By "Personal ArcSDE" (PSDE), I mean the ArcSDE that runs on SQL Server Express is included for free with ArcGIS Desktop "Advanced" (formerly "ArcInfo"). I have countless use cases where I need SQL access to my GIS data. In the past, I’ve often used Personal (Access) Geodatabases when these needs have arisen, but that option isn’t available with ArcGIS Pro. Consequently, Personal GBD’s have one foot in the grave. At other times, I’m working more data than PGDBs/Access can handle gracefully. In these situations, I rely on Personal SDE for my workflows and analytic projects.
I understand why ESRI set up three tiers SDE databases (Personal, Workgroup, Enterprise). If a few users want to connect to the same database, and especially edit that database, then I think it’s reasonable for them pay more for that functionality by purchasing a “workgroup” license. Fair enough. But I am frequently being denied more connections to the Personal SDE server installed on my local machine when I’m multitasking and have a few ArcGIS Desktop products open. As an example, I feel that I should be able to:
- edit one PSDE feature class in one ArcMap/Pro window
- work on a lay out with PSDE data in another
- run one or more long-running geoprocessing scripts
It’s frustrating to open an MXD or Pro project and see a long list of red exclamation marks in the table of contents caused by the inability to connect to my database because ArcCatalog happened to be open at the same time. We pay a handsome sum of money for ArcGIS Desktop “Advanced” and my productivity should not be hampered by these over-reaching restrictions. Again, I think it’s totally reasonable for ESRI to limit the number of users or the number of different machines with respect to PSDE database connections. I also think it’d be fair for ESRI to deny PSDE connections from any machine running any ArcGIS Server roles (i.e., prevent people from using PSDE database to run ArcGIS server applications). That is not a “personal” use of the software. However, if I (one individual) want to connect the PSDE database on my machine, then I should be allotted a good number of more connections. This situation is amplified by having no other SQL access to my data once ArcMap is gone and the personal (Access) geodatabases are history. It's also complicated by ESRI's seeming resistance to provide an ODBC driver for the file geodatabase.