I have a requirement where I need to connect to the SQL Server which I have created using ArcCatalog 10.7.

I have a requirement where I need to now use 10.5 version. But when I attempt to connect to the tables I get the error Underlying DBMS with SQL Server 2016.

Does anyone know because I updated tables with latest version of ArcMap, could this cause this issue? It is quite frustrating that I can't use different versions of ArcMap with the database.

  • You can use different versions of ArcMap with an enterprise geodatabase in SQL Server, provided you conform to the compatibility matrix. It's been the better part of a decade since the last future-compatible release (and that was only from a terminal release to the next major release, issued nearly simultaneously), so it's usually best to upgrade clients before servers.
    – Vince
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


With each major version of ArcGIS, ESRI make changes to the database schema. They make sure that newer versions of ArcMap can read older versions of the database schema. But of course its not possible for older versions of ArcMap to read databases created with a newer schema, as that schema did not exist when that version of ArcMap was published.

It is possible to upgrade an enterprise geodatabase to the newer schema, but it cannot be downgraded to an older schema.

If you need to access the database from different versions of ArcMap, then you need to create the database using the oldest version that you want to support. (And don't upgrade the database schema version until all of your users have upgraded ArcMap.)

So, you will need to either:

  • Upgrade all users to the new version of ArcMap
  • Re-create the database using the old version of ArcGIS, migrate all the data across and delete (or disable) the other database
  • Stop supporting the users who run old versions of ArcMap

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