This document makes me want to stab my eyes with a fork. Can someone provide a simple summary of the differences between Enterprise vs. Workgroup, and Basic vs. Standard vs. Advanced? As a bonus, what can I expect to spend on the different options?

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    This really got messy when ArcSDE started getting bundled with ArcGIS Server. Maybe some explanation of how MultiUser Geodatabase fits into this matrix (or not) would be helpful too. May 18, 2011 at 17:12
  • In 10.2 you will not need ArcSDE for connection (read/write) to PostGIS - (ESRI-UK let that slip at the user conference) - see knowwhereconsulting.co.uk/theres-only-one-team-in-london
    – Mapperz
    May 18, 2011 at 18:16
  • I got quoted (via email) $60 000 AU for what I wanted to do, if I used ESRI products. I could see myself buying some partner products as well like ENVI EX for at least another $10K. I think they have to charge this much to pay the sales staff to hold the hands of customers and interpret what the marketing staff have put out there. If I knew how to post pdfs here I would let you all have a look.... basically I asked for the fullest functionality of a desktop application, no server application required but that seems to be inherent in Arc. I also lost enthusiasm for interpreting what I was actua
    – BWill
    May 19, 2011 at 11:10

5 Answers 5


Ok, so short and sweet for you without the marketing fluff...


  1. Workgroup - Small groups, no enterprise tools
  2. Enterprise - Corporate scale, large toolkit to manage, more overhead needs to manage


  1. Basic - Pretty much ArcSDE (multiuser database access), not much for other functionality
  2. Standard - Same as basic, but add the services for Maps, processing and remote work
  3. Advanced - Full range of Standard, plus the extensions as well as Mobile

So for sure Enterprise Advanced is the best, but you pay a premium for it; you really need to think about what you need to do before you pluck down 32+K for 4 cores.

Additional Information

At the workgroup level you are talking 5-10 users, since the Workgroup edition software is running on a MSSQLExpress engine, so you have size and connection limits to the platform.

For the Enterprise tools perspective, you have access to commandline tools for managing ArcSDE to do things like automate functions outside of ArcPy as well as the ability to do things like creating spatial views, and more easily scripting functions on the machines through scheduled tasks. The command line tools of ArcSDE are a major element of being able to manage the larger platform.

  • I think this is the best answer but there are some ambiguous points: can you be more specific about "enterprise tools"? And "small groups"? I think this actually 10 or less concurrent users. Also, basic == ArcSDE. Maybe just say that? May 18, 2011 at 18:14
  • FWIW, 'basic == ArcSDE' isn't very informative for an ESRI newbie like myself. May 18, 2011 at 18:31
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    @Herb how about: Basic - ArcSDE, which provides multi-user access and multi-user editing for your geodatabases. May 18, 2011 at 19:44
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    Another take which may help distinguish Standard from Advanced at least with respect to available Geoprocessing tools is if you think of Standard being "ArcView functionality over the web" and Advanced being "ArcInfo functionality over the web".
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 8, 2013 at 1:29

How about this: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgisserver/key-functionality.html

It's similar to a table in the document you mentioned but without all the additional details/fluff.


FWIW, here's some pricing information (in USD), provided by the anonymous "chat with a sales representative" on their website. Hopefully ESRI won't send goons to break my kneecaps for posting this.

  • Workgroup Basic/Standard/Advanced: $5K/10K/20K
  • Enterprise Basic/Standard/Advanced: $10K/20K/40K

Annual maintenance/upgrades/support is included for 1 year, and is roughly 25% of the initial cost each year thereafter; so $10K/year for Enterprise Advanced, etc.

This probably represents the highest pricing levels they have; there are apparently cheaper prices out there, for example on the GSA schedule for US government.

  • Well, In Europe I think it is a lot more expensive. I think Enterprise advanced is more than 100K USD in Norway. Then you need some ArcMap licenses on top. I think ArcEditor is about 20K USD here. May 19, 2011 at 13:08
  • a simple 'net search for esri pricelist usually turns up results from state government websites in the US. The prices aren't likely to match what you get talking to Esri Sales, but they're still useful in determining the relative values of each product. One other thing: the sales people appear have a lot of leeway in adjusting the prices. I've seen them bargain down as much as 50% from the starting price (they make more money from the annual maintenance and training than initial purchase); they're not likely to move much for small organisation though. May 19, 2011 at 16:50

I see from the document that some of my understanding has already changed.
(i.e. it is a moving target)

But for what your asking.

Basic/standard/advanced limits the functionality.

workgroup/enterprise limits the sizing, scaling and #users on the functionality.

advanced ent you get it all (minus extensions not included) for about 40k
basic workgroup you get to publish geodbs under 4GB
for editing by no more than 2 users
or 10 connections (not editing)

advanced workgroup ~ 10k

Advanced ent you get arcgis mobile (This is a product not a functionality)
caveat emptor

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    One detail: SQL Server Express 2008 R2 actually supports up to 10 GB databases (where the previous versions went up to 4 GB). So products based on SQL Server Express now support somewhat larger databases.
    – Philip
    May 19, 2011 at 2:34

It seems as ArcSDE editions are pretty well covered, so let me cover the ArcGIS Server editions for 10.1.

Basic: you are able to use geodatabases, administer SQL Server Express geodatabases, create read-only feature services (to serve features for clients), geometry service, the services you create can be used in web mapping apps as well as mobile apps.

Standard: all the basic license functionality + can create dynamic/cached map services, geocode/globe/geoprocessing services (for geoprocessing - only ArcGIS Desktop Standard licensed tools can be used), use printing service, search service, schematics service + create feature service with read/write access. You can buy and use extensions, for instance, Network Analyst or Image extension.

Advanced: all the basic and standard license functionality + ArcGIS Desktop Advanced geoprocessing tools. You can create network services (for routing) and image services (available out-of-the-box). Out-of-the-box extensions are available: in this license you already have Network Analyst, Schematics, Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Geostatistical Analyst - all others you need to buy.

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