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Enterprise geodatabases and ArcGIS Enterprise

Enterprise geodatabases are stored in and add functionality to databases. In ArcGIS Enterprise, you access the data in an enterprise geodatabase through ArcGIS Server web services.

If you have an ArcGIS Enterprise (or ArcGIS Server basic) license, you can create enterprise geodatabases in a supported database. To interact with enterprise geodatabases in desktop ArcGIS apps such as ArcGIS Pro, you need a Standard or Advanced license for the desktop product.

Reasons to use an enterprise geodatabase with ArcGIS Enterprise

The added functionality and dataset types available in an enterprise geodatabase allow you to publish more types of web layers than you can from a database. For example, you can publish routing services from network datasets, publish geodata services to use in replication workflows, and publish utility network services and trace network services from an enterprise geodatabase.

Utility and trace networks are supported in geodatabases in a subset of databases. See Create a utility network and Create a trace network in the ArcGIS Pro help for a list of supported databases.

The extra functionality available in enterprise geodatabases also provides you with more functionality in the feature services you publish. This includes the following:

  • You can enable synchronization on feature services published from data in an enterprise geodatabase, which allows you to take the feature service offline for editing or for reference.
  • Feature services that you publish from feature classes containing fields with coded value domains and range domains appear in the portal as lists and minimum and maximum values, respectively, when you view the feature service fields in a portal.
  • If the feature classes you publish contain attachments, the attachments can be accessed through the feature service.

ArcGIS Server sites and enterprise geodatabases

To ensure the web services have access to the data in the enterprise geodatabase, you must register the database connection file with the ArcGIS Server sites to which you want to publish.

To publish map services and feature services (map image layers and feature layers) that reference feature classes and tables in an enterprise geodatabase, add the feature classes and tables from the registered database to maps in ArcGIS Pro, configure the data in the map to look and behave as you require, and publish to a federated or stand-alone ArcGIS GIS Server site.

For information on publishing an image service (imagery layer) from raster datasets or mosaic datasets in an enterprise geodatabase to a federated or stand-alone ArcGIS Image Server site, see Share a web imagery layer.

If you need to share content that meets OGC standards, publish WCS, WFS, WMS, WMTS, and WPS services.

ArcGIS Enterprise portals and enterprise geodatabases

You can add an enterprise geodatabase as a data store item in the ArcGIS Enterprise portal website, which registers the geodatabase with multiple federated ArcGIS Server sites at once. The map, feature, and image services you publish from ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Server Manager to federated ArcGIS Server sites are automatically available to you in your portal as layer items.

The following list summarizes additional workflows that create portal items, powered by web services, that reference content in registered enterprise geodatabases:

Creating, populating, and maintaining enterprise geodatabases

The creation and maintenance of enterprise geodatabases are done outside ArcGIS Server. The following sections describe how users in an organization interact with enterprise geodatabases depending on their roles.

Database administrators

Because enterprise geodatabases are stored in databases, you need a database administrator to configure and maintain the database. Most tasks performed by a database administrator are done outside of ArcGIS, with the following optional exceptions:

  • Create database roles using the Create Role geoprocessing tool or ArcPy function.
  • Create database users to create data using the Create Database User geoprocessing tool or ArcPy function.

Database administrators can use the tools listed above to create database users and roles, or they can use database software.

Geodatabase administrators

Geodatabase administrators create and own all the database objects (such as system tables, views, functions, and stored procedures) that compose an enterprise geodatabase. They also perform a small number of geodatabase-specific maintenance tasks, such as rebuilding indexes on system tables, compressing the geodatabase if traditional versioning is used, and upgrading the geodatabase.

Geodatabase administrators do not require as many privileges in the database management system as database administrators. There is one geodatabase administrator per enterprise geodatabase.

The privileges and duties of geodatabase administrators vary by database management system. See the following database-specific sections in the ArcGIS Pro help for information on geodatabase administrators and the tasks they perform:

Data creators

In most organizations, there are usually a small number of people who create the feature classes and tables that other people in the organization publish, map, and analyze. The people who create the data in an enterprise geodatabase not only add datasets, they are also responsible for managing the datasets. Dataset management tasks performed by the data creator include the following:

  • Grant other users access to the data.
  • Build and maintain networks.
  • Define topological relationships and rules.
  • Create domains.
  • Define subtypes.
  • Enable editor tracking.
  • Define attribute rules.
  • Enable archiving or versioning.
  • Alter the table schema (for example, add or delete a field).

See the ArcGIS Pro help for information on creating and managing data in a geodatabase.


To make the data from an enterprise geodatabase available through web services and portal layers, publishers create and configure maps that contain the data.

To ensure the web services can access the data in the enterprise geodatabase, each publisher registers a database connection with one or more federated or stand-alone ArcGIS Server sites. In some cases, registering the enterprise geodatabase as a data store requires you to work with the ArcGIS Server administrator or your IT department to ensure that the ArcGIS Server machines are configured to communicate with the geodatabase.

Once the map is ready and the database is registered with the ArcGIS Server site, publishers can create the web services they and other users need to work with the data. If you register the geodatabase by adding a database data store item in the portal, you can bulk publish all tables and feature classes that can be accessed through the database connection.

Editors, analysts, and viewers

When you make the data available through web services, most users can edit, analyze, and view the data through the web services; they never need to interact directly with the enterprise geodatabase. These users can interact with web services in maps using out-of-the box apps or through apps configured by other portal members using app templates or ArcGIS Web AppBuilder as follows:

  • Editors can maintain data through editable feature services and portal feature layer items they add to desktop apps, field apps, custom apps, or Map Viewer.
  • Analysts can run geoprocessing tools on feature services and image services in ArcGIS Pro or Python or run feature analysis tools on feature services in Map Viewer.
  • Viewers interact with map, feature, or image services in maps created in ArcGIS Pro and Map Viewer.

For those users who need to work directly with the data in the geodatabase, such as GIS professionals who maintain the data and perform complex analysis, they connect to the geodatabase from desktop apps such as ArcGIS Pro or Python.