patterns
    • Identify ways to manage and deploy spatial data
    • Identify ways to move spatial data
    • Understand available data replication alternatives
    • Understand value of geodatabase replication
    • Identify geodatabase replication use cases
    • Identify imagery data architecture patterns
    • Identify ways to manage and deploy imagery data
    • Identify ways to store GIS data
    • Identify ways to protect GIS data
    • Recognize importance of data backup strategies

Network Communications

Network communication infrastructure constraints often limit software technology choices and can impact distributed client productivity.

    • Recognize the types of networks?
    • Understand how network specifications are used in capacity planning
    • Understand how data transfer impacts display performance
    • Recognize the primary GIS network protocols
    • Understand network latency impact on performance
    • Understand the relationship between traffic and network contention
    • Recognize network connections that set network capacity
    • Understand importance of a network suitability analysis
    • Understand importance of display traffic (Mbpd) in capacity planning
    • Understand how to use capacity planning tools to identify network bandwidth requirements

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The CPT Calculator demonstrates display traffic contribution to user display performance and the CPT Design completes the network bandwidth suitability assessment. This video shows how the CPT Calculator shows user workflow performance over limited bandwidth connections and how the CPT Design can be used to complete an enterprise design network suitability analysis.

GIS Product Architecture

Selected platform architecture and software install impacts system performance, availability, and scalability.

    • Recognize available ArcGIS technical architecture patterns
    • Understand ArcSDE Geodatabase configuration alternatives
    • Identify ArcGIS Desktop software component architecture
    • Understand ArcGIS Desktop technical architecture deployment alternatives
    • Identify ArcGIS Server software component architecture
    • Identify ArcGIS Server technical architecture deployment alternatives
    • Understand how technical deployment architectures impact system design
    • Understand how to configure the Capacity Planning Calculator and Design tools

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The Product Architecture video shows how to select workflow platform architecture on the CPT Calculator tab and how to complete an enterprise level software installation and platform selection on the CPT Design tab.

Platform Performance

Platform selection will impact user performance and system capacity.

    • Understand why GIS user performance expectations have changed
    • Understand system design need for a platform performance baseline
    • Recognize primary cause for map display performance improvements
    • Identify how we measure relative platform performance
    • Understand how rapidly platform performance has changed
    • Understand Intel / AMD / UNIX published performance comparisons
    • Understand platform parameters that identify server performance
    • Understand system design platform naming conventions
    • Understand Esri recommended GIS workstation technology
    • Understand technology impact on ArcGIS performance/capacity
    • Understand how to use the Capacity Planning Calculator and Design tools for proper platform selection

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The Platform Performance video provides an overview of the CPT Hardware tab and identifies the methodology for physical and virtual platform selection on the CPT Calculator and CPT Design tabs.

Information Security

Security must be incorporated throughout system design and deployment.

    • Understand the purpose and scope of Information Security
    • Recognize the importance of different levels of security
    • Identify some of the common security controls
    • Understand who is responsible for security
    • Recognize how much security is enough
    • Identify reference sources for establishing security standards
    • Understand Esri ’s security role
    • Identify source for current security trends
    • Recognize Data Center Architecture best practices
    • Understand options for deploying ArcGIS Server across a firewall

Performance Fundamentals

The Capacity Planning Tool uses fundamental system throughput and performance relationships to complete the system design.

    • Understand important performance parameters
    • Understand how to manage system performance
    • Recognize value of system performance models
    • Understand system design workflow performance terminology
    • Understand relationship between utilization and throughput
    • Understand relationship between service and response time
    • Understand relationship between utilization and queue time
    • Understand how throughput can impact user productivity
    • Understand system design network performance terminology
    • Understand components that contribute to system performance
    • Understand the importance of workflow performance validation
    • Understand how to use the Capacity Planning Test tab performance validation tools

This chapter ends with a Capacity Planning Tool online streaming video. The Performance Fundamentals video provides an overview of the CPT Design tab user requirements framework, demonstrates how the adjust functions are used to identify user productivity, and shows how the CPT test tab can be used to validate workflow performance compliance.

Capacity Planning Tool

This chapter provides a complete review of the Capacity Planning Tool online streaming videos presented in the earlier chapters.

City of Rome

This chapter provides a case study demonstrating how to complete a system architecture design.

    • Understand when to do GIS requirements planning
    • Understand why to build on existing IT investments
    • Understand impact of user locations and network connectivity
    • Understand importance of a user needs workflow analysis
    • Understand how to establish workflow performance targets
    • Understand value of network suitability analysis
    • Understand importance of proper hardware platform selection
    • Understand how to address multiple network environments
    • Understand how to address multiple implementation milestones
    • Understand how to use the Capacity Planning Design tools to complete the system architecture design

Each Capacity Planning Tool release published on the Building a GIS Online Resource Center includes a copy of the System Architecture Design Strategies class exercises. The final Chapter 11 exercise includes a City of Portland user case, providing step by step instructions on how to use the Capacity Planning Tool to complete the City of Portland System Architecture Design.

System Implementation

System architecture design is based on performance parameters that are used to generate hardware and network design solution. These performance parameters become software design specifications that should be measured during development and deployment. This chapter shares some fundamental lessons learned that contribute to successful system implementation.

    • Strategy for managing enterprise GIS operations
    • Strategy for building qualified GIS staff
    • Importance of phased system deployments
    • Benefits of virtual server deployments
    • Strategy for managing implementation risk
    • Importance of functional and performance testing
    • Benefits of a system installation schedule
    • Using monitoring tools to validate system performance
    • Importance of system performance tuning
    • Strategy for planning business continuance
    • Strategy for managing technology change
    • Systems Integration Support Efforts

Acronyms and Glossary

A complete list of Acronyms and Glossary is provided with this document. The glossary provides a definition of how key words are used within the context of this document.

Esri System Architecture Design Consulting History

Esri started in 1969 as a consulting firm specializing on the principles of organizing and analyzing geographic information. During the 1980s Esri devoted resources to developing software applications and tools that created the foundation and framework for the geographic information system (GIS) technology we know today. I joined Esri in 1990, following 20 years of USAF service; a time when computer technology was evolving from mainframes to distributed workgroup operations.

What is my role at Esri?

In 1991 I established a Systems Integration team responsible for GIS turnkey system delivery (system architecture design, project management, and software installation for hardware/software turnkey projects). Most of our initial focus was on project management (system delivery) and software installation services. The first System Design Strategies white paper was published in 1993 - a much simpler document that what we have today. The System Design Strategies white paper was updated once or twice a year to support our system design and consulting services.

In 1998, the Systems Integration team responsibilities shifted to System Architecture Design consulting and System Test. Our System Architecture Design Consulting services grew in popularity and we helped customers deploy successful GIS operations. We also established a test lab and started using a targeted set of Esri software performance validation tests to evaluate and improve the capacity planning models used by our consultants.

Esri customers were interested in learning more about our system design methodology, and Esri training asked that we develop a class based on our System Design Strategies documentation. The first System Architecture Design Strategies training course was held in February 1999; class content is updated on a monthly basis to keep pace with technology. Instructors were provided from our System Architecture Design consulting staff.

In 2004 the Systems Integration team moved to Esri Professional Services. During that year, Esri Press published the first edition of Roger Tomlinson's book on Thinking about GIS; Chapter 10 includes a discussion of our System Architecture Design methodology.

In 2006 the Systems Integration team joined with the Implementation Services team (within Esri Professional Services). We began work to develop a new open-source (Excel based) Capacity Planning Tool (CPT). Our goal was to establish a simple application framework that would capture our system architecture design methodology (a tool that would couple GIS user workflow requirements with the appropriate system architecture design solution). A simple tool that could be used by a much broader GIS community as a framework for designing and managing Enterprise GIS operations (documenting user requirements coupled with system architecture design). We would use Microsoft Excel to do the analysis.

By January 2008, the CPT was integrated into our System Architecture Design Strategies training exercises, and students received a free Capacity Planning Tool for use as a framework for managing their own GIS operations. The Systems Architecture Design Strategies training was added to the International Teaching Program (ITP) later that year, and we started conducting training workshops around the world sharing our system architecture design methodology (including the Capacity Planning Tool) with our International Distributor technical staff.

In July 2008, Esri Press released Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers which includes a digital copy of the Capacity Planning Tool. A Building a GIS Online Resource Center was established to share Capacity Planning Tool updates. In January 2010, we included a new CPT Calculator tool directly coupling our Standard Esri Workflow service times to performance baselines derived from Implementation Services Enterprise Test Lab (ETL) benchmarks. The CPT Calculator generates custom workflow service times based on the selected technology pattern, map document, output, resolution, density, and display complexity (baseline workflow service times were adjusted based on the selected performance parameters). The CPT Calculator also provides options for modifying display complexity by pre-processing a percentage of the display and consuming as a mapcache service. The workflow nomenclature identifies the recipe (selected options) used to generate the CPT Calculator workflow service times. Resulting service times can be tracked back to ETL benchmarks.

In summary, our efforts over the past 20 years have focused on understanding performance and scalability of Esri software technology, sharing this understanding with the Esri community, and developing system architecture design consulting services and systems management tools that make a positive contribution for our customers.


Esri Web Site and Service Terms of Use

System Design Strategies
System Design Strategies 30th Edition (Fall 2011)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. GIS Data Administration
6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 9. Platform Performance 8. Information Security
5. Performance Fundamentals 10. Capacity Planning Tool 11. City of Rome 12. System Implementation