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Image cache on network drive vs. SDE/Oracle


We currently have all of our image data loaded into ArcGIS SDE/Oracle 9.3. There is a proposal to not load our 2015 orthoimagery into SDE/Oracle in order to save time and place it in a tile cache or gdb on a network drive. Historically the image data has been around 250GB in size. The orthoimagery would be used simultaneously (read only) by many ArcGIS 10.1 desktop users (I would estimate ~100 max, probably more like 30 on a normal day). Are we likely to have performance problems with this approach? If there is no big down side what would be the recommended format to keep the orthoimagery in?

I guess the other option would be to place it on the ArcGIS server's local drive and just let the users consume the data as a ArcGIS map service.


Using databases to store rasters peaked in the ArcGIS 8.3-9.1 timeframe. Once ArcGIS Server 9.2 could fashion mapping caches, the need for a tiled basemap in the database waned. Modern raster support hinges around mosaic datasets, which are file-based, and are much faster and more flexible than database solutions. Mosaic datasets have the benefits of retaining the original images in their native format, provide overlays for tiled access, permit onthe-fly calculation of alternate forms (e.g, hillshade from a DEM and reclassification), and they don't fill your database transaction logs with terabytes of static data

So the suggestion is to move to Mosaic Dataset.