If connected to an SDE enabled Postgres database via ArcGIS (10.1) for a long period of time, maybe an hour +, I will often receive an error from ArcGIS stating "Failure to access the DBMS Server[my schema name.sde.GDB_items]. I can't pin down any specific event causing the error, and my fix is to simply restart ArcGIS. Disconnecting and re-connecting the database connection without an ArcGIS restart results in the same error message.

Its a minor inconvenience, but one that would save myself and others daily grief if corrected. Any ideas?

  • Possible duplicate of gis.stackexchange.com/questions/70185/…
    – Vince
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 21:19
  • That issue seems similar, but not the same. Double clicking or refreshing the connection won't solve the issue. Instead I need to fully close ArcMap and then re-open it. I don't think its a firewall or similar external issue, since the connections always remain active in QGIS or PGAdmin.
    – tshiffle
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 13:50
  • I have the same problem and the linked duplicate does not address this issue. did you ever find a way to resolve it?
    – user37124
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


Check the sde.dbtune and make sure TCPKEEPALIVE is set to FALSE. If it is set to true, a slight network problem can kick off the connection in 10 minutes.


The article is for 9.2, however the TCPKEEPALIVE parameter is still present in 10.2.2 dbtune

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