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Register a SQL Server database with ArcGIS Server

As an ArcGIS Server administrator or a publisher in your organization, you have the option to register your on-premises data stores and cloud stores. In doing so, you are registering data folders, databases, and geodatabases with the ArcGIS Server site so that services you publish can reference the data in those folders, databases, and geodatabases. Data registration provides ArcGIS Server a list of locations to access. Data registration also helps ArcGIS Server adjust data paths when publishing across machines.

The following sections describe how to prepare your ArcGIS client to connect to a SQL Server database (whether the database contains a geodatabase or not), and register the database with ArcGIS Server.

Install the SQL Server client

Install SQL Server client software on all ArcGIS client machines that will connect to a SQL Server database. You can obtain the SQL Server client installation from Microsoft or My Esri.

If your ArcGIS client is installed on a machine with a 64-bit operating system, run the 64-bit SQL Server client installation; it installs both the 32- and 64-bit clients, allowing you to connect from both the 32-bit ArcMap and 64-bit ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Pro software. If you have ArcMap installed on a 32-bit operating system, run the 32-bit SQL Server client installation.

If your ArcGIS client is installed on the same machine as SQL Server, you do not need to install the SQL Server client because the files that are needed to connect are installed with the database management system.

See Connect to SQL Server from ArcGIS for more information.

Grant privileges

The user with which you connect to the database must be granted privileges to access the data to be published. The privileges and the circumstances under which you need to grant them are as follows:


By default, the ability to connect to the database is granted to the public database role. If CONNECT has been revoked from the public role, you must grant it to individual database users or roles.

SELECT privileges on the datasets to be published

You must grant the database user (if using database authentication) or ArcGIS Server account (if using operating system authentication) at least SELECT privileges on the datasets to be published.

INSERT, UPDATE, and/or DELETE privileges on the datasets to be published

To edit data through a feature service, privileges sufficient to edit must be granted on the datasets in the database.

If you will be registering the geodatabase as a managed database, the user with which you connect must have privileges sufficient to create data in the geodatabase and must have a default schema that matches the database user name. See Privileges for geodatabases in SQL Server for more information.

Connect to SQL Server

You'll need the following information to register a SQL Server database with an ArcGIS Server site:

  • The type of database management system to which you are connecting (in this case, SQL Server)
  • The name of the SQL Server instance
  • The type of authentication to be used: database or operating system

    If database authentication is used, you must provide a valid database user name and password. You must save this information with the connection file.

    If operating system authentication is used, use a domain account for the ArcGIS Server account, add it as a login to the SQL Server instance, and map it to a user you create in the database. ArcGIS Server will use this account to connect to the database.

  • The name of the database to which you want to connect

Beginning with ArcGIS 10.3 geodatabases, you cannot use an ArcSDE service to connect to enterprise geodatabases. To connect to a 10.2.2 or earlier release enterprise geodatabase using an ArcSDE service, create an .sde file using the Create ArcSDE Connection File geoprocessing tool or a Python script, and import this connection when you register the geodatabase with ArcGIS Server.

Register with ArcGIS Server

You can register the database from ArcGIS Server Manager or the Catalog tree in ArcMap. See the following topics for an explanation of registration options and how to register the database: