There is at least some amount of administration needed for every type of geodatabase. The tasks you perform to manage a geodatabase vary depending on the type of geodatabase you are using.
File or personal geodatabase administration
There are a few administration tasks involved in the use of a file or personal geodatabase. Some of these tasks, such as compacting a geodatabase, help maintain performance. Others, such as compressing vector data in file geodatabases or creating a licensed file geodatabase, are optional. See A comparison of file and personal geodatabase management for more information.
Database server administration
You can think of the geodatabases stored in SQL Server Express instances that are used as database servers as mini enterprise geodatabases. As such, they require some of the same administration as enterprise geodatabases.
Other than installing the SQL Server Express instance and creating Windows logins, all administration tasks are performed through ArcGIS Desktop.
Set up a SQL Server Express instance to be used as a database server
Use the SQL Server Express installation file provided with ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Engine, or ArcGIS Server Workgroup to install SQL Server Express and enable it to store geodatabases. The first part of the wizard installs Microsoft SQL Server. The second part writes a key to the registry indicating this instance can be used to store geodatabases.
You can set up a database server to use yourself, or you can add other users to the database server to allow them to access geodatabases on the database server. In most cases, the person who sets up the database server is the server administrator. That person is responsible for access to and maintenance of the database server.
Create geodatabases on the database server
Add logins to the database server and grant permissions
If other users need to access the new geodatabases, you must add them to the database server. Before you can do this, the Windows logins—either domain or local—must be created. Your network administrator would likely be the one to create domain logins. If you are an administrator on the computer where SQL Server Express was installed, you can create local logins; otherwise, someone who is an administrator will need to create the logins on the computer. Local logins are only used when logged in to that specific computer.
As the server administrator, you add Windows logins to the database server for all users who must access the geodatabases on the database server. The server administrator is also responsible for assigning user permissions to the geodatabases.
Maintain geodatabases on database servers
There are a few maintenance tasks that need to be performed for geodatabases on database servers. They include creating backups of the databases, compressing geodatabases, updating statistics, rebuilding indexes, and upgrading geodatabases. There are other maintenance tasks that are only required for specific situations. See Database servers for more information.
Enterprise geodatabase administration
Enterprise geodatabases are stored inside a database. Geodatabases are supported in the following relational database management systems:
- IBM Db2
- IBM Informix
- Microsoft SQL Server
Typically, a large number of users access enterprise geodatabases. As a result, administration is required to make sure the geodatabase is configured properly, people can access the data they need, and the database runs smoothly.
You can perform some geodatabase administration tasks using ArcGIS. In many cases, administration tasks are slightly different from one database management system to another. Therefore, there is a section in the help specific to each supported database management system. Be sure to read the topics pertaining to the one you are using.
Key tasks for the administration of an enterprise geodatabase include the following:
Install software and create a geodatabase
You need to install both the database management system software and ArcGIS software, create a database, and enable geodatabase functionality in the database.
Obtain the database management system installation from a third-party vendor. If you're using PostgreSQL, you can download a supported version from My Esri.
Once your ArcGIS client and database management system software are installed and configured, use either the Create Enterprise Geodatabase (Oracle, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server only) or Enable Enterprise Geodatabase geoprocessing tool or a Python script to create a geodatabase.
Manage user access
To control access to the geodatabase, create or add user accounts to the database. You can use the Create Database User geoprocessing tool to add users and the Create Role geoprocessing tool to create database roles in Oracle, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server databases.
To simplify user administration, you will likely create groups or roles and add users to them. You can use the Create Role geoprocessing tool to create database roles in Oracle, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server databases.
Once users have been added to the database, you can grant permissions to them, individually or in groups, to allow them to perform their work in the geodatabase. These include Data Definition Language (DDL) privileges to create, alter, or drop objects in the database. Individual data owners can grant Data Manipulation Language (DML) privileges to other users or groups to allow them to select, insert, update, or delete records in their tables and feature classes. DML privileges can be granted through ArcGIS Desktop. See Grant and revoke dataset privileges for information on how to manage DML privileges through an ArcGIS Desktop client. For information on privileges needed for different types of users, see the topic specific to your database management system:
Connect to the geodatabase
Users connect to the geodatabase from ArcGIS client applications to create and work with data. To connect to most database management systems, you must install a database client on the ArcGIS client computer. Once that is installed, you or the users need to create a connection file (.sde) to access the geodatabase.
See the topic specific to your database management system for information on connecting to an enterprise geodatabase:
- Connect to Db2 from ArcGIS
- Connect to Informix from ArcGIS
- Connect to Microsoft SQL Server from ArcGIS
- Connect to Oracle from ArcGIS
- Connect to PostgreSQL from ArcGIS
Once you've created a connection file, you can rename it. Note that this only renames the .sde file, not the geodatabase or the database in which it is stored. To rename the connection file, right-click the database connection in the Catalog tree, click Rename, type a new connection name, and press Enter.
Maintain the geodatabase
As people add data to the geodatabase, the geodatabase must be maintained so the data is available to all authorized users when needed and without any depreciation in performance.
To ensure the data is not lost, the database administrator must perform regular backups and have a recovery plan in place and tested.
When new data is added or existing data updated in enterprise, workgroup, or desktop geodatabases, database statistics should be updated and indexes rebuilt to be sure the database's optimizer can efficiently query the data. The geodatabase administrator can update statistics and indexes on system tables using the Analyze Datasets and Rebuild Indexes geoprocessing tools, respectively. Data owners can use these tools to update statistics and indexes on their own data tables.
If your geodatabase uses traditional versioning, the administrator must regularly compress the geodatabase to maintain performance levels. The geodatabase administrator compresses a versioned geodatabase from ArcGIS using either the Compress command in the Catalog tree or the Compress geoprocessing tool or Python script.
Upgrade the geodatabase
When a new release of ArcGIS is available, your organization may want to move to that release to take advantage of new functionality and fixes. As an administrator, you should set up a test server on which you install the new ArcGIS software and upgrade a copy of your production geodatabase. Tests should then be run to ensure the new version works as you expected. Note that moving to a newer geodatabase version may require you to upgrade the database management system as well.
Once testing is complete, you can upgrade the production software and geodatabases. See the topic for your database management system for geodatabase upgrade instructions: