Recently I have been teaching an ArcGIS Server Enterprise Configuration and Tuning for SQL Server course that Esri also now offers for ArcGIS 10. Originally, it was designed for the previous versions, but it has been rewritten and updated in order to reflect the new interface and functionality of the version 10.
The course is basically about how to manage the GIS data in a SQL Server database efficiently, as well as how to configure and optimize the ArcSDE for Microsoft SQL Server in order to achieve the best possible performance. I found the course to be concise, yet very informative. It gives a very good understanding of what ArcSDE and Microsoft SQL Server are, what functionality each of them provides, and how they are integrated in the ArcGIS Server system. I think one would learn quite a lot should one go to this course, coupled with the Data Management in the Multiuser Geodatabase course, because the latter course gives an idea about certain topics, which are not covered in the exercises of the former – such as: archiving, replication, setting permissions to the datasets, and managing versions.
Here are some additional reflections that I have concerning the course material, which I think might be valuable to others:
1. Quite an important topic when working with ArcSDE is how the spatial database definitions (which are available in the Catalog tree under the Spatial Database Connections folder in the ArcCatalog) are stored on the disk. These files are stored in the system user folder and can be copied or moved to another place and thereafter used for adding data or setting up the source paths to other applications like ArcMap.
2. Even though, in ArcSDE 10.1 release, Esri is supposed to provide graphical interface for managing ArcSDE instances, which will be a great time-saver, I still think that it is worth familiarizing yourself with the most commonly used ArcSDE commands.
3. Another issue that might arise after the data have been registered as versioned is how to unregister the data to be versioned. There is no such option to do this directly in the context menu, so one has to go to the Customize menu and add the Unregister as versioned button (under Geodatabase Tools category) to the user interface and use it when needed.
4. To be aware of spatial reference management in the geodatabase is very important too. A feature dataset can contain feature classes in only one coordinate system, so it is impossible to store feature classes with different a coordinate system in the same feature dataset. When importing a feature class from another geodatabase or a stand-alone shapefile to a feature dataset, it will be projected on-the-fly to match the feature dataset’s spatial reference system.