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What is the difference between server-side geocoding with ArcSDE technology versus ArcGIS Server?
While ArcSDE technology is included as part of the ArcGIS Server product, the two terms below describing server-side geocoding have very different and distinct definitions.
ArcSDE technology server-side geocoding
Describes a geocoding operation that is performed within the DBMS by ArcSDE on the server. It always uses locators that are stored within an ArcSDE geodatabase.
ArcGIS Server server-side geocoding
Describes a geocoding operation that is performed in memory within a Server Object Container (SOC) process, outside of the DBMS. It can use locators that are stored within an ArcSDE geodatabase or other types of locators, for example, stored in a file folder or file geodatabase.
This is an important distinction, because when ArcGIS Server 9.3 was released, it was announced that ArcSDE technology server-side geocoding functionality would be deprecated in the ArcGIS 9.3 release. See the deprecation announcement.
ArcSDE technology has always had its own geocoding capability built on the same engine as ArcGIS Desktop, accessible by way of ArcSDE's C and Java APIs and administered using the SDELOCATOR and SDEGCDRULES ArcSDE commands. It is this geocoding functionality described in the first definition that will be removed in the ArcGIS Server 9.4 release.
In ArcGIS Server 9.4 and later releases, users will still be able to perform geocoding using locators that are stored in an ArcSDE geodatabase. However, the actual geocoding processing will be performed outside of the DBMS, for example, in the SOC process, of a geocoding service. This was done because ArcSDE technology server-side geocoding is no longer the best practice/workflow for deploying server-side geocoding services.