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Client and geodatabase compatibility

Client and geodatabase compatibility

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The geodatabases described in Types of geodatabases can be accessed by various ESRI client software. These include the following:

All these clients can use any type of geodatabase as source data except ArcIMS; ArcIMS uses file geodatabases and ArcSDE geodatabases licensed through ArcGIS Server Workgroup or ArcGIS Server Enterprise data sources.

Compatible releases

When new functionality is added to the geodatabase at a specific ArcGIS release, the geodatabase must be upgraded to take advantage of the new functionality. Upgrading the geodatabase may mean that older releases of the client application will not be able to connect to it. The following rules are used to govern how connections between different versions of ArcGIS clients and geodatabases operate:

The following table indicates which version of the client applications listed at the beginning of this topic can be used with which versions of the geodatabase.

Client release Personal geodatabase release File geodatabase release ArcSDE geodatabase using a direct connection ArcSDE geodatabase using an ArcSDE service connection
8.3 8.3 NA 8.3 8.3
9 9, 9.1 NA 9 9, 9.1
9.1 9, 9.1 NA 9.1 9, 9.1
9.2 9, 9.1, 9.2 9.2 9.2 9, 9.1, 9.2
9.2 SP5 9, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 9.2, 9.3 9.2, 9.3 9, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3
9.3 9, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 9.2, 9.3 9.3

If client has pre-9.3 geodatabase direct connect files* installed, can connect to 9, 9.1, and 9.2
9, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3

*Pre-9.3 direct connect drivers are an optional separate installation available on the client installation media.

To see a list of specific client releases and their compatibility with ArcSDE geodatabases, see the compatibility matrix on the ESRI Support Center Web site.

When you make a connection between releases—for example, if you make an ArcSDE service connection from ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 to an ArcSDE 9.1 geodatabase—the functionality available to you is limited by the lowest release number. In this example, you would not have access to functionality available in 9.2 since the geodatabase is still at the 9.1 release. Similarly, if you make a connection from a 9.2 SP5 client to a 9.3 geodatabase, you will not be able to open, edit, or create datasets containing new functionality available with ArcGIS 9.3, such as

For more information on connections made to ArcSDE geodatabases, see Compatibility between clients and geodatabases. For more information on compatible file and personal geodatabase connections, see Upgrading file and personal geodatabases.

When do you need to upgrade a geodatabase?

In many cases, upgrading the geodatabase is optional. You would want to upgrade, though, if either of the following is true:

To learn how to upgrade a file or personal geodatabase, see Upgrading file and personal geodatabases.

To learn how to upgrade an ArcSDE geodatabase in SQL Server Express, see Upgrading geodatabases on ArcSDE database servers.

For information on upgrading ArcSDE geodatabases licensed through ArcGIS Server Enterprise, see Upgrade summary for ArcSDE geodatabases. For specific upgrade instructions, consult the ArcSDE installation guide specific to the database management system implementation you are using.

Why wouldn't you upgrade a geodatabase?

There may be situations in which you are unable to upgrade your geodatabase. If your organization has clients who must or will remain at previous releases of ArcGIS, you will have to wait until the clients can be upgraded to a compatible release before you upgrade the geodatabase.

For example, before updating your geodatabase to 9.3, you want to ensure that all clients using previous versions of ArcGIS, such as 9.2 or 9.1, can be upgraded to ArcGIS 9.3 or 9.2 SP5 so they can connect to the geodatabase. If all clients cannot be upgraded, you need to decide whether it is the appropriate time to upgrade your geodatabase.

In the case of ArcSDE geodatabases, the release levels must be the same if you have the ArcSDE component installed on the same server as ArcIMS or the ArcGIS Server server object manager (SOM) or server object container (SOC) components. You will not be able to upgrade your ArcSDE geodatabase until you can also upgrade those other products or until you move those products to another server.