The Kubernetes project was a major undertaking for the company, Esri Product managers Trevor Seaton and Philip Heede told me that. Traditionally, like many similar products, ArcGIS was designed to be installed on physical enclosures, virtual machines, or virtual machines hosted in the cloud. And while where the software is running doesn’t really matter to end users, containerizing the application means it’s much easier for companies to scale up or scale down their systems. according to their needs.
“We have a lot of customers – especially some of the bigger customers – who ask very complex questions,” Seaton explained. “And sometimes it’s unpredictable. They can respond to seasonal events, business events, or economic events, and they not only need to understand what’s going on in the world, but also respond to their many users outside the organization who come in and ask questions. on the systems they set up using ArcGIS. And this unpredictable demand is one of the main advantages of Kubernetes. “
The team could have chosen to go the easy way and wrap their existing tools around their existing tools to containerize them and call them a day, but as Seaton noted, Esri took the opportunity to revamp their tools. and break them down into microservices.
“It took us a while because we took three or four big apps that made up together [ArcGIS] Business, ”he says. “And we’ve broken them down into a much larger set of microservices. This allows us to containerize specific services and add a lot of high availability and resiliency to the system without adding a lot of complexity for admins – in fact, we’re reducing complexity by doing this and it’s all installed in one. single deployment script. “
While Kubernetes simplifies much of the management experience, many companies that use ArcGIS are not yet familiar with it. And as Seaton and Heede noted, the company doesn’t force anyone to access this platform. It will continue to support Windows and Linux as before. Heede also pointed out that it was still unusual – especially in this industry – to see a complex, fully integrated system like ArcGIS delivered as microservices and multiple containers that its customers then run on their own infrastructure.
Later this month, Esri also plans to launch its new design system to make it easier and faster for developers to create clean, consistent user interfaces. This design system will launch on April 22, but the company has already provided a small teaser today. As Powell noted, the challenge for Esri is that its design system must help business partners add their own style and branding to the maps and data they get from the ArcGIS ecosystem.