Are there performance advantages to using the Database Server over a File Geodatabase? The backup and restore ability with the Database Server is cool. Is there anything else? The idea of having a database in a database server for security is good, but is it really?
Choosing among these will depend upon what your organisation needs are.
Performance is something, which you will probably have to test for yourself. It will depend upon the type of data, amount of data and a lot many other factors. Generally speaking, if you won't be using too much data, you will probably observe File gdbs performing better than any SDE gdb.
Some of the other things to consider:
1. How much data will be loaded in the geodatabase (The Desktop gdb has a size limitation of 10GB per database, because the underlying Database is SQL Server Express)
2. How many editors will be editing simultaneously. (Only one user can edit at one given time in a Desktop gdb)
3. Are you planning to implement any functionality like Replication, Archiving, etc
I am branching this out as a separate question, as this a different question and so that others can also contribute with their opinions
Some previous discussions that you can check:
Performance Metrics ArcSDE vs File Geodatabase
We are building a geodatabase that holds master data in a dozen feature datasets. We are building a workflow for publishing to AGOL for Collector and are planning on implementing global ids to bring the data back into the master. ArcServer is not part of our available software now so my two choices are file geodatabase or database server. Neither of these will be able to be a parent in a replica or a version tree correct?
The File gdb cannot be a Parent replica gdb, but the Desktop gdb can be.
The parent always has to be an SDE gdb ( Desktop gdb, Workgroup gdb or Enterprise Gdb). The child gdb can be a File gdb in some cases, depending upon the type of replica you choose to use.
I've been looking through all of the online docs and don't seem to be able to either support or reject your statement about a Desktop gdb. Does creating a replica using the Database Server on SQL Express require the enable enterprise geodatabase with a keycodes files?
No, that is needed to create an Enterprise geodatabase.
Check this link on how to create a Desktop geodatabase: