Better data source management

05-13-2014 12:12 PM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor II
Please change the way MXD's handle data connections.   We recently upgraded our Oracle database to version 11,  changing the database name as well as decommissioning the Oracle server.   Changing the database name didn't affect the mxd performance too badly,  probably took 3 times as long to open but the mxd still opened and our users were able to fix their broken connections.   The problem occurred when we decommisioned the server.   The MXD then took hours to open in both Arcmap as well as Catalog.  I believe the mxd was searching our entire network for the server.   The only solution we had to fix these was to borrow an ArcGIS license (we have concurrent licenses),  disconnect from the network, open the MXD,  connect to the network and fix the connection.   This is painful for the 100's of mxd's we have that are pointing to the old database connection.

Please consider a better solution for fixing MXD's data connections when the server and database no longer exist on the corporate network.
Maybe in the admin utility they could add a customizable property for layer source search time-out.  If it takes longer than that set time, it would automatically open the MXD and show it as a broken source (red exclamation mark and all) and you could then repair data source and such as usual.  This way, if you just have a slow network, you cna accomidate that, but if you just changed a server name, you can shorten it for while to speed up MXD opening of as-of-yet non-updated MXD's... not sure if that would work, but that's one thought on how ESRI could fix, or at least creat a work-around for this problem.
I also agree that having better data source managment is necessary.  I recently migrated to a new GIS server which caused all my map documents break.  We kept the new server the same name after the migration, but we had to rename the SQL instance to another name.  This caused all of our ArcSDE geodatabase layers to be broken in all my map documents.

I would like to see a dialog box appear that would display after having opened a map document that identifies broken layers.  This dialog box could allow the user to fix right away sources that are broken.  The dialog box could list only those layers broken and have a way to browser for the new source.  Once one layer is fixed, others pointing to the same old source would be fixed automatically, like with the Repair Data Source option.

It makes sense there has to be a better way to handle broken data connections.  I completely agree that a timeout option should be included.  In fact, it's surprising it isn't there by default.  We've had the same thing happen as evansa -- when the old server was taken down, mxd's with older data connections took hours to open.  In a small operation one could more easily script data connection updates in anticipation, but with mxds spread throughout an agency, it's not really feasible.