Troubleshooting direct connections to an ArcSDE geodatabase

Most of the problems that occur with direct connections are a result of one of the following:

Required direct connect drivers not installed

The release version of the software is saved in a system table in the geodatabase. When a client connects to the geodatabase, the release number in the geodatabase is compared to the ArcSDE direct connect drivers available to the client application.

For most releases of ArcSDE, the ArcSDE geodatabase and the connecting client have to be at the same release level, often including the same service pack. When the release number in the geodatabase does not match the direct connect drivers in the client, one of the following errors is returned:

ArcSde Direct Connect driver release isn't compatible with ArcSde database instance release


SDE Server Release is not compatible with the current Release 
Newer DC driver attempting to connect to older ArcSde instance

(This tells you that the connecting client is a newer release than the geodatabase.)

Older DC driver attempting to connect to later ArcSde instance

(This indicates the connecting client is an older release than the geodatabase.)

It is possible for 10 clients to make a direct connection to a 9.3 or 9.2 ArcSDE geodatabase if the appropriate direct connect drivers are installed to the ArcGIS client. These drivers are included in the ArcGIS client installation.


Connections from a previous version client to a version 10 geodatabase are not supported.

ODBC drivers or other required client files are not present or improperly configured

Each database management system (DBMS) has different requirements when it comes to setting up ODBC connections. See the following topics for instructions in setting up these connections:

Setting up a direct connection to DB2

Setting up a direct connection to Informix

Setting up a direct connection to Oracle

Setting up a direct connection to SQL Server

Actual configuration of the ODBC connection is required for Informix databases. If these are not properly set up on the client machine, direct connections from that client will not work.

Database not configured to accept connections

Databases may require additional configuration to allow remote clients to connect. For example, to connect to a PostgreSQL database, the pg_hba.conf file must be altered to allow clients to make a connection. This configuration file resides in the PostgreSQL installation location. Consult the ArcSDE for PostgreSQL installation guide and the PostgreSQL documentation for information on altering the pg_hba.conf file to allow remote connections.

SQL Server databases need to have the network protocols set to accept connections over the network. To check the network protocols, open the Microsoft SQL Server Configuration Manager, expand SQL Server Network Configuration in the tree, then click the protocols for <your SQL Server instance>. Right-click the TCP/IP protocol and click Enable.

Connections have been blocked

There are several ways a database administrator (DBA) could prevent users from connecting to the geodatabase. This is typically done to allow the DBA to perform certain administration tasks, such as backups or compress operations, without any users connected to the database.

To prevent new users from logging in to the geodatabase, the DBA may pause the geodatabase. When a user tries to connect to a geodatabase that is paused, the following message is returned:

Failed to connect to database. 
SDE not accepting connection requests

If you receive this message when attempting to connect, contact your DBA to determine if the block was intentional and, if so, when you should expect the geodatabase will be available again.


This applies to both direct connections and connections made through an ArcSDE service.

The DBA could also block connections through functionality provided in the DBMS. For example, a SQL Server instance can be paused, preventing new connections from being made to the database. Most of the other supported DBMSs can be placed in a quiescent mode, which also prevents new connections from being made to the database.