What are the definitions of "workgroup geodatabase" and "desktop geodatabase"?

6042
24
Jump to solution
10-16-2017 01:18 PM
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor III

How does Esri define and differentiate "workgroup geodatabases" and "desktop geodatabases".

The table of client and geodatabase compatibility identifies "Enterprise, workgroup, or desktop geodatabase" as distinct geodatabase types.

In the same help section, enterprise geodatabases are described, but the terms "workgroup geodatabase" and "desktop geodatabase" are not defined.

Searching the help for the term "workgroup geodatabase" leads to this topic, which discusses creating desktop or workgroup geodatabases, but doesn't distinguish between them.

Further complicating this is the use of the term ArcSDE, which has not existed as a product since the 10.2.2 release.

So, what are the definitions of "desktop geodatabase" and "workgroup geodatabase"? Would it be possible for Esri to provide a cleaned up, concise definition of the various geodatabase types, using consistent terminology?

Tags (1)
1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Highlighted
MVP Esteemed Contributor
24 Replies
Highlighted
MVP Esteemed Contributor
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor III

Hi Joshua,

Yes, this helps. In fact, the next page in the help has definitions of desktop and workgroup geodatabases.

Thanks,

Jon.

Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
MVP Regular Contributor

Just in case this helps someone, this links discusses them as well: Types of geodatabases—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS Desktop 

Highlighted
Occasional Contributor III

I wrote a new blog post summarizing the geodatabase types available in ArcGIS 10.5.1: Types of Geodatabases in ArcGIS 10.5.1 

Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor II

Nice blog.  When I explain Desktop, Workgroup and Enterprise lisences, I explain them as different products that user's can purchase based on their organization's needs.  Much like ArcGIS Desktop license levels (basic, standard and advanced), folks can choose what license level of the enterprise geodatabase they need as well. 

The three types of geodatabases are personal (.mdb extension), file (.gdb extension) and enterprise (.sde extension or a .gds extension that can be saved as a .sde extension).  The enterprise geodatabase type has three different license levels that can be purchased- Desktop, Workgroup and Enterprise (so there is an enterprise geodatabase type with the enterprise license...we must have ran out of words to use).  

The biggest difference between the enterprise geodatabase license levels are the number of people who can connect and edit simultaneously, with the enterprise license level being unlimited.

We connect to each type of geodatabase differently from ArcCatalog.  We use folder connections to connect to .gdb and .mdb geodatabase.  We use the Database Server section in ArcCatalog to connect to enterprise geodatabases licensed with desktop and/or workgroup.  These connections get a .gds extension, and you can save the .gds extension as a .sde extension for distribution purposes.  We connect to enterprise geodatabases with enterprise licenses through the Database Connections section in ArcCatalog.

One note on the blog, I'd update the point about application server connections, as this is not a type of geodatabase as much as it is a method to access geodatabases.  These connection methods are only supported to a 10.2.2 or older geodatabase, I.e. you will not be able to connect to a 10.5.1 geodatabase using a three tier connection. 

  • ArcSDE geodatabase: an enterprise geodatabase to which connections are made via the ArcSDE application server.
Highlighted
Occasional Contributor III

Thanks, Tina. Good catch -- I've updated the post to indicate that you can only connect to a 10.1 or 10.2.x enterprise geodatabase using the ArcSDE application server from ArcGIS 10.5.1.

Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
MVP Regular Contributor
  • Enterprise geodatabase: a geodatabase stored in one of DB2, Informix, Oracle, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server.
  • ArcSDE geodatabase: an enterprise geodatabase (version 10.1 or 10.2.x) to which connections are made via the ArcSDE application server.

This is still incorrect. As Tina mentioned, these are not 2 separate types of geodatabases. The type of geodatabase does not change based on the type of connection we use.

ArcSDE Application Server Connections can be still be made to any geodatabase prior to 10.2.2, which will include 10.2.x, 10.1, 10.0, 9.3.x, 9.2 etc. 

Highlighted
Occasional Contributor II

Right, a more accurate description would be:

Types of Geodatabases at 10.5.1:

  1. Personal (.mdb)
  2. File (.gdb)
  3. Enterprise (.sde)
    1. Desktop License- via Direct Connect access only in SQL Express.
    2. Workgroup License- via Direct Connect access only in SQL Express.
    3. Enterprise License- via Direct Connect access only in SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, or Informix RDBMS. 

*ArcDesktop 10.5.1 can connect to 10.1-10.2.2 geodatabase via Application Server connection (3-tier).

Highlighted
Occasional Contributor III

Note: I had mostly written this response by the time you posted your next response, so this might seem a bit out of sync.

This goes back to why I wrote the blog post in the first place. When you start throwing file extensions at users, and adding in a matrix of types vs. licenses, and name both an "enterprise geodatabase" and an "enterprise license", it's no wonder that users get confused. The communication isn't clear, it's often inconsistent, and it often contradicts itself.

First, I think it's important to be able to communicate the functionality of a geodatabase without having to identify its file extension, especially when the file extension is ".sde". Like I stated in the blog post, I've started using the term ArcSDE only in reference to the ArcSDE application server, and I think it helps to create clarity. When you communicate with users using the file extension ".sde" (and I understand the historical and technical reasons for this), it equates "enterprise geodatabase" and "ArcSDE" in the user's mind. (You mentioned in your previous comment that a .gds file could be renamed to .sde -- interesting, I wasn't aware of that).

Second, on enterprise geodatabase licensing, what you've communicated here is inconsistent with the ArcGIS documentation, which identifies desktop and workgroup geodatabases as distinct from enterprise geodatabases:

From a user's perspective, these are different animals, because they're licensed differently and work differently in terms of simultaneous numbers of connections and concurrent editors (and, yes, I understand that you can take the same .mdf and .ldf files and move among the different "types" by licensing them differently). I think that the definitions that Esri provides in the above links are helpful, but are inconsistent with how Esri communicates about geodatabases elsewhere.

Finally, I think that your final sentence would be better written as "ArcGIS Desktop 10.5.1 can connect to enterprise geodatabases (versions 10.1 through 10.2.2) via the ArcSDE application server" -- again, more consistently using the terms "enterprise geodatabase" and "ArcSDE application server".

I'm not trying to be pedantic about this, but I have found that out here in the field, Esri's inconsistent communication on how users create, license, connect to, and use geodatabases causes a lot of confusion, which is what I'm trying to address in the blog post. As I indicated in my reply to Asrujit, I'll update my blog post to remove the term "ArcSDE geodatabase", and instead expand the discussion of the different methods of connecting to enterprise geodatabases.