As I understand it, the SDE Geodatabase provides the technology for Multiuser databases, Versioning, replication and other Geodatabase functionality. In my organisation, this could be useful for vector datasets but we also have a large amount of basemap material including Aerial images for many different years, many topographic maps, and other historical and infrared images.

My question is this. Does it make sense to fill my MSSQL DBMS with all this imagary? I am constantly having to explain to my colleauge who runs the DBMS why we are always short on filespace. If I simply created file-geodatabases and published these without using sde wouldn´t it be less work for the DBMS?

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    What connection does your SDE have? - a gigabyte Ethernet would be advisable. There will be a bottle neck at some-point on on the network, this will cause lag.
    – Mapperz
    Jan 17 '14 at 15:03

Raster support was added at ArcSDE 8.0. At the time, only ArcIMS could read it (not Desktop), but it provided a way to tile and pyramid raster imagery for high performance dynamic web services.

In the computer eons since then, ArcGIS and what was once ArcIMS have been redesigned several times. The way imagery is managed on the web has changed as well, with caching of rasters into fixed scale bands being the definitiive method for deploying basemaps.

The modern way to manage rasters is on the filesystem, with only tiny pieces of metadata (path, footprint, and properties) in the database (be it file geodatabase or enterprise). Given this, there are many reasons to NOT use ArcSDE for raster storage:

  • Eliminate database I/O storage, overhead, and backup cost
  • Permit full map service caching, blending vectors into rasters without destroying the raster source
  • Native format imagery allows concurrent use by geodatabase-unaware appications

The Esri software stack has many ways to manage rasters through map services, including former server-side techniques of what was once Image Server being present in Desktop capabilities, ArcGIS Server capabilities, and the ArcGIS Image Extension for Server (which adds additional types of raster services and supports some exotic mensuration and analysis capabiliies).

  • So the answer is.....? no....as far as I can make out. Jan 17 '14 at 22:35
  • You are best suited to judge what "makes sense" for you. I can only point out that no one else does it this way anymore, and why.
    – Vince
    Jan 18 '14 at 0:34

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