Does the size of data fields included in the attribute table of a feature class affect the performance if the feature class is published?

I am wondering if the number of the fields included in the attribute table of a feature class affect the performance if the feature class is published.

Let’s assume that I have 2 F.C’s both of them contains a 1000 features, but one of them have 20 fields and the other one have 5 fields, now if the features was published using the ArcGIS server, will the one with the 5 fields will be more efficient than the one with 20 fields. Does the number fields affects the layer performance or the server performance or both of them?!

in other words if I have a F.C that have 1000 points and 5 fields, then I added another 15 fields to the same F.C, and now I have a F.C with 1000 points and 20 Fields.

What the might be effects of this operation (Performance,...,…)

1 Answer 1


It all depends on what you are going to do with the published map service. If you are going to consume the map service in a client, then an image will be generated on the server and sent to you. It has nothing to do with the feature class fields. You can have as many fields as supported in your database.

If you are going to enable Feature Access capability on the map service and access the geometry and the attributes of the features, then when you will request the data from the service, the geometry and attributes (from those fields you have specified in the query) will be sent to the client from the server.

The more fields you have, the more time it will take to transfer the data via network. The best practices is to send to the client only those fields that it will need.

Regarding the attributes per se, you should be more worried about the features' geometries that will be sent (in case you will work with a map service with feature access enabled). This is the operation that is usually very expensive as the vertices of the geometries will be sent to the client and will be drawn on the client side. There are generalization techniques that can be applied either beforehand in the geodatabase (running GP tools beforehand) or by applying generalization directly when retrieving the features from the server.

In your case, having 5 or 20 fields doesn't really matter. The response time difference between two map services with feature access enabled having feature class with 5 and 20 fields respectively will be negligible.

  • Thanks Alex this is really helpful, as a summery of your answer, using the map service in a web mapping application with Feature Access not enabled will not effects the performance. on the other hand if the Feature Access is enabled then the number of fields and the geometry type will affect the performance of the layer and the web mapping application. Oct 26, 2015 at 18:49
  • Almost correct. The more data that needs to be sent to the client from the server, the longer time it would take. You can have Feature Access enabled for a feature layer with 1000 fields, but if you send just 10 fields to the client side, you are fine. Oct 27, 2015 at 8:34

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