12 July, 2021

An NGIS Upgrade Solution

The adage ‘time is money’ has never been more relevant as our world grows more connected, we grow more impatient, making only small allowances for inconveniences and downtime when it comes to almost anything. We can all think of a time when our smartphone or PC has needed an upgrade and we have to forego the luxury of being connected or endure the hassle of downtime from important work, for the benefit of the upgrade. The same applies in a business context, but on a much greater scale. For example, businesses' heavy reliance upon systems for data capture and storage, processing and operations leaves limited choice but to have the upgrade completed in an efficient manner.

As a geospatial consultancy, our clients are large businesses with location-focussed requirements and constant reliance upon technology to enable their operations. When it comes to a client’s GIS software of choice, more often than not it’s ArcGIS Enterprise, a powerful software for creating and hosting mapping applications. Historically, upgrading ArcGIS Enterprise has been fraught with risk of losing data, unexpected errors and production downtime. Our team has extensive experience with these upgrades, and one of our most senior GIS developers, Rick Huang encountered regular headaches with upgrading ArcGIS Enterprise environments for clients—consistently grappling with production downtime and uncertainties. 


An innovative solution

To solve the problem, Rick developed a solution; the NGIS Upgrade Solution which minimises production downtime during an ArcGIS Enterprise update to only 40 minutes, where it would otherwise take upwards of 400 minutes. 

It allows ArcGIS administrators access to a safe environment to practise and verify the ArcGIS upgrade by constructing a prototyping environment for performing the upgrade process. This solution is designed to enable minimal production down-time and reliability in deployment. 

When compared with the traditional methods of upgrading the enterprise, the NGIS Upgrade Solution was found to be the most efficient way of completing the process, see the below summary table.


Enterprise upgrade methods

Production Downtime (minutes)



Esri Join Site

Esri WebGIS DR

NGIS Upgrade Solution




Enterprise Upgrade












Data Store





          30 ~ 120¹



~ 5²








1. This time can be very different from system to system. It will depends on the content or size of the system.

2. Most verification would be done in the previous trial run. This is a final check.

Both of Esri’s approaches will handle the current production upgrades but not without significant impact on production availability, and the In Place upgrade requires significant downtime. Using the NGIS Upgrade Solution, a new approach to server upgrades, isolates the process from the production environment, therefore, having very little impact on production operations. Further, the solution can assist in constructing a prototyping environment for simulating the upgrade process. 


NGIS upgrade solution features

  • Prototyping environment to perform the upgrade.
  • Clean migration ensuring the ArcGIS machine name will match the underlying host machine name.
  • Allows the operating system to be upgraded.
  • Allows different disk drive allocation e.g. moving C:\arcgisportal to E:\arcgisportal
  • Streamlines and automates the upgrade process to minimise manual handling and ensure that simulated successful upgrade results can be repeated during the real production upgrade.
  • Allows ArcGIS content migration from a lower version (10.6.1 or 10.7.1) to a newer version (10.8.1 or 10.9), so ArcGIS software upgrade occurs before the production system is impacted.
  • Majority of the upgrade verifications can be performed before the production system is impacted.
  • ArcGIS Server and Data Store upgrades can be done in parallel to Portal upgrade.

Currently, this solution supports Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Data Store (relational and tilecache), and ArcGIS Notebook Server. It has been successfully tested in upgrading ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.1 or 10.6.1 or 10.7.1 to 10.8.1 or 10.9 in large, real world enterprise level Esri environments.


You can save time in your ArcGIS Enterprise upgrade

And you can do that by reaching out to us directly!

If you are a system administrator, GIS consultant or developer looking to implement our NGIS Upgrade Solution for your ArcGIS Enterprise upgrade, get in touch and we can assist you with making the process seamless. 

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