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Client and geodatabase compatibility

You can access geodatabases using various ArcGIS client software. These include the following:

  • ArcGIS Pro (supports connecting to file and enterprise geodatabases)
  • ArcMap (including ArcCatalog, ArcGlobe, and ArcScene)
  • ArcGIS Server services (support connecting to file, workgroup, and enterprise geodatabases)

Compatible releases

You do not have to keep your geodatabase and ArcGIS clients at the same release, but it is recommended that you do so. Geodatabases and client software are designed to work together, and if you let one get too many releases away from the other, you risk encountering problems or unexpected behavior.

This is especially true when you use a mix of client versions at your site. A newer client can create newer dataset types in the geodatabase that older clients cannot access. For enterprise geodatabases, waiting too long between geodatabase upgrades may mean you have to upgrade the underlying database more than once before you can upgrade the geodatabase.

The geodatabase version for an enterprise geodatabase is stored in a system table. It indicates what client version you used to create or upgrade the geodatabase. For example, if you create an enterprise geodatabase from ArcMap 10.6.1, the geodatabase version is 10.6.1. If you subsequently upgrade the same geodatabase using ArcGIS Pro 2.6, the geodatabase version is Be aware that this geodatabase version is primarily used by Esri Support to troubleshoot issues; it does not entirely reflect the functionality available to you, as a lot of geodatabase functionality is implemented in the clients that access the geodatabase and not in the geodatabase itself.

The following rules apply for compatibility:

  • Use supported versions of ArcGIS for your clients and geodatabase.
  • ArcGIS clients also include the API for that client. Therefore, the same mixed release rules apply when accessing the geodatabase using API.
  • When you use clients that connect to an ArcGIS Server service, such as ArcGIS Collector or ArcGIS Survey123, ArcGIS Server is actually the client to the geodatabase. For these cases, make sure your ArcGIS Server and geodatabase versions are compatible.
  • Older ArcGIS clients can open, query, edit, and save data in newer release geodatabases, but they cannot open datasets that participate in newer functionality. You will encounter the following error messages when you try to access a newer type of dataset from an older ArcGIS client:

    The version of the Geodatabase client is incompatible with the dataset and cannot open it.

    Failed to add data, unsupported data type.

  • To connect from a newer ArcGIS client to an older release enterprise geodatabase, apply the latest patch to the geodatabase for its release if one exists.
  • You must store your enterprise geodatabase in a database release that is supported for both the geodatabase and ArcGIS release you use. The database client you install on the ArcGIS client machine must also be supported for your ArcGIS release. See the following pages for more information on supported database and database client releases. Use the Other versions drop-down list to see information for older software releases.
  • If you use geodatabase replication, the child replica geodatabase must be the same geodatabase release as or a later release than the parent replica geodatabase. See Replication and geodatabase releases for more information.
  • You cannot use ArcMap to access datasets that participate in functionality that is specific to ArcGIS Pro. For example, you cannot access branch-versioned datasets, utility networks, or datasets with attribute rules from ArcMap.
  • If you upgrade your geodatabase to 10.8 or later and upgrade a dimension feature class using the Upgrade Dataset geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS Pro, you can no longer open it from ArcMap 10.7 and later.

When do you need to upgrade a geodatabase?

It's best to keep your geodatabase and client versions as close as possible. Sometimes, you have to upgrade the geodatabase. You must upgrade your geodatabase if either of the following is true:

  • The client release you are using cannot connect to the geodatabase release you want to use. For enterprise geodatabases, the client release you're using may not be able to connect to the database management system version you're using, and you need to upgrade both the database and the geodatabase to connect from a newer client.
  • You want to take advantage of functionality that is available only if you use a newer release of the geodatabase. Check each version of What's new in ArcGIS Pro for information on new functionality and dataset types in the geodatabase.

For more information on geodatabase upgrades, see the upgrade topics appropriate to the type of geodatabase you are using:

File geodatabases

Upgrade a file or personal geodatabase

Workgroup geodatabases

Upgrade a workgroup geodatabase

Geodatabases in Db2 on Linux or Microsoft Windows

Upgrade a geodatabase in Db2

Geodatabases in Db2 on the z operating system

Upgrade a geodatabase in Db2 on z/OS

Geodatabases in Informix

Upgrade a geodatabase in Informix

Geodatabases in Oracle

Upgrade a geodatabase in Oracle

Geodatabases in PostgreSQL

Upgrade a geodatabase in PostgreSQL

Geodatabases in SAP HANA

Upgrade a geodatabase in SAP HANA

Enterprise geodatabases in SQL Server

Upgrade a geodatabase in SQL Server

Geodatabase versions

Sometimes, documentation states that you need a specific version of the geodatabase to take advantage of a particular piece of functionality. Often, that version is listed as the 10.x version of the geodatabase. As stated previously, when you create or upgrade an enterprise geodatabase in ArcGIS Pro, the geodatabase version number is a combination of the 10.x and ArcGIS Pro release number. The following table is provided to help you determine the geodatabase version you will create or upgrade to using ArcGIS Pro:

ArcGIS Pro releaseEquivalent 10.x releaseGeodatabase version