Since I still see many people here on the forums struggle with the multitude of options and names of ESRI software applications involved with geodatabases and storage of spatial data in enterprise databases, I decided to create a PDF document and diagram to explain the most important parts of ESRI's "Geodatabase Framework".
I hope this clears up some of the confusion around distinctions between things like "ArcSDE Application Server (3-tier)" and "Direct Connect (2-tier)" connections, and what the relationships and functions of "ArcGIS for Desktop", "ArcGIS for Server", "Spatial Data Server", etc. to all of this are.
I realize representing such things in a diagram has its limitations and some parts may be arguable as to the way represented, but I still hope many people will get a better understanding of how all components of ESRI's "Geodatabase Framework" fit together by viewing it.
As it is based on my own knowledge and understanding, I can not guarantee correctness, if anyone has comments or spots an obvious error, feel free to contact me, or post in this thread, and I will attempt to correct and update the document when I have time.
Any general comments (good or bad) are welcome too here in the thread. I wrote this entirely in my free time (and it took a lot), so be kind... 😉 Let me know if you found it useful.
Due to file size limitations here on the forum, I have included a higher resolution version of the main "ESRI Geodatabase Framework" diagram in a separate document (the one with HQ diagram in the name). The main diagram is also included in the first document, but for printing on a bigger size than A4, or to get a higher quality print-out of the main diagram, you may wish to download the separate HQ document and print that as well.
Have a good read!
Karl, can you tell me if the "FDO Provider for ArcGIS", or "FDO Provider for ArcSDE", whichever it is called from within the software, is still part of the latest AutoCAD releases (2013, 2014), and if it supports ArcGIS 10.x geodatabases?