Geodatabase administrator in SQL Server

In Microsoft SQL Server, the geodatabase administrator can be either a user named sde or a login that is mapped to the dbo user in the database that contains the geodatabase.

For more information on the two types of geodatabase administrators, see Comparison of geodatabase owners in SQL Server.

The geodatabase administrator owns and manages the following:

  • Geodatabase system tables, triggers, views, and procedures
  • The default geodatabase version

Because the geodatabase administrator owns all the geodatabase system objects, the geodatabase administrator account must exist before the geodatabase is created.

If you use a SQL Server-authenticated sde user for the geodatabase administrator, the Create Enterprise Geodatabase geoprocessing tool can create the sde user and its schema and grants it the privileges to create a geodatabase before the tool creates the geodatabase. For all the other geodatabase administrator options (dbo or an operating system login mapped to the sde user), or if you use the Enable Enterprise Geodatabase geoprocessing tool to create the geodatabase, the database administrator must create the geodatabase administrator user in SQL Server and grant it privileges to create a geodatabase before you create the geodatabase.

The geodatabase administrator's schema

In SQL Server, users do not automatically have a schema with the same name as their username. However, to use SQL Server with ArcGIS, usernames must have corresponding default schema names. This applies to the geodatabase administrator as well as nonadministrative users who create data.

In the case of dbo users, a dbo schema is present in all databases by default; any login that is dbo in the database will store data in the dbo schema. If you use a geodatabase administrator named sde, it must own a schema named sde, and that schema must be the sde user's default schema. As mentioned previously, the Create Enterprise Geodatabase tool creates the sde user's schema if you use a SQL Server-authenticated sde user. If you create the sde user outside that tool, you must also create an sde schema.

Esri recommends that the geodatabase administrator's schema be used to store the geodatabase system objects only. Create separate users with corresponding schemas to store datasets such as feature classes and tables. Following the practice of storing only system tables in the geodatabase administrator's storage space simplifies the management of the geodatabase and makes it easier for you to delete the geodatabase from the database if you ever decide to do so.