We have a number of mapservices in ArcGIS Server 10.0 that reads data from FGDBs. We are now moving that data in to ArcSDE and the plan is to use this data from AGS.

Is it better to connect to SDE using Direct Connect or going through the ArcSDE services performance wise?

2 Answers 2


To get better performance, you have two options:

  1. Do lots of math, graphs, scrying, distillations, fortune-telling, predictions, and take action, OR

  2. Measure your performance, make some changes, and compare results.

I prefer option #2.

Moving to direct connect doesn't magically improve performance, it just moves the work that the SDE service does from the machine running the service to the machine making the connection.

It can improve things greatly if your SDE machine is overworked and your client machines are not.

If everything is running idle or already maxed out then there shouldn't be any noticeable change.

Also, Direct Connect requires that the database libraries be installed on the connecting computer. Oracle Client is not that hard to deploy, but it adds another management step. SQL Server client is generally pre-installed, but it has to be installed and working (and your IT folks have to allow the connections, too)

There are too many moving parts (size of data, complexity of data, complexity of operations, number of users, speed of computers, speed of networks, expectations of users) to determine what is best for a given system.


I'm not 100% sure on this but, I've read that a direct connection will require additional licenses. About 3 years ago I would have suggested you stay away from ArcSDE because its performance was not optimal when coupled with Oracle 9i/10g. But as I understand it, ArcSDE performs several data validation processes when performing CRUD (create, read, update, delete), which would be helpful in an all ESRI environment.

I'm currently doing my own performance analysis on ArcSDE on Postgresql(PostGIS). I'll keep you posted.

  • The SDE license is bound to the SDE repository, so you don't need additional licenses on the SDE side of things. You'll always need licenses for whatever Esri software connects to your databases anyway.
    – mwalker
    Apr 6, 2011 at 15:47

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