FAQ: Database Connections on FME Server

Sienna Emery
Sienna Emery
  • Updated

What are database connections?

Many readers, writers, and transformers require you to connect and authenticate to database services in order to use them. Database connections provide a convenient and secure way to store and reuse these connection parameters. For example, to use the Oracle Spatial Object reader, you need to provide a host, port, service name, username, and password.

A database connection makes it easy to connect to a database in a workspace. Select the stored connection, instead of re-entering the connection parameters each time. And if connection parameters change (e.g. a password), updating the Database Connection will also update every workflow using that connection.  

Where can I find out more about database connections on FME Server?

The FME Server Administration guide has all the information you need for uploading, removing, and updating database connections.

Is there a way to synchronize my FME Server and FME Desktop connections?

Once the connection is stored in FME Server, they need to be managed from the WebUI and there is no correlation between the connection stored on the Desktop and Server. You can always choose to make edits to database connections in FME Desktop and then republish the connection with an existing workspace.

How do I manage database connections as an FME Server Administrator?

There are two situations we see occur often, one where users can create database connections and another where users do not have access to create their own database connections.

Since there is no way to synchronize connections between FME Desktop and FME Server, it is important to keep the names of the database connections unified between FME Server and Desktop. This makes database connections easier to manage.


1. Users have permission to create connections

NOTE: If a user has permission to Create connections, that user can also overwrite shared connections. Any workflows on FME Server (belonging to any user) that contain that connection will be affected.

  • Users can create their own database connections.
  • Each user will be responsible for managing their own connections; this may lead to many connections for a single database.
  • Users can choose to share their connections with others in FME Server. 
  • Users must be careful when publishing workspaces and including a database connection of the same name as an existing one that has been shared with other users. This may affect other workspaces using that database connection.

Image of the database connection page in FME Server.

2. Users do not have permission to create connections (Preferred)

As an FME Server Administrator...

  • You would have to create each connection in FME Server (or upload them from FME Desktop).
  • Access can be granted to any role or specific user account in FME Server. Users will not have access unless they have been granted permissions to that connection through their account or role. 
  • You may choose to give users access to the Connections page. This will grant users access to the Connections page, where they can view all database connections they have access to.


Image of the user management page in FME Server

  • Ensure that all users that have workspaces with database connections create a published parameter with the connection. Then, the user can select the database connection as a published parameter in the run workspace page.


What account is used if a database connection is using Windows Authentication on FME Server?

Some database connections can use Windows Authentication as the authentication method.

Image of the Database Connection Dialog in FME Server

If you upload a database connection to FME Server that uses Windows Authentication, the account used to authenticate the connection will be the Windows Account of the account running the FME Server Engine service. You may have to switch the account running the FME Server Engines to get this to work. This is a common misunderstanding for users of SQL Server Databases.  If the Engine Service user doesn't have access or permissions to the database, errors will be presented in the job log.  Speak to your DBA to ensure this service user has access to the database in question.

What about database client software on FME Server?

Whether a database client needs to be installed or not depends on the database used. FME Server will follow the same rules as an FME Desktop installation. For example, PostGIS should not need any additional set up, however, Oracle on FME Server will.

You’ll have to work with the FME Server Administrator or your System Administrator to ensure the required client software is installed before publishing a workspace containing a database format. It is common for database client software to be missing on new computer systems.  Always review the FME Server job log for clues when a job fails.


Additional Resources

FME Server Troubleshooting: Database Connections
SDE Connection File Management


Was this article helpful?



Please sign in to leave a comment.