Multiple Users Accessing Same SDE File

12-02-2016 01:07 PM
Occasional Contributor III

I am in charge of a SDE with my Municipality with a large amount of data over 300+ separate files. I have multiple departments that have access to this SDE with multiple users in each department. No users besides myself and one other (my associate) edit any information. Everyone else is only viewing the data (in ArcMap).

My problem is that when it comes time for myself or my colleague to make edits or perform file property changes (add domains etc.) to files, the files are being used by other users (usually more than one) which cause file locks.

I want to know how I can still make these edits/ file changes while other users are still viewing the files. 

I have proposed that when these file locks occur I ask the users to exit out of ArcMap the only issue is some users have very old PC's and the start-up time for these MXD's can be very long and asking them to boot off arcMap multiple times a day is not a reasonable request. 

It would be ideal for me to be able to make my desired edits while other users are reading the files and these files would update for the user once they exit out and reopen the file connection to the SDE. So basically while reading the file nothing changes (even though I made edits while they had the file open) until they close arcmap and re-open it. 

Any information at all regarding this topic is much appreciated!

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35 Replies
MVP Frequent Contributor

I don't know the exact solution (I'm not an SDE expert), but do want to pass on that at the City I am at we have many people viewing the information while others edit the data.  That's one of the big advantages of an enterprise geodatabase (SDE).  For example, it is very common to have dozens of people viewing our Parcel data while at the same time we have two people editing the Parcel data (in versions).  Locks occasionally are a problem, but not a major issue.  So the fact you are getting lock issues seems odd.

To help the SDE experts on GeoNet provide ideas, can you elaborate on the following:

  • Is the system structured so Default is protected?
  • Is it a Versioned environment?
  • What version of ArcGIS are you using and what enterprise geodatabase (and version)?


Chris Donohue, GISP

Occasional Contributor III

Hello Chris,

Thank you for taking the time to look over my issue. 

We are using ArcGIS 10.3.1 with a matching GeoDatabse with a SQL Server Enterprise Geodatabase. 

I am not sure if the SDE is configured to be an versioned environment it was configured before I arrived here at the City (any way I can quickly figure out?)

Not sure by what you mean is 'Default protected' as well, I've only been working with the SDE for about a month or two so I am pretty new at this. 

I know sometimes in order to make edits to certain files I do have to versionize them via ArcCatalog in the SDE but not for all files. 

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MVP Frequent Contributor

There are several factors that come into play when designing an Enterprise Geodatabase setup, with tradeoffs for each design. Here's two of them (from a non-expert's perspective).

  • One of the simplest designs is generally called Direct Editing (they call it Concurrent Editing in the link below).  In other words, Editors directly edit the Production Data (commonly called Default).   Changes are immediate to the production data.  I hear it is easy to set up SDE this way, but also easy for data to get inadvertantly modified.  Also, with this setup some processes will lock out users while there are being run.
  • Another common design is generally called Default Protected (called Multiple Projects in the link below)  In this case no one can edit the Production Data (Default) directly.  Instead, a child copy (version) is made of the Production database, which is then edited.  This is what we use.  It controls who has access to change the data and helps prevent conflicts.  Changes are made to the Version, but until it is Posted the Production database (default) is not updated.  This delay also allows for an opportunity to QC the data to double-check it before Posting to the Production Data (Default).

Version scenarios—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop 

As to how to tell which design you have, I do not know.  Hopefully some of the SDE Admin types will read this and reply.  I suspect their are Administrative tools will quickly reveal the setup you have. 

Chris Donohue, GISP

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Joseph-  you might want to start here: An overview of versioning—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop  before going much farther.

Long story short, yes, you can edit data while others are viewing it, but there are a number of strategies available to you that might be appropriate.  For example, I'm a big fan of database replication, and use it often to allow non-editing users to view data without posing any threat to the original, edited data.  See Geodatabase replication and ArcGIS for Server—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop .   You might also consider Arcgis Server published services as well. See What is ArcGIS for Server?—Documentation | ArcGIS for Server .

 Lots of options, but do yourself a favor and get a better grip on the technology first.

That should just about do it....
MVP Frequent Contributor

Go with what Joe Borgione said.  Learning about how SDE works will be of great aid.  That said, I will admit it doesn't seem to be the easiest part of GIS to try to figure out, so if parts of it seem arcane, that is a pretty normal response.  Classes in SDE are hard to come by and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of reading material around that explains it to beginners.  Luckily, we have old farts experienced SDE Administrators like Joe to help explain it. 

Chris Donohue, GISP

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Hey now...  watch it young man...

That should just about do it....
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Esri Notable Contributor

There are a few multiuser geodatabase (SDE) classes offered by Esri that may assist with the learning curve:

Deploying and Maintaining a Multiuser Geodatabase

Implementing Versioned Workflows in a Multiuser Geodatabase

Versioned Editing Workflows for the Multiuser Geodatabase

Versioning 101 Whitepaper

Hope this helps!

Robert LeClair


Esri Esteemed Contributor

Hi Joseph,

Both Chris and Joe have posted some great info and resources. I'll add a couple more that might be slightly easier to start with than the help doc,

Hope this helps,

Esri Regular Contributor

You have to understand between different types of locks. Check this: Schema locking—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop  If many people wants to edit together the version will help you. If you want to change the schema (add a field) you need to log everybody out.

Have fun