Geodatabase management

Every type of geodatabase requires at least some amount of management to configure and maintain it. The following sections summarize the management tasks you perform based on the type of geodatabase you use.

File geodatabase management

There are a few management tasks involved in the use of a file geodatabase. Some of these tasks, such as compacting a geodatabase or re-creating a spatial grid index, help maintain performance. Others, such as compressing vector data or creating a licensed file geodatabase, are optional.

Mobile geodatabase management

Mobile geodatabases are intended for use by a single person or app at a time. As a result, there are only a few management tasks you perform on mobile geodatabases. They include creating, renaming, and moving the geodatabase.

Enterprise geodatabase management

Enterprise geodatabases are stored inside a database. Geodatabases are supported in the following relational database management systems:

  • IBM Db2
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL

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 want to use PostgreSQL on Microsoft Windows, you can download a supported version from My Esri.

After you install your ArcGIS clients and database management system software and configure them, use either the Create Enterprise Geodatabase (Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server only) or Enable Enterprise Geodatabase geoprocessing tool to create a geodatabase.

Manage access

Create or add user accounts to the database to control access to the geodatabase. To simplify account administration, create groups or roles and add users to them. Use database tools to accomplish this or, for some database platforms, you can use the geoprocessing tools listed below.

  • The Create Role geoprocessing tool creates database groups or roles in Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server.
  • The Create Database User geoprocessing tool creates users who have privileges to create data in the database. When you run this tool, you can also assign the user to a database role. You can use it with Oracle, PostgreSQL, SAP HANA, or SQL Server databases.

Next, grant permissions to user accounts, groups, or roles to allow people to perform the work they need to do in the geodatabase.

As the database administrator, you grant Data Definition Language (DDL) privileges to create, alter, or drop objects in the database. Use database tools to grant these privileges.

Individual data owners control Data Manipulation Language (DML) privileges on their datasets. They can grant 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 wizards in ArcGIS Pro or using geoprocessing tools. See Grant and revoke dataset privileges for information on how to manage DML privileges on the tables and feature classes you own in the geodatabase. For information on privileges needed based on a person's role in the organization, see the help page specific to your database management system:

Connect to the geodatabase

People 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, create a connection file (.sde) to access the geodatabase.

See the help page specific to your database management system for information on connecting to an enterprise geodatabase:

You can rename the connection file after you create it. Note that this only renames the .sde file, not the geodatabase or the database in which it is stored.

Maintain the geodatabase

As people add data to the geodatabase, the geodatabase must be maintained so that data is available to all authorized users when needed and without any degradation 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. Use database tools to create backup files and restore databases.

When large amounts of data are added to or updated in enterprise geodatabases, update database statistics and indexes 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. Database administrators can update statistics and indexes directly in the database.

If your geodatabase uses traditional versioning, the geodatabase administrator must regularly compress the geodatabase to maintain performance levels. Use the Compress geoprocessing tool or a Python script to accomplish this.

Upgrade the geodatabase

Most new functionality is implemented in ArcGIS clients. However, some functionality—such as new dataset types or performance enhancements—are implemented in the geodatabase. When a new release of ArcGIS is available, your organization may want to move to that release to take advantage of these new functionality and fixes. As an administrator, set up test servers on which you install the new ArcGIS software and upgrade a copy of your production geodatabase. Run tests 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.

When you finish testing, create a backup of your production database and upgrade the production software and geodatabases. See the help page specific to your database management system for geodatabase upgrade instructions: