Manifold® Server

High Speed, Multiuser, Parallel, Spatial Database Server

Server shares huge data with incredible speed

Easy to Use · Share Data · Fast !

New ! Manifold Server is a read-only, multiuser spatial database server for sharing projects and data that is really easy to use. Server is so easy to use that it makes sharing projects and data easier and way more productive for both experts and non-experts alike. Server can share constellations of thousands of project files and the data they contain.

Manifold Server is available in two versions: a limited version built into Manifold 9 Universal for individuals and smaller workgroups, and an unlimited version built into Manifold 9 Server that is perfect for larger workgroups and entire organizations.


  • Built into Release 9 Universal - Every Release 9 Universal license includes a limited version of Manifold Server. Installing Release 9 Universal automatically installs Server and activating Release 9 Universal automatically activates Server for use on that machine. For only $195 you get both Release 9 and Manifold Server. Manifold Server in Release 9 Universal is limited to one Server instance that must be launched from a Command Prompt window, with up to 20 connections. Individual users connecting to Server will often use multiple connections, so the 20 connection limit typically can support three to five users linking to Server, depending on how connections are utilized. You can use both Release 9 and Server simultaneously on the same machine, running an unlimited number of interactive Release 9 sessions while your Server instance running on that same machine serves out data to either your sessions or to other users connecting to your Server instance from other computers.
  • Unlimited Use with Release 9 Server - Step up to the unlimited version of Manifold Server: Every Release 9 Server license includes a unlimited version of Manifold Server. Installing Release 9 Server automatically installs the unlimited version of Server and activating Release 9 Server automatically activates Server for unlimited use on that machine. For only $395 you get both Release 9 and Manifold Server. The unlimited version of Server has no limit to the number of connections, no limit to the number of Server instances on a server machine, and it can to launch and to manage Server instances as Windows services. Manifold 9 Server allows use of both Release 9 and Server simultaneously on the same machine, running an unlimited number of interactive Release 9 sessions with an unlimited number of Server instances running on that same machine serving out data to your sessions as well as to other users connecting from other computers.
  • Many instances and many connections - With Manifold 9 Server, the ability to launch many instances makes it easy to organize access to different communities of users based on access URLs and credentials. An unlimited number of connections is perfect for taking advantage of cost-efficient, many core CPUs that can provide very many threads on server machines at low cost.
  • Easy to Launch and Load - Server is the easiest multiuser database server around. Server serves data from Manifold .map project files. Manifold's .map format is a high performance parallel database storage format that can handle many terabytes of data and thousands of nested links to other projects, so every Release 9 .map file is ready for use with Server. Launch Server in a command line naming the .map you want to use and Server instantly swings into action to serve data from that .map file. No need to mess around with loaders.
  • Easy to Manage - Want to change the data in the database? Stop the server, edit the .map file with Release 9 to add components or data sources, edit components, change styles, or otherwise change the project, and then launch Server again with that project. Or, launch Server with an entirely different project. Want to back up the database being shared? Just make a copy of the .map file. Manifold 9 Server includes a superb Manage Services dialog that makes it easy to add new Server instances as Windows services, and to start, stop, and edit those services. Easy!
  • Share Data to Many Users - Many projects often use the same base layers, especally within organizations. Whether it is a layer of parcels or recent drone photography, the same layers tend to be used over and over as backgrounds or as sources of data for computation and generation of new layers. Keep all frequently used layers within projects shared by server and that makes it easy for everyone to use to the same, standard layers in their projects without having to make their own individual copies. When the server project is updated, all of the user projects that link in data from Server will also be updated automatically.
  • Easy to Connect - Any Release 9 session, including Manifold 9 Professional, can connect to Server to use the data that Server shares. You can even use the free Manifold Viewer to connect to Server. Connecting is super easy: Just use the same New Data Source dialog used to connect to other databases. Enter the IP address for the Server you want to use and you're connected.
  • Many Servers on the Same Computer - Using Manifold 9 Server, you can launch many Server instances on the same computer, with each Server instance using a different port and/or IP address and serving a different project. Each Server instance can serve many Manifold clients from other computers or from the same computer.
  • Many Clients on the Same Computer - You can launch many Release 9 sessions on the same computer, and each Release 9 client session can connect to many different Server instances at the same time, on that same computer or over networks to Server running on different computers. You can use layers from many different Server instances in the same project.
  • Parallel Connections - Manifold client sessions connect to Server using asynchronous, multithreaded, parallel connections for dramatically faster performance than narrow technology like ODBC. The Manifold client session and Server instance will balance threads on the fly to handle both large and small threads, and to optimize dispatch of data.
  • Server-Side Rendering Pipeline - When rendering big layers most of the work is setting up the rendering task.  Server prepares layers for rendering server-side using full parallelism with only the final stages of rendering happening in the client.  Server-side rendering eliminates the need to send tens or hundreds of gigabytes through the network connection to a client for rendering. That allows very large data in Server to be browsed by clients almost as fast as if it were local. You can pan and zoom within a 100 GB vector project through a Server connection almost as fast as if it were local.
  • Server-Side Execution - Queries in projects shared by Server are executed on the server machine, sending only results to clients.  Queries can be executed within the Server, within the client, or in a mix of both. Since the results of queries are usually much smaller than the full database being queried, executing queries within Server and sending only the results avoids sending large amounts of data through network connections.
  • Distributed Parallel Computation - Manifold clients can connect to many different Server installations at the same time, pulling layers from those different Server installations to use together in maps. If a map includes three different layers from three different Server installations on three different machines, when that map is panned and zoomed each of the three different layers will be prepared for rendering and otherwise serviced by the Server machine sharing that layer, so that the computational resources of three different machines will be utilized. Instead of parallel processing on a single computer handling all three layers, parallel processing on four different machines, the three Server machines plus the client machine, will be used to speed up the rendering pipeline for the map.  That can result in visibly faster response with big layers.
  • Serve Thousands of Data Sets - Projects shared by Server can contain thousands of data sets like raster image layers, vector drawing layers, maps, database tables, scripts, queries, print layouts and much more, organized into hierarchical folders for easy navigation. Projects can also contain linked data sets that in turn are other Manifold projects, databases like Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and many others, with links nested many layers deep. A single Server instance could provide access to many thousands of files and data sets. Wow!
  • Database / Data Source Tunneling - Tunneling allows users to reach through Server to utilize data sources within Server. When a project shared by Server contains data sources that are databases, such as SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL and others, a Manifold session connecting to Server can open those data sources in the Server hierarchy and reach down into them to use their contents.  Other data source content, such as linked files, linked Manifold .map projects, linked Esri geodatabases, and other data sources is also automatically tunneled.  Web sources like Bing or Google image servers or ArcGIS REST servers reachable through Internet is not tunneled, but instead automatically set up for direct connections from the Manifold client session to the web source.   In both cases layers and data sources shared through Server can simply be used without users worrying about the details of whether they are tunneled or not.
  • Servers Nested within Servers - Projects shared by Server can contain Manifold Server data sources, with nested Server data sources automatically setting up pass-through tunneling.   For example, a project shared by Server on machine A might include Server data sources using Server installations on machines B and C.   A Manifold client connecting to Server A will see the Server B and Server C data sources within that project and will be able to open them and use the data and links they contain.   Server A will automatically arrange pass-through tunneling to Servers B and C, which will in turn automatically arrange pass-through tunneling to the data sources they share.
  • Automatic Version Negotiation - Different build levels can be used for a Server installation and for Manifold clients connecting to that Server installation.  When the connection is formed the different versions will negotiate to use a common feature set despite different build levels.
  • Easy User Interface - Both Server and client user interfaces have been kept as simple as possible. Server launches in a simple command line, with a few simple configuration options.  Connections to Server within Manifold clients use the same New Data Source interface used for other databases and data sources.
  • Copy / Paste Server Data Source - Server data sources in a Manifold project are just like any other data source.  They can be saved as Favorites for one-click addition to any new projects, they can be copied from one Manifold session and pasted into a different Manifold session, and they are saved as part of the project whenever a Manifold client project is saved, with automatic reconnection when the saved project is opened.
  • Secure Access - Server can be launched with a user login and password required, to control access when accessible from public Internet.

New Video

First Look - Manifold Server - Introducing Manifold Server, Manifold's new, high speed, fully parallel, multiuser spatial database. Covering in the first 15 minutes the essentials of launching Server, using Server to share data, and connecting to Server from Manifold, the video continues to show different options and key advantages of using Server.

See how to make multiple, simultaneous connections to Server, to share the same data between multiple users at the same time. Launch multiple Server instances on the same machine to share different constellations of data and databases.

Launch queries for server-side execution for breathtaking speed and performance. Connect to databases within Server through automatic tunneling. Connect from the same client to multiple Server instances on different machines to use dozens of threads on different machines for parallel computation and rendering. Amazing!


I heard Manifold already is a database system. How is Server different? - Every Manifold session, including the free Viewer, is a fully parallel database system as well, but Manifold desktop sessions are oriented towards single-user connections to projects through the Windows file system. More than one desktop Manifold session can connect to the same .map project at the same time, so long as the connections are read-only, with significant limitations compared to Server that result in lower performance for multiuser connections.

When desktop Manifold sessions connect to a Manifold project as a read-only data source, multiple users on multiple different machines can use data and layers from the project at the same time, but they would have to connect to that project through Windows, using Windows file system shares to reach projects on a different machine. All processing would be executed locally within each user session, including the entire rendering pipeline and execution of all queries. For a query involving a big table, that would require sending the entire table from the host machine to each desktop session. No caching or other optimization is done between different user sessions when desktop Manifold sessions connect directly to .map projects.

Server is desighed for multi-user connections and is reached through an IP address, which allows connections between clients and Server for locations anywhere in the world, without being limited to local Windows file system shares. Server also provides vastly better peformance by executing queries server-side, setting up rendering server-side, and caching and optimizing between client sessions. A query involving big tables only sends results through the network, which are typically much smaller than the big tables involved in the query. That greatly reduces the amount of data that has to be sent through networks and greatly enhances performance when incorporating data shared by Server into client projects.

Server also provides data source tunneling, while ordinary Manifold sessions always must form direct connections to all data sources. Data source tunneling allows use of data sources that otherwise might not be reachable in a direct connection. Tunneling also allows Server connections to only those databases desired within a project hierarchy that could involve many nested levels and thousands of components and databases.

How many Manifold client sessions can connect to a Server instance? - That depends on the projects involved, what the users do, the speed of the network connections between clients and Server, and the hardware used for clients and Server. The limited version of Server in Manifold 9 Universal is limited to 20 connections, so it will handle fewer clients than the unlimited version of Server in Manifold 9 Server that provides unlimited connections. Keep in mind that when a user client session connects to Server, the client session will often utilize more than one connection, since each data source in the served project requires a connection. Most organizations will therefore step up to the unlimited version of Server provided by Release 9 Server licenses even for small workgroups.

Use Manifold 9 Server licenses to take advantage of manycore CPUs that provide many threads at low cost. For example, Server running on a Threadripper machine that has plenty of RAM and 64 CPU cores will be able to handle many more clients than Server running on a four core Ryzen 3 machine. Organizations with a few dozen users and Server instances running on typical desktop computers with eight to twelve cores and SSD storage in typical GIS work should expect good results from the unlimited version of Server. Organizations with many users, or with users running many intensive jobs simultaneously should consider more powerful hardware and taking greater care to run Server instances on multiple computers.

Can I launch Server as a service? - Yes! That's a key advantage of running Manifold 9 Server edition.

Can Manifold Release 9 Professional launch Server? - No. Release 9 Professional licenses can connect to Server as clients, but a Release 9 Professional license cannot operate Server to share data outbound to other machines or users.

Our office expects to have three or four Manifold Release 9 users, and we would like them to be able to use data shared by Manifold Server. Should we choose Release 9 Universal or Release 9 Server? - That depends on how you plan to use the product. There are many combinations of licenses that will work. Each user who will be working with Manifold and connecting to Server as a client must have at least a Release 9 Professional license on their computer. Computers that host Server to share data must have either a Release 9 Universal or a Release 9 Server license.

A Universal license includes Manifold Server, but in a limited form that is suitable for individual users or smaller workgroups. The version of Server in a Universal license must launch from a Command Prompt window, is limited to one instance, and can handle up to 20 connections (individual users normally will use more than one connection). The unlimited version of Server in a Release 9 Server license can launch as a Windows service, can run an unlimited number of instances, and can handle an unlimited number of connections. The unlimited version of Server in a Release 9 Server license also provides the Manage Services dialog, which greatly simplifies launching and administering Server instances.

Small workgroups or individuals can use a Universal license to install Manifold Server, but that requires more skill and effort than simply using a Manifold 9 Server license. For that reason, most organizations almost always immediately step up to using Manifold 9 Server even with very small workgroups.

If you take that strategy and you plan on having four users, you could acquire three Release 9 Professional licenses and one Release 9 Server license to get Server in unlimited form. Three of the users can work with Professional licenses, and the fourth user can host Server on the same machine on which they also are running Manifold for desktop use.

However, because Manifold offers quantity discounts, a more cost efficient strategy is to get the 4x Manifold 9.00 Professional + Manifold 9.00 Server product. That provides four Release 9 Professional licenses plus one Release 9 Server license for only $775. Because of the quantity discount you get five Professional licenses instead of only four, yet the total cost is $55 less than buying unbundled licenses.

You could then operate four Professional licenses on various user machines, and still be able to install Server on a fifth machine whether somebody uses that server machine as their desktop machine or not. Or, you could run three users with Professional, with one user using the Server machine as their desktop, and have an extra Professional license to dedicate to a notebook computer that's used away from the office.

The Universal alternative to the above is to buy the 5x Universal bundle for $780. That would allow you to install and use the limited form of Server on five different machines, and also use each of those five machines for a desktop user. There are scenarios where that makes sense for expert users who want to distribute serving to five different instances on five different machines. However, most organizations which are running four users with access to Server will strongly prefer to keep it simple and to run the unlimited form of Server. They'll use the 4x Professional + Server bundle.

If the budget is tight but you still want to use at least the limited form of Server with three users overall, you could go with two Professional licenses and one Universal license for a total of $485. Over time you could then add Professional licenses or Universal licenses, and eventually add an unlimited Release 9 Server license. You'll end up spending significantly more than the 4x Professional + Release 9 Server bundle, but the expense will be stretched out over time.

If I buy one Release 9 Server license, does that include user licenses to run Manifold on other machines? - No. Manifold Server operates on one machine to share Manifold data from that machine to regular Manifold licenses that are running as clients on other machines. You still have to buy Manifold licenses for those other machines. Release 9 Server does allow you to launch Manifold in a desktop session on the same machine that is running Server, but it does not provide extra licenses for other machines.

For example, if you buy a single Release 9 Server license you can install that on a single server machine. You will then be able to run Server on that machine and you could also launch Manifold in a regular desktop session on that server machine at the same time that Server is running to share data. You can run as many instances of Server as you want, but all on that one machine. If you have ten users on ten other machines, you'll need to buy and to install ten Manifold licenses, one on each of those other machines. Note that Manifold Viewer is free and that Viewer can connect to Server as a client. If on some of those ten machines Viewer will be enough for the work the users on those machines do, they could use Viewer.

Fast GIS is Fun GIS

Super fast speed brings a new level to "ease of use" - GIS is way easier when everything happens fast, even with bigger data, and you don't have to wait around for many seconds or minutes for jerky web interfaces or slow desktop software to do what you want. Do in seconds what takes minutes or hours in other GIS packages. Life is too short for slow GIS!

Manifold provides hundreds of vector and raster geoprocessing tools that with a point and click run ten, fifty, or even one hundred times faster than Spatial Analyst or other Esri toolbox equivalents. Manifold plays well with Esri to make it easy to add Manifold speed to your GIS workflow, or to use Manifold as your primary GIS for even greater productivity.

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Mount St. Helens region

One meter resolution Digial Elevation data of the Mount St. Helens volcano crater and region to the north devastated by ejecta and lahirs flowing from the catastrophic eruption of 18 May 1980. The terrain elevation model, colored by Manifold using a palette, is shown in a map between an upper, partially transparent set of labels from a Google web server and overlaid on a streets vector layer also from a Google web server. The elevation data is over 3 gigabytes and displays, pans and zooms instantly in Manifold.

About Manifold

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