With ArcGIS Pro, you can create a service definition file (.sd) and use it to publish to an ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise portal or a stand-alone ArcGIS Server at a later time. A service definition is a portable file that contains all the information needed to publish a web layer or service, such as its properties, capabilities, and service type. It can also optionally include the data referenced by your GIS resource.
A service definition file is useful in the following or a combination of the following scenarios:
- If you are in a disconnected environment with limited or no access to the portal or server—for example, in a cloud environment or secure environment—you can create a service definition that can be shared with a server administrator for publishing when connected.
- If the work of sharing your GIS resource is divided between at least two people, a service definition allows you to split workflows into service preparation and publishing. You may be given the task of creating service definition files for another person to later publish as a web layer to a portal or service to a stand-alone server.
- If your organization maintains staging and production environments, you can create connection-neutral .sd files to conveniently deploy the same services in multiple environments.
Create a service definition
There are two workflows to create a service definition depending on whether you want to configure it for a specific server connection or save it without a connection if you are offline or disconnected from the server. For both workflows, you can create service definitions for the following GIS resources: