My aim to publish a raster layer as an Image Service from our ArcGIS server and consume it in our web application. I exported raster data that was residing on my workstation to our SQL Server from ArcMap (ArcSDE). Subsequently I am working on publishing it directly from the database. However, the last step of the Share As an Image Service process is copying the raster data to our ArcGIS Server. I am unable to find a way to eliminate it, wondering whether or not I could publish an image service from the database without having to create a copy of it in the server?

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    Have you registered the folders/sde connection where the images reside in the servers data store property? Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 2:38

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Storing images in a database stopped being high-tech with the introduction of map caching at ArcGIS 9.2 (9 years ago). Current best practice for serving images is to use image files on disk from a raster dataset (which requires the Image Server extension). Extracting image files from an ArcSDE database should be a last-ditch effort -- far better to use the original archived files as-is.

While it is possible to reference image files on a network share, best practice is generally to have the files local to the server (e.g. fibre-attached device, not SAN). Yes, this uses more storage, but the access performance difference can be significant (benchmark it if necessary).

The documentation covers all aspects of image service configuration and deployment, including the various data deployment options.

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