Questions You Have About Replication (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

Heard about replication but not sure what to do next? Check-in/check-out, one-way, or two way replica? Get answers to your questions so you can start using replicas in your everyday work.

Geodatabase replication (image credit: Esri UK)
Geodatabase replication (image credit: Esri UK)

What is Replication?

One method that ArcGIS uses for data distribution is geodatabase replication. Using geodatabase replication allows you to distribute your data across two or more geodatabases. This is done by replicating all or part of your data in your database. It works by creating a replica pair, one replica resides in your database and the other resides in a different database. You can synchronize changes made in one database to it’s pair so that the data matches on both ends. 

Why should you use replication?

Replication makes collaboration easy without requiring a direct connection to the database. Share and edit data with your colleagues without needing to be in the same place to do so.

Requirements to Replicate

ArcGIS Desktop Standard or Advanced License
Database user requires write access to the data
All data must be versioned (without move edits to base enabled)
Datasets require a Global_ID to reinforce uniqueness
All spatial data must be stored in a high-precision spatial reference

Types of Replication

Check-in/Check-out replicas allow you to create a single-use replica that is easy to reconcile when the edits are done. When creating these replicas, the destination can be an Enterprise, file, or personal geodatabase.

One-way replicas allow you to send data in one direction multiple times. This can be from parent to child or child to parent. When using a parent-to-child replica, the destination can be an Enterprise, file, or personal geodatabase. If you are using a child-to-parent replica, both must be in an Enterprise geodatabase.

Two-way replicas allow you to send data multiple times in both directions between databases. If a conflict arises from edits on both ends, reconcile policies define how to address it. This type of replica only works with Enterprise geodatabases. (see image above)

How to Choose a Replication Type

Do you need to use personal or file geodatabases? Then check-in/check-out replicas or one-way replicas are for you.

Want to publish from your production server to your publication server? Consider using one-way replicas to make the move easy.

Using Enterprise Geodatabases? If not, we recommend that you look at including them in your day-today work. They give you the option to choose between all types of replicas, including two-way.

Tips to Keep in Mind

At this time ArcGIS Pro does not support replication.

Test different options to see what will work best for you before implementing a system. Also, don’t be afraid to change things up. If you start using one-way replicas but realize you need two-way, change it. 

Want to leverage the advantages of replication but don’t have the infrastructure to do so? Our GEOPowered Cloud and Managed Services are for you. We know how to knock this work out and are ready to help you begin using replication in your daily work. Visit our website to request more information or call us during business hours at 1-844-GEO-JOBE to speak with one of our experts.

database replication

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Solution Engineer

Michelle is a passionate and self-starting GIS professional looking to change the world with mapping. She works with our Enterprise team, supporting the daily operations of our GEOPowered Cloud.