Tag Archives: SDE

Is ArcSDE dead? Part II

The term ArcSDE/SDE is being gradually replaced with the term “Multiuser Geodatabase” and this is probably creating some confusion among the users of the ArcGIS platform. In order to understand the difference between ArcSDE and multiuser geodatabase, let’s start clarifying what is and what is not ArcSDE.

What is not ArcSDE:

ArcSDE is not a product. It’s a technology. In the same way ArcGIS is not a product, is a platform. Only prior to ArcGIS 9.2, ArcSDE was a standalone software product. At the ArcGIS 9.2 release, ArcSDE was integrated into both ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS for Server.

ArcSDE is not only the application sever connection, a piece of software that packs the giomgr.exe and a gsrv.exe processes. This is a common mistake that I have mentioned in my previous post but from a more business perspective. I’ll try to do the same exercise now but from a technical perspective.

So, what is ArcSDE  – also called “the database enhanced with the ArcSDE technology” or simply the “ArcSDE geodatabase” or the “Multiuser geodatabase”?

Let’s answer this question step by step.

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Is ArcSDE dead? Part I

This is a recurrent question in my geodatabase seminars.

“ArcSDE” is a concept that has always created some confusion, and part of the reason is, I think, due to how ArcSDE has evolved overtime.

I have seen that some users tend to associate the concept ArcSDE with the “application service connections” which has been deprecated in 10.3.  Sometimes, I see people mixing things up and ending up asking questions like, “Has Esri got rid of ArcSDE?”

It’s also common to see users asking in forums why they should use ArcSDE if there are many databases that support spatial data, multi-user editing, replication,  and even spatial functions, as one of colleagues here in the Melbourne office found the other day. The confusion comes from the terminology used:

  • Do I get the same spatial capabilities using native database spatial data versus ArcSDE enhanced spatial databases – even when both use the same spatial data types – for example,  do I get the same capabilities using a MS SQLServer database using the Geometry spatial data type and a MS SQLServer ArcSDE enhanced database using Geometry spatial data type?
  • Is it the same multiuser editing found in SQL Server or any other database and the multiuser editing available with ArcGIS?
  • Is it the same “replication” functionality the one found in a database and the one we have with the Esri technology?

A short answer to all these questions is: – No, it is not the same.

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How can I access the Replica log?

Whenever a replica creation or synchronization process is performed with ArcGIS Desktop, whether it be connected or disconnected, detailed information about the process is recorded in a replica activity log.

The replica log file can be found in the temp directory (as defined by the temp environment variable) of the machine on which the replica operation was executed.

For example: TEMP variable is set to “%USERPROFILE\Appdata\Local\Temp”
Thus, the location the ReplicaLog.dat file would be in Eg. for Windows 7 – “C:\Users\tthompson\AppData\Local\Temp”.

*** New at 10.1, you can choose the location of the file and the level of detail recorded. This option is available from ArcMap 10.1 > Distributed Geodatabase toolbar > Distributed Geodatabase menu > Options > General Tab > Log level.


The information in the replica activity log includes the following:

  • ERRORS—Errors that occurred while running a process
  • WARNINGS—How many warnings occurred while running a process
  • Operation Name—The name of the process that was run
  • Time Completed—The date and time when the process finished
  • Operation Info—General information about the process

The contents of the ReplicaLog.dat file can be viewed directly in a text editor. However, the technical article “HowTo: Get a formatted view of the ReplicaLog.dat file” describes how to get a formatted view of the information in the log. The article can be found at: http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/34752  

More information about the operations included in the log can be found via the following web link:

Formatted Replica Activity Log Example



OperationName Time Completed Operation Info
Rebuild Connectivity 19/09/2012 2:04:46 PM Zoning_Polygon_repl
TransferedRelatedChanges 19/09/2012 2:04:46 PM Zoning_Polygon_repl
TransferingChanges 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON
TransferingDelete 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON
TransferedDelete 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON : 0
TransferingInsert 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON
TransferedInsert 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON : 3
TransferingUpdate 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON
TransferedUpdate 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM ZONING_POLYGON : 0
Rebuild Connectivity 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM Zoning_Polygon_repl
TransferedRelatedChanges 19/09/2012 2:06:56 PM Zoning_Polygon_repl

Tania T.

ArcSDE updates not supported by ArcCatalog “Set Data Source” tool

Up to and including v10.0, the ArcCatalog “Set Data Source” tool is only designed for updating MXD file based data sources such as Personal and File geodatabases.

ArcSDE data connections updated via the ArcCatalog “Set Data Source” tool are not supported. The tool may allow you to update or repair MXD data references from ArcSDE geodatabases but is not the recommended method.  Continue reading