Preface 31st Edition

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System Design Strategies
System Design Strategies 31st Edition (Fall 2012)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. Server Software Performance
5. GIS Data Administration 6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 8. Platform Performance
9. Information Security 10. Performance Management 11. System Implementation 12. City of Rome
A1. Capacity Planning Tool A2. ESD Planning tools A3. Acronyms and Glossary

System Design Strategies Preface 31st Edition

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).

  • Identify the objectives of the system design process.
  • Explain why system architecture design is important.
  • List the benefits of an integrated business needs assessment.
  • Suggest strategies to manage implementation risk.
  • Explain the importance of an iterative design process.
  • Describe the purpose of available capacity planning tools.

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.

  • Identify how advancing technology drives software innovation.
  • Recognize emerging system architecture deployment strategies.
  • Describe available desktop, server, and mobile ArcGIS software technology patterns.
  • Use standard workflows to configure the Project Workflow section on the CPT Workflow tab.

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.

  • Recognize the purpose and components of the CPT workflow recipe.
  • Identify GIS workflow map document choices.
  • Describe imagery dataset choices.
  • Describe how map density impacts performance.
  • Describe advantages of a pre-cached data format.
  • Recognize the importance of workflow display complexity.
  • Describe the performance impact of display resolution (map size).
  • Choose the best image output format.
  • Select the best data source format.

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.

Server Software Performance

There are many key factors that impact ArcGIS for Server software performance and scalability. Proper configuration and services deployment can empower your GIS operations.

  • Describe server instances, processes, and threads.
  • Select the proper GIS server process configuration.
  • Describe the difference between pooled and non-pooled services.
  • Identify the proper service configurations.
  • Select appropriate maximum service instance settings.
  • Select appropriate host capacity settings.
  • Estimate time for generating a map cache.
  • Demonstrate the value of making the right technology selection.

This chapter ends with a Greek Cadastral case study that highlights the value of proper software selection.

GIS Data Administration

This section provides an overview of GIS data management technology patterns. Data management is changing, handling a larger and broader range of data resources. 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.

  • Recognize the role of the SDE geodatabase.
  • Describe available GIS replication alternatives.
  • Identify available GIS data deployment patterns.
  • Recognize the role of the mosaic dataset.
  • Identify available imagery deployment patterns.
  • Recognize available storage architecture patterns.
  • Identify common RAID technology patterns.
  • Recognize geodatabase data protection strategies.
  • Recognize importance of data back-up strategies.

Network Communications

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

  • Recognize the types of network infrastructure.
  • Identify how network specifications are used in capacity planning.
  • Recognize the primary GIS network client/server protocols.
  • Demonstrate how data transfer impacts display performance.
  • Identify network latency impact on performance.
  • Recognize the relationship between traffic and network contention.
  • Recognize network connections that set network capacity.
  • Demonstrate the importance of a network suitability analysis.
  • Recognize the importance of display traffic in capacity planning.
  • Use the 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.
  • Identify ArcGIS for Desktop software architecture.
  • List ArcGIS for Desktop technical architecture alternatives.
  • Identify ArcGIS for Server software architecture.
  • Identify ArcGIS for Server technical architecture alternatives.
  • Compare how technical architectures impact system design.
  • Demonstrate how to configure the Capacity Planning Calculator and Design tools to represent available technical architectures.

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.

  • Identify the purpose for a platform performance baseline.
  • Recognize platform contribution to display performance.
  • Identify how to measure platform performance.
  • Recognize system design platform naming conventions.
  • Identify hardware vendor published platform performance.
  • Recognize how processing time drives peak throughput.
  • Evaluate server candidates to identify optimum platform selection.
  • Identify Esri recommended GIS workstation technology.
  • Identify Esri recommendations for GIS server technology.
  • Use the capacity planning 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.

  • Recognize the purpose and scope of information security.
  • Recognize the importance of multiple security layers.
  • Identify Esri's enterprise security strategy.
  • Identify common security controls.
  • Identify best practices for cloud-based security.
  • Recognize options for deploying ArcGIS for Server across a firewall.
  • Identify reference sources for establishing security standards.

Performance Management

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

  • Explain how to manage system performance.
  • Recognize the value of system performance models.
  • Describe system design platform performance terminology.
  • Identify the relationship between utilization and throughput.
  • Explain the relationship between service time and response time.
  • Explain the relationship between utilization and queue time.
  • Show how throughput can impact user productivity.
  • Identify components that contribute to system performance.
  • Recognize the importance of workflow performance validation.
  • Demonstrate 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.

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.

  • Establish a strategy for managing enterprise GIS operations.
  • Recognize the importance of phased system deployments.
  • Identify the benefits of virtual server deployments.
  • Develop a strategy for managing implementation risk.
  • Recognize the importance of functional and performance testing.
  • Identify the benefits of a system installation schedule.
  • Recognize monitoring tools used to validate system performance.
  • Identify the importance of system performance tuning.
  • Develop a strategy for managing technology change.

City of Rome

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

  • Demonstrate the impact of user locations and network connectivity.
  • Recognize the importance of a user needs workflow analysis.
  • Show how to establish workflow performance targets.
  • Recognize the value of network suitability analysis.
  • Demonstrate the importance of proper hardware platform selection.
  • Show how to address multiple network environments.
  • Identify how to address multiple implementation milestones.
  • Demonstrate 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 Resource Center] includes a copy of the System Architecture Design Strategies class exercises. The final Chapter 12 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.

Capacity Planning Tool

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

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 Dave Peters' role at Esri?

In 1990 Dave Peters was hired by Jack Dangermond to establish a Systems Integration department responsible for GIS turnkey system delivery (system architecture design, project management, and software installation for hardware/software turnkey projects). The Systems Integration department's initial focus was on project management (system delivery) and software installation services.

The first System Design Strategies white paper was published by Dave Peters in 1993 - a much simpler document than what we have today. Dave updated the System Design Strategies white paper once or twice a year to support Esri's system design and consulting services. Dave moved the System Design Strategies documentation from a white paper to with its 27th edition.

In 1998, Dave's Systems Integration department responsibilities shifted from turnkey system delivery to System Architecture Design consulting and System Test. Over the next eight years, Esri's System Architecture Design Consulting services grew in popularity and helped hundreds of customers deploy successful GIS operations. The Systems Integration department System Test team 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 for System Architecture Design consulting.

Esri Educational Services asked Dave to develop a class based on his System Design Strategies documentation in 1998. The first System Architecture Design Strategies training course was taught by Dave Peters in February 1999; class content was updated on a monthly basis to keep pace with technology. Additional instructors were provided from Dave's System Architecture Design consulting staff to support the expanding training class load.

In 2004 the Systems Integration department moved to Esri Professional Services. During that year, Esri Press published the first edition of Roger Tomlinson's book on Thinking about GIS; Roger asked Dave to share Esri's System Architecture Design methodology in a City of Rome system architecture design use case included in a chapter of his book. The City of Rome use case has been updated with each Thinking about GIS release, which is now in its 4th edition.

In 2006 the Systems Integration department joined with the Implementation Services department (within Esri Professional Services). Dave joined the Implementation Services senior staff and began work to develop a new open-source (Excel based) Capacity Planning Tool (CPT). The goal was to establish a simple application framework that would capture the Esri 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). Dave would use Microsoft Excel as an application framework for user requirements collection and automated system architecture design analysis.

By January 2008, Dave's CPT was integrated into the Esri 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 Dave started conducting training workshops around the world sharing the Esri system architecture design methodology (including the Capacity Planning Tool) with our International Distributor technical staff.

In 2007, Esri Press asked Dave to author a book to share the Esri System Architecture Design methodology. 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, Dave included a new CPT Calculator tool directly coupling GIS Standard 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, Dave Peters' efforts over the past 22 years have focused on understanding performance and scalability of Esri software technology, sharing his understanding with the Esri community, and developing system architecture design consulting services and systems management tools that help our customers build and maintain successful GIS operations.


Esri Web Site and Service Terms of Use

System Design Strategies
System Design Strategies 31st Edition (Fall 2012)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. Server Software Performance
5. GIS Data Administration 6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 8. Platform Performance
9. Information Security 10. Performance Management 11. System Implementation 12. City of Rome
A1. Capacity Planning Tool A2. ESD Planning tools A3. Acronyms and Glossary