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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 data folders, databases, and geodatabases with ArcGIS Server 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 Native Client

The SQL Server Native Client software must be installed on all ArcGIS client machines that will connect directly to the database.

On 64-bit operating systems, run the 64-bit SQL Server Native Client installation; it installs both the 32- and 64-bit clients, allowing you to connect from both the 32-bit ArcGIS for Desktop and the 64-bit ArcGIS Server applications. If you have ArcGIS for Desktop installed on a 32-bit operating system, run the 32-bit SQL Server Native Client installation. You can obtain the SQL Server Native Client installation from Microsoft or My Esri.

If your ArcGIS client is installed on the same machine as SQL Server, you do not need to install the SQL Server Native 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 If CONNECT has been revoked from the public role, you must grant it to individual database users or roles.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

The user or ArcGIS account must have at least SELECT privileges on the datasets to be published.

See Grant and revoke dataset privileges for instructions on granting privileges.

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.

See Grant and revoke dataset privileges for instructions on granting privileges.

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

To register a database with the server, you must provide connection information. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Import an existing .sde file that contains the connection information.

    You can create a Database Connection (.sde) file from the Catalog tree in ArcGIS for Desktop, using the Create Database Connection geoprocessing tool or a Python script.

  • Provide your connection information at the time of registration.

No matter which way you choose, you must provide the following information to connect to a SQL Server database:

  • The type of DBMS 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. If you want to connect to a previous release geodatabase using an ArcSDE service, create a .sde file using the Create ArcSDE Connection File geoprocessing tool or a Python script. Then you can import the connection when you register the geodatabase with ArcGIS Server.

Register with ArcGIS Server

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