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ArcGIS Enterprise is the complete software system for GIS, powering mapping and visualization, analytics, and data management. It is the backbone for running Esri applications and your own custom applications. Enterprise is integrated with ArcGIS Pro for mapping and authoring and seamlessly connects with ArcGIS Online to share content between systems.

Many organizations with large amounts of data stored in, for example, Oracle or SQL Server databases, use Enterprise to manage and process that data. Enterprise is supported in Windows, Linux, and Kubernetes environments. The user experience for both ArcGIS Online and Enterprise produces an ArcGIS organization. Enterprise contains a portal, which is a cloud-based system that allows you to share maps, scenes, apps, and other geographic information with others in your organization or outside of it.

Enterprise portal components

Setting up Enterprise involves four main components.

Enterprise components

An ArcGIS Online licensed account includes all the components, so once you have an account, you can create web maps, access data, perform analysis, and share content.

While you may not oversee the setup of Enterprise or manage ArcGIS Online accounts, you should understand the differences and similarities between the two options.

The following apply to Enterprise:

  • Enterprise is a software system that is set up and managed by your organization, usually by the information technology (IT) department, and depending on the setup, can also involve database administrators.
  • Enterprise provides a custom portal in your organization that is set up and managed by your organization and only users within the organization can access it.
  • In an Enterprise deployment, the setup, storage, and processing occurs on your organization's servers and resources. No credits are required, as all processing takes place using your resources.
  • Enterprise is available after setup in your organization is complete.

The following apply to ArcGIS Online:

  • ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based system that is set up and managed by Esri. All that is required to access it is a licensed account that is part of an ArcGIS organization.
  • ArcGIS Online provides access to anyone with a valid licensed account.
  • ArcGIS Online doesn't require setup within the infrastructure of your organization and all storage and processing occurs on Esri servers and resources. Because you are using Esri resources to run analysis tools and process and store data, credits are consumed. Credits are the cost to use Esri resources.
  • ArcGIS Online is available immediately once you purchase a license.

You may already be a user in one of these types of ArcGIS organizations and know your account credentials. If you do not know your credentials, contact your IT department. If Enterprise is not set up in your organization, you can use ArcGIS Online for mapping and analysis.

You can use Enterprise with Learn ArcGIS lessons.

Learn ArcGIS lessons include a requirements section at the beginning of every lesson. If the requirements section lists Enterprise, you can complete the lesson with Enterpriselogin credentials.

The lessons are tested with the latest version of Enterprise so you may experience different functionality and results if you are using an earlier version of the product.

You can also complete ArcGIS Pro lessons by signing in with your Enterprisecredentials. However, some lessons use ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World data, which may not be included in your Enterprise version. In this case, look for notes that contain a workaround to add the data.

Example note to account for Enterprise

If you cannot complete the lesson due to a permission issue, contact your organization administrator.

The following are some of the configurations you may need to enable depending on the lesson steps:

The table below provides a summary of common Enterprise portal features available with and without ArcGIS Server integration.

FeatureWith no server integrationWith federated server onlyWith hosting serverNotes

Add items to the portal (for example, files, web apps, and services)




All portal items are treated the same in security and sharing.

Add shapefiles and .csv files with addresses to a web map


A hosting server is required, as it performs validation of shapefile and address data added to the web map.

Create web maps




You are not required to federate or configure a hosting server to create web maps.

Geocode individual addresses in a web map




You are not required to federate or configure a hosting server to geocode individual addresses in a web map.

Batch geocode addresses in a web map (for example, from a .csv file)


A hosting server is required, as it performs validation of the address data added to the web map.

The geocode service used to locate addresses can be from ArcGIS Server or an ArcGIS Online organization.

Publish hosted services (for example, hosted tile, feature, and scene layers)


A hosting server is required, as it performs data validation, stores service data, and hosts services.

You can publish hosted services using ArcGIS Desktop or directly in the portal when adding an item to the website.

Publishing hosted scene layers also requires that the hosting server be configured with a tile cache data store.

Share layers and maps from ArcGIS for Office


A hosting server is required to allow portal users to share layers and maps from ArcGIS for Office.

Publish layers from ArcGIS Pro that reference data from registered sources (for example, publish map image layers that contain data from a registered database)


The data source must be registered with the ArcGIS Server site prior to publishing. You can publish these layers using ArcGIS Pro 1.2 or later.

Use spatial analysis tools in Map Viewer Classic or ArcGIS Insights


Spatial analysis tools are hosted as a series of tasks on the server. The tools create hosted feature layers as output. These hosted feature layers are feature services that run on the hosting server.

To use these tools, the hosting server must be configured with a relational data store.

Perform big data analytics in Map Viewer Classic or ArcGIS Insights


Big data analytics tools create feature layers as output, which requires a hosting server to run the underlying services.

To use these tools, the hosting server must be configured with a spatiotemporal big data store.

For additional information, see the following resources: