This is for those extra technical folks out there. What does "enable geodatabase" do to the structure and capabilities of a Microsoft 2012 SQL database. Since I'm a GIS guy and not a SQL guy, I need the technical capabilities and enhanced functions enumerated for my SQL DBAs. Could someone provide some technical input?

  • Please edit your question to specify the RDBMS product in use ("SQL" is a language used by all SQL database products; "SQL Server 2012" is a Microsoft product).
    – Vince
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


Are you talking about the Enable Enterprise Geodatabase tool in ArcToolbox?

Please see System tables of a geodatabase in SQL Server which lists all tables created when enabling your Enterprise Geodatabase and explains what they're for. Near the top of that page is a link to this PDF diagram of how all the system tables relate. *Other RDBMS Below

The Enable Enterprise Geodatabase tool applies a license to use ArcSDE capabilities and adds all the SDE tables required to use your SQL database as an enterprise geodatabase.

For example in one of my enterprise geodatabases I have tables called


(and many many more) which the GDB engine (SDE) uses to store other relevant information about your data that is not directly related to your features. Things like geometry type, relationships, archiving and replication info.

Also stores lock information, version details, metadata.

When you run the tool, these tables are created so they are ready to use once your ArcMap or ArcCatalog connects to the new geodatabase.

You will need an enterprise GDB license from Esri to use this tool.

For other types of RDBMS see:


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