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An ArcSDE three-tier connection doesn't work from remote clients. It works fine, however, with two-tier connections from the same clients and also with three-tier connections from the server.
The configuration may also produce an error in the following log files:
ArcSDE 8.x: SDEHOME/etc/giomgr.log
ArcSDE 9.x: SDEHOME/etc/giomgr_<service_name>.log
The error reads:
"ERROR (-1): Could Not Send XDR Result.
Users observing this message should investigate their firewall configuration as a source of the problem, but be aware that other conditions can also cause ArcSDE to report the same error."
There is a firewall on the server that is blocking the three-tier connection. In this case, the firewall allows incoming information, but blocks all outgoing information.
Check the server for firewalls. Disable all firewalls and test the connection again. If it works, the firewall either needs to be disabled, or reconfigured.