ESRI Does SDE Admins a Solid

In the oh-finally-thank-you department, ESRI has released a patch that allows 9.2 clients (ArcGIS Desktop, ArcIMS, etc.) to direct connect to a 9.3 SDE server. Yes, the mythical upwards compatibility. You can’t see me right now, but I’m dancing about my office.*

To use the patch, you have to have 9.2 service pack 5 or higher installed (service pack 6 was recently released). It’s big download (63MB Windows, 284MB ‘nix), and what it’s essentially doing is installing the SDE 9.3 library files.

Even though this only handles upwards compatibility for a minor rev (9.2 to 9.3), this is a big deal. For a large shop, or a shop with different vendor solutions requiring different SDE versions, or a government with a collection of shops with their own ESRI licenses and upgrade schedules, the ESRI upgrade path was horrendous. You would essentially waste a good part of your life getting every client upgraded to the latest version so you could upgrade SDE. Which means SDE is held back by the lowest common denominator, some of which (i.e. vendor packages) you can’t do a whole lot about. Usually by the time you had coordinated the upgrade the next release would be imminent.

This gives agencies a great deal more flexibility in handling upgrades. Kudos to ESRI for finally fixing this problem.

*Try not to imagine me doing that. It will embarass both of us. And no, my office doesn’t have a pole in it.