I need to implement a process for creating a file geodatabase copy (a read-only snapshot, essentially) of a production SDE geodatabase without using versioning, adding global ID columns, etc. I cannot change any aspect of the SDE geodatabase.

All of the documentation I have read on geodatabase replication says that the parent replica data must be versioned. Indeed, attempting to create a simple check-out replica with either the Create Replica wizard in ArcMap or the Create Replica geoprocessing tool fails with the following error message:

Can't create empty replica. Read only data or unversioned data cannot be replicated. Data versioned with the option to move edits to base cannot be replicated. GlobalIDs are required for two way and one way replica data. Creating one way archiving replica requires archiving to be enabled on the parent.

Is there a way around this?

I need to be able to run the process once a month so a scripted or programmatic solution would be preferred (arcpy, ArcObjects., etc.). The amount of data to be synchronized is large, probably 500 datasets/tables/feature classes.

One solution that comes to mind is exporting and importing ESRI XML Workspace documents, but this seems heavy-handed and error-prone. Another would be a more fine-grained approach of listing and copying individual datasets with arcpy or ArcObjects but if there is an easier, existing solution (i.e. geodatabase replication, if it would let me), that would be preferable.

  • Certain you already have this knowledge but adding for question enhancement. Even though versioning is enabled in the replica scenario you don't HAVE to use anything other than default if you want.
    – Brad Nesom
    Jun 13, 2013 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


Replication would be the easiest, but you do have to register as versioned and you do have to use a global ID. Your only other options would be a model or python script, as you suspected. But the esri local government blog and gallery has recently mentioned an etl tool that is in beta. Look it up, it might help? http://gizinta.com/

  • That looks promising, I'll have to try it out. Thanks!
    – blah238
    Jun 13, 2013 at 3:35
  • 1
    Hi There- what is the difference between Gizinta and FME?
    – Deep
    Jun 15, 2015 at 14:59
  1. One-way would be to write a python script to list feature classes and tables of interest and then export them to a FGDB. Afterwards schedule this script to run each month (simplest and easiest approach)

  2. Another way is to use ESRI Editor Tracking. Enable editor tracking for feature class with edits. Then use the above mentioned python script to export to FGBD once. Write another script for synchronization. This scripts will look at the creation/update date of all features in production database and if they are older that the previous backup (replica) date, then will get inserted or may update the old rows.

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