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Databases and ArcGIS Enterprise

ArcGIS allows you to access data in your database through web services. How you interact with the database depends on your role in your organization:

Database administrators

Database administrators ensure users can access the database from ArcGIS. If you are the database administrator, you configure and maintain the database. To allow ArcGIS users to access the data in the database, you need to do the following:


Publishers make data available through web services. To make the data in your business's database available to others through a map service, author a map in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap that contains your database data and publish. To allow others to edit your data, you can publish a feature service that references the data in your database.

  1. As a publisher, you need to register a database connection with the ArcGIS Server site.
  2. Create a map in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap that includes the database data you want to publish. To provide read-only access to the data, publish a map service. To allow people to edit the data through a service, publish a feature service.

    For recommendations on authoring a map to publish a map service, see Map authoring considerations. For recommendations on authoring a map to publish a feature service, see Author maps to publish feature services.

  3. Configure your client to publish to the correct ArcGIS Server site.
    • When publishing from ArcGIS Pro to a federated ArcGIS Server site, sign in to the ArcGIS Enterprise portal with which your ArcGIS Server site is federated, and set the portal as the active portal.
    • When publishing from ArcGIS Pro to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site, add the site as a GIS server. Connect with an account that has publishing privileges.
    • When publishing from ArcMap to an ArcGIS Server site, add a publisher connection to your ArcGIS Server site.
  4. Publish the data from the map. If you publish a feature service, be sure to choose what editing operations you want to allow through your feature service.

    See the help page for the type of service and the client you're using.

If the ArcGIS Server site is federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, map services are added to the portal as a map image layer and feature services are added to the portal as a feature layer.

You can sign in to your portal and update the details associated with these items. You can also share the layer if you did not do so when you published.

If your ArcGIS GIS Server sites are federated with an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, you can add your database connection to the portal as a data store item. This allows you to register your database connection with multiple federated GIS Server sites at once and allows you to publish all the feature classes and tables to which you have access using default extents and symbology.

You cannot publish image services from a database, but if the database contains a geodatabase, you can publish imagery data. How you create an image service from imagery data in a geodatabase depends on what type of dataset you use to store the data, whether you are publishing to an ArcGIS GIS Server or ArcGIS Image Server, and what client you use to publish. When you publish an image service to a federated server, it creates an imagery layer item in the portal.

At this time, you cannot publish imagery from a database data store item in the portal.

Editors and viewers

Editors maintain data through feature services and viewers consume web services in maps and apps. The easiest way for you to access the services that publishers make available to you is through the ArcGIS Enterprise portal. If the data was published to a federated server, a layer item already exists in the portal for the service. If the data was published to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site, you can add the service as an item to your portal. From there, you can create maps to view the data. You can then use the maps in apps that provide the tools you and others in your organization need to interact with the data.

If the feature layer owner enabled editing and you have privileges to edit, you can edit the feature layer data in the portal Map Viewer, ArcGIS apps, configurable apps that portal members create with ArcGIS Configurable Apps templates or ArcGIS Web AppBuilder, and custom apps developers create for you.