ArcGIS 10.x clients can connect to 10.x enterprise geodatabases. However, the version of the database management system you use must be compatible with the ArcGIS client version from which you connect. See the SQL Server database requirements for the ArcGIS client version you are using.
You can connect from an ArcGIS 10.3 client to a 9.3.1 geodatabase to upgrade it; however, the geodatabase must be in a supported database management system release.
Be aware that when you use clients that connect to an ArcGIS for Server service, such as ArcGIS for iOS or ArcPad, it is actually ArcGIS for Server that is the client to the geodatabase.
Connecting from newer clients to older release geodatabases allows you to use the geodatabase without having to upgrade the geodatabase at the same time the clients are upgraded. It also allows you to have mixed-release client installations at your site. For example, if one department uses a custom application that has not been updated to work with ArcGIS 10.3.1, you can keep the geodatabase at the 10.1 release, keep this group of users on a 10.1 client release, and upgrade the clients for the rest of the agency to 10.3. Keep in mind, though, that the 10.1 clients cannot use 10.3.1 geodatabase functionality until the geodatabase has been upgraded.
Rules for mixed-release connections
Keep the following in mind when deciding whether to use mixed-release connections:
- When you make a connection from a newer client to an older enterprise geodatabase, you only have access to functionality that is available for the release of your geodatabase. For example, you cannot connect from an ArcGIS 10.3.1 client to a 10 geodatabase and edit datasets with editor tracking enabled, because editor tracking was not implemented in 10 geodatabases. This also applies to API functionality; if the functionality does not exist in the version of the geodatabase to which you want to connect, you cannot use the newer API function.
- To connect from an ArcGIS client to a previous release enterprise geodatabase, the geodatabase has to be upgraded to the latest service pack or patch for its release. For example, if you want to connect from ArcGIS 10.3.1 for Desktop to a 10.2.2 enterprise geodatabase, you must apply the most recent 10.2.2 patch to the geodatabase.