Using FME Flow with Esri ArcGIS Software

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

Full Guide: FME Flow Troubleshooting Guide


To read and write from Esri Geodatabase formats, like ArcSDE and File Geodatabase, FME Flow (formerly FME Server) requires that ArcGIS Server software be installed and licensed on the same machine (with an exception for the File Geodatabase Open API Reader/Writer).

Connecting FME Flow to ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server must be installed and licensed on the same machine as the FME Flow Engine Service. The ArcGIS version must be compatible with FME: Notes on FME and Esri Versions and Compatibility. There are no additional configuration steps required. 

If you have distributed Engine hosts, ArcGIS Server must be installed on every host. Alternatively, you can make use of Queue Control to route jobs using Esri formats to run on a specific engine host. For more information on using job routing for your Esri-dependent workflows, please see Guide to Manage Esri Jobs using Queue Control.

NOTE: "Install ArcMap Runtime Support" --  This feature is required to support the publishing and running of services from ArcMap, and includes Python 2.7. Without this feature, any existing ArcMap-based services must be migrated to the Pro-based runtime. If excluded the workspace setting Esri Compatibility can only be ESRI ArcGIS Pro, not Auto or ESRI ArcMap

Connecting to Esri Applications from FME Flow without a license

An ArcGIS Server license is required to connect with the following Esri Geodatabase formats: 

  • ArcSDE Geodb
  • File Geodb*
  • Personal Geodb
*Except File Geodb Open API 

However, there are alternative options that allow you to connect with Esri Applications without making use of these Readers/Writers: 


“Can I use ArcGIS Pro with FME Flow?”

It is technically possible for FME Flow to use ArcGIS Pro. However, the use of ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro in a server context violates Esri's license terms. Please see Esri’s article on this topic, "How does Data Interoperability relate to FME? ", for more information, or contact your Esri account manager for more clarification of Esri’s licensing terms.


“Why am I getting ‘The tool is not licensed’ error when calling ArcPy modules?”

ArcPy can be used in FME to apply specific ArcGIS geoprocessing tools. Like some formats, FME requires access to Esri libraries for this process. For the majority of ArcPy modules a Basic license is sufficient. However if you’re workspace returns the following error: 
Python Exception <ExecuteError>: Failed to execute. Parameters are not valid.
ERROR 000824: The tool is not licensed.
Failed to execute ({modulename}).

This is an indication that the module requires an Advanced license. For help from Esri determining the required license level see Accessing licenses and extensions in Python.

Example python code that requires an elevated license:, sdefullPath2)

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