Upgrade an enterprise geodatabase in SQL Server

Available with Standard or Advanced license.

The goal of upgrading an enterprise geodatabase is to update the geodatabase system tables, stored procedures, types, and functions to take advantage of new functionality and bug fixes. You may also need to upgrade the database if the version you use is no longer supported for the ArcGIS clients you use.

Install a new version of ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Server or apply a service pack, patch, or hot fix to an existing installation and upgrade the geodatabase.


Even if you do not upgrade the geodatabase, the database version you use may no longer be supported with the current release of ArcGIS software. Always check the system requirements to ensure you're still using a supported database release. If the database version is no longer supported, you may need to upgrade the geodatabase. The longer you go between upgrades, the more involved the upgrade process becomes.

When you upgrade the geodatabase using ArcGIS Pro 3.3, the upgraded geodatabase version is 11.3.0.

Complete the required steps prior to upgrading, and upgrade the geodatabase using the Upgrade Geodatabase geoprocessing tool or a Python script.

Before you upgrade

Plan ahead before you upgrade any enterprise system, including a geodatabase. Test the new version on a development or test server to ensure that it works with all your client applications.

When you determine that the new system works the way you expect, schedule the upgrade; be sure the necessary staff are available to perform the upgrade and that they have the permissions necessary to complete their assigned tasks.

Be aware of the following:

  • ArcGIS Pro 2.2 and earlier clients and ArcGIS 10.6.1 and earlier clients cannot connect to 11.x geodatabases in Microsoft SQL Server. If anyone in your organization still accesses the geodatabase using these client versions, do not upgrade the geodatabase.
  • When you upgrade a 10.9.x or earlier geodatabase in SQL Server, the fully qualified names of tables and feature classes will no longer contain the database name. For example, a feature class named productdata.dataowner.inventory in a 10.8.x geodatabase will be named dataowner.inventory after you upgrade the geodatabase.
  • Upgrades from beta or prerelease versions of the software are not supported.
  • You can upgrade directly from a 10.6.x, 10.7.x, 10.8.x, 10.9.x, or 11.x geodatabase if your database release is supported for the ArcGIS version to which you upgrade.

    If SQL Server is not at a release supported for the geodatabase version you upgrade from and the geodatabase version you upgrade to, you may have to upgrade the database and geodatabase multiple times before you can upgrade the geodatabase to the latest version. The longer you go between geodatabase upgrades, the more upgrades you will have to do to get to the latest geodatabase release.

    For each intermediate geodatabase upgrade, follow the upgrade instructions for that geodatabase version, and test the geodatabase as you move from version to version. Similarly, follow the upgrade instructions from the database vendor for each database version, and test as you move from version to version.

  • There is no formal mechanism to downgrade a geodatabase to a previous version. If, after upgrading to a newer version, you want to downgrade the geodatabase, you can restore the database from a backup file that contains the older geodatabase version.
  • When you upgrade the geodatabase to the current ArcGIS release, the Upgrade Geodatabase tool sets the ALLOW_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION and READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT SQL Server database options to ON. This is required for geodatabases in SQL Server.
  • ST_Raster storage is no longer supported. You must convert existing ST_Raster data to a different format before you upgrade.

The following is a checklist of steps to complete before you upgrade the geodatabase:

  1. Read ArcGIS requirements for Microsoft SQL Server to confirm that Esri supports the SQL Server, ODBC driver, and ArcGIS version combination you want to use.
  2. Determine whether the geodatabase can be upgraded.

    To do this, install the ArcGIS client version you want to move to onto a machine. If you install ArcGIS Pro, you can connect to the geodatabase and open the Database Properties dialog box to see whether a geodatabase upgrade is possible. If you install the ArcGIS Server (enterprise edition) component, you can use the ArcPy Describe function to determine whether the geodatabase can be upgraded.

    # Open Python.
    cd /arcgis/server/tools
    # Create a connection to the geodatabase.
    # Import ArcPy and check the geodatabase release.
    import arcpy
    isCurrent = arcpy.Describe('/tmp/egdb_connection.sde').currentRelease
    print isCurrent

    If False is returned, you can upgrade the geodatabase. If True is returned, you do not need to upgrade the geodatabase. Do not proceed with the subsequent steps.

  3. Create a backup of the database.
  4. Remove any custom functionality you may have added to the geodatabase system tables outside ArcGIS, such as triggers, participation in SQL Server replication, or additional indexes.

    The upgrade procedure cannot accommodate customizations you make to the system tables. If such customizations prevent the alteration of a system table, the upgrade will fail.

  5. Ensure the login you use to upgrade the geodatabase has the appropriate privileges.

    See Privileges for geodatabases in SQL Server for the required privileges.


    Do not add the sde user to the sysadmin role.

  6. Ensure there are no connections to the geodatabase you are upgrading.

    To see a list of who is currently connected to the geodatabase, open the Geodatabase Administration dialog box in ArcGIS Pro.

You can now upgrade the geodatabase.

Upgrade the geodatabase

You can use the Upgrade Geodatabase tool in ArcGIS Pro or a Python script run on an ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Server machine to upgrade your geodatabase.


If the geodatabase contains branch versioned data, additional postupgrade steps may be required. See How Upgrade Geodatabase works for instructions.

Use the Upgrade Geodatabase tool

Open the Upgrade Geodatabase geoprocessing tool from one of the following:

  • The Geodatabase Administration toolset in the Data Management toolbox
  • The Run Upgrade button on the General tab of the Database Properties dialog box in ArcGIS Pro

If you open the tool from Database Properties, the Input geodatabase text box is prepopulated with the geodatabase connection information.

Esri recommends that you leave the Pre-requisites check and Upgrade geodatabase options checked. That way, the tool confirms that the prerequisites to upgrade have been met before continuing with the geodatabase upgrade.

The prerequisite check detects other active connections to the geodatabase, determines whether the connecting user has sufficient privileges to upgrade the geodatabase, ensures that the database can support XML columns, ensures that all datasets can be opened, and confirms that the database and libraries are at the same release. If any prerequisites are not met, the tool terminates. You must correct any problems before you run the upgrade procedure again.

The results of this check are reported on the geoprocessing tool dialog box. If the check fails, results are also written to the GDBUpgrade.log file in the c:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\ESRI\<ArcGIS product> folder.

If all checks pass, the tool proceeds with the upgrade. The status for the prerequisites check and the upgrade are shown on the geoprocessing tool progress dialog box. If the upgrade fails, information is written to the GDBUpgrade.log file. Additional information is written to the sde_setup.log file in your user TEMP directory. If your user does not have a temp directory configured, the system TEMP directory is used.

Run a script

To upgrade the geodatabase using a Python script, copy one of these example scripts into a text editor. Alter any variable values to match the information at your site.

  • If you have an existing database connection file that connects as the geodatabase administrator, copy this script, paste it into a text editor, alter it to use information specific to your site, save and close the file, and run it:
    # Name: upgradesdegdb_example.py
    # Description: Connect from a Windows computer 
    # with an existing database connection file 
    # and upgrade an enterprise geodatabase
    # Import arcpy module
    import arcpy
    # Local variables:
    Output_Workspace = "C:\\ArcGIS\connection_files\<Connection file>"
    Default_gdb = "C:\\ArcGIS\connection_files\<Connection file>"
    # Process: Upgrade Geodatabase
    arcpy.UpgradeGDB_management(Default_gdb, "PREREQUISITE_CHECK", "UPGRADE")
  • If you do not have a database connection file on the computer from which you are scripting the upgrade, you can copy the following script and provide your site-specific information at the command line:
    Name: upgrade_gdb.py
    Description: Provide connection information to an Enterprise geodatabase 
    and upgrade the geodatabase
    Type upgrade_gdb.py -h or upgrade_gdb.py --help for usage
    # Import system modules
    import arcpy
    import os
    import optparse
    import sys
    # Define usage and version
    parser = optparse.OptionParser(usage = "usage: %prog [Options]", version="%prog 2.0; valid for 10.1 only")
    #Define help and options
    parser.add_option ("--DBMS", dest="Database_type", type="choice", choices=['SQLSERVER', 'ORACLE', 'POSTGRESQL', 'DB2','INFORMIX','DB2ZOS',''], default="", help="Type of enterprise DBMS:  SQLSERVER, ORACLE, or POSTGRESQL.")
    parser.add_option ("-i", dest="Instance", type="string", default="", help="DBMS instance name")
    parser.add_option ("--auth", dest="account_authentication", type ="choice", choices=['DATABASE_AUTH', 'OPERATING_SYSTEM_AUTH'], default='DATABASE_AUTH', help="Authentication type options (case-sensitive):  DATABASE_AUTH, OPERATING_SYSTEM_AUTH.  Default=DATABASE_AUTH")
    parser.add_option ("-u", dest="User", type="string", default="", help="Geodatabase administrator user name")
    parser.add_option ("-p", dest="Password", type="string", default="", help="Geodatabase administrator password")
    parser.add_option ("--upgrade", dest="Upgrade", type="choice", choices=['TRUE', 'FALSE'], default="FALSE", help="Upgrade Options (case-sensitive):  TRUE=Perform Pre-requisite check and upgrade geodatabase, FALSE=Perform Pre-requisite check only.  Default=FALSE")                   
    parser.add_option ("-D", dest="Database", type="string", default="none", help="Database name:  Not required for Oracle")
    # Check if value entered for option
    	(options, args) = parser.parse_args()
    #Check if no system arguments (options) entered
    	if len(sys.argv) == 1:
    		print("%s: error: %s\n" % (sys.argv[0], "No command options given"))
    	#Usage parameters for spatial database connection to upgrade
    	account_authentication = options.account_authentication.upper()
    	username = options.User.lower() 
    	password = options.Password	
    	do_upgrade = options.Upgrade
    	database = options.Database.lower()
    	database_type = options.Database_type.upper()
    	instance = options.Instance
    	if (database_type == ""):
    		print("\nDatabase type must be specified!\n")
    	if (database_type == "SQLSERVER"):
    		database_type = "SQL_SERVER"
    	# Get the current product license
    	# Checks required license level to upgrade
    	if product_license.upper() == "ARCVIEW" or product_license.upper() == 'ENGINE':
    		print("\n" + product_license + " license found!" + "  Enterprise geodatabase upgrade requires an ArcGIS Desktop Standard or Advanced, ArcGIS Engine with the Geodatabase Update extension, or ArcGIS Server license.")
    		sys.exit("Re-authorize ArcGIS before upgrading.")
    		print("\n" + product_license + " license available!  Continuing to upgrade...")
    	# Local variables
    	instance_temp = instance.replace("\\","_")
    	instance_temp = instance_temp.replace("/","_")
    	instance_temp = instance_temp.replace(":","_")
    	Conn_File_NameT = instance_temp + "_" + database + "_" + username     
    	if os.environ.get("TEMP") == None:
    		temp = "c:\\temp"	
    		temp = os.environ.get("TEMP")
    	if os.environ.get("TMP") == None:
    		temp = "/usr/tmp"		
    		temp = os.environ.get("TMP")  
    	Connection_File_Name = Conn_File_NameT + ".sde"
    	Connection_File_Name_full_path = temp + os.sep + Conn_File_NameT + ".sde"
    	# Check for the .sde file and delete it if present
    	if os.path.exists(Connection_File_Name_full_path):
    	print("\nCreating Database Connection File...\n")
    	# Process: Create Database Connection File...
    	# Usage:  out_file_location, out_file_name, DBMS_TYPE, instnace, database, account_authentication, username, password, save_username_password(must be true)
    	arcpy.CreateDatabaseConnection_management(out_folder_path=temp, out_name=Connection_File_Name, database_platform=database_type, instance=instance, database=database, account_authentication=account_authentication, username=username, password=password, save_user_pass="TRUE")
            for i in range(arcpy.GetMessageCount()):
    		if "000565" in arcpy.GetMessage(i):   #Check if database connection was successful
    	# Check whether geodatabase needs upgrade
    	isCurrent = arcpy.Describe(Connection_File_Name_full_path).currentRelease
    	if isCurrent == True:
    		print("The geodatabase is already at the current release and cannot be upgraded!")
    		sys.exit("Upgrade did not run.")
    	# Process: Upgrade geodatabase...
    		if do_upgrade.lower() == "true":
    			print("Upgrading Geodatabase...\n")
    			arcpy.UpgradeGDB_management(input_workspace=Connection_File_Name_full_path, input_prerequisite_check="PREREQUISITE_CHECK", input_upgradegdb_check="UPGRADE")
    			for i in range(arcpy.GetMessageCount()):
    			print("Running Pre-Requisite Check...\n")
    			arcpy.UpgradeGDB_management(input_workspace=Connection_File_Name_full_path, input_prerequisite_check="PREREQUISITE_CHECK", input_upgradegdb_check="NO_UPGRADE")
    			for i in range(arcpy.GetMessageCount()):
    		for i in range(arcpy.GetMessageCount()):
    	if os.path.exists(Connection_File_Name_full_path):
    #Check if no value entered for option	
    except SystemExit as e:
    	if e.code == 2:
    		parser.usage = ""
    For example, if you saved the text file as gdbupgrade, the SQL Server instance is prod9, the database is myssgdb, and you are connecting with operating system authentication, type the following at a command prompt:

    gdbupgrade --DBMS SQL_SERVER -i prod9 --auth OPERATING_SYSTEM_AUTH --upgrade TRUE -D myssgdb