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The ArcSDE application server communicates with many client applications using connections that are made through a specified port using TCP/IP protocol. For this to work, there must be matching correct entries in both the ArcSDE services file and the operating system services file.
The system services file is installed with the operating system. It contains a list of TCP and UDP service names and associated port numbers.
The ArcSDE services file contains the service name and the TCP/IP port number that is used to communicate with the ArcSDE Application Server. If there are multiple ArcSDE instances hosted using the same SDEHOME, the ArcSDE services file will contain multiple entries.
On UNIX and Linux, the ArcSDE services file is $SDEHOME/etc/services.sde and the system services file is usually /etc/services.
On Microsoft Windows, the ArcSDE services file is %SDEHOME%\etc\services.sde and the system services file is %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc\Services.
<service_name> <port_number>/tcp # comment
esri_sde 5151/tcp # ArcSDE for SQL Server