I got this error this morning when trying to activate a web feature in a site collection. It turns out that this is because the application pool running the web application (in my case ‘Network Service’) does not have the required permissions to run some SharePoint SQL stored procedures within the configuration database.
In order to fix this error you will need to give the application pool database role WSS_Content_Application_Pools ‘Execute’ rights on the following stored procedures:
Once you have granted this role the correct permissions you will be able to activate the feature/perform the operation you were attempting before.
Hope this helps!