I am a novice in this area of the ArcGIS platform, and more generally with RDBMSs, but wanted to gather some information directly from the user community.
Why do we need to use ArcSDE as middleware to connect ArcGIS Desktop with an RDBMS?
More specifically, why can't we simply connect directly to the spatially-enabled versions of a RDBMS such as Oracle Spatial or the SQL Server equivalent without the use of ArcSDE? And then load and edit features directly in ArcGIS Desktop?
I would imagine that these types of RDBMSs would be able to manage multiuser editing environments, provide versioining control and user group access permissions - just like SDE.
With GeoMedia Desktop Professional, for example, connections can be made directly with SQL Server Spatial
Your responses would be very much appreciated!
ArcSDE Technology is no longer standalone, so I assume you mean references to their integration in
Those links will allow you to search ArcSDE references within the appropriate help
Few main reasons of using an SDE Geodatabase:
1. You can't edit data from a Database directly in ArcMap. It can be published as a Feature Service and then be edited, but not directly.
2. You cannot use SDE functionalities like Replication, Versioning, Multi-User editing, etc on data from a database. These are sde functionalities and can be used on data from an sde gdb only.
3. Features like Feature Dataset, Relationship Class, Raster data, etc are not available for a simple Database.
Thanks for your response Asrujit.
Do these functionalities e.g. replication, versioning, multi-user edting, storing raster data, etc not exist when using data directly from a spatially enabled RDBMS (in difference to a simple database)?
Response below copied from OP's cross-posted question/thread. Copying here so as to delete original response.
Have you looked at Essential readings about the geodatabase documentation? If not, I strongly encourage you to spend some time reviewing that material. The Esri geodatabase (see What is a geodatabase?) is the native data structure for ArcGIS. The Esri geodatabase conceptual model exists independent of DBMSes, but it can be implemented in enterprise DBMSes to create an enterprise geodatabase, which has additionally functionality over file or personal geodatabases.
Although ArcGIS can connect to DBMSes and consume spatial data without having ArcSDE/SDE/geodatabase middleware, the Esri geodatabase extends that functionality. For example, numerous Esri datasets or models (Raster dataset, Mosaic dataset, Geometric network, Parcel fabric, Topology, etc....) are implemented within the Esri geodatabase. If you want to work with those types of datasets or models, the choice is made for you. Also, there are limits to editing or manipulating spatial data in DBMSes when not connecting to an enterprise geodatabase.
As simple as your question seems, it is too broad or open ended to get succinct answers. If ArcGIS is going to be your primary platform for consuming, manipulating, and managing spatial data; I can't imagine not using Esri geodatabases. If ArcGIS is simply a client for consuming spatial data for analysis, visualization, etc...; then it might work to forgo Esri geodatabases. In the end, what really drives the decision is your requirements, and no one can offer worthwhile advice without knowing more about those requirements.