May 31

Microsoft Access Database Scalability: How many users can it support?

Microsoft Access 2013What’s the Maximum Number of Microsoft Access Users?

There is a persistent myth that Microsoft Access Jet databases can only support 20 or so users. Here’s my response to a recent inquiry:

I flatly refute any suggestions that Microsoft Access users are limited to around 30. We’ve run many tests and have never seen that kind of degradation in performance. It is a myth from Access 2.0 days that was eliminated with Access 97 almost two decades ago.

A poorly designed Access database won’t support two users, but a well designed Access solution can support hundreds of users. Of course, what matters is the number of simultaneous users, and what they’re doing.

At Least 200 Simultaneous Microsoft Access Users on an Access/Jet Database

If everyone is just viewing data or entering data into a table, that takes very little work and a large number of people (well over 200) can be supported. People cannot type faster than what Access can handle. If users are all running massive reports and queries with data updates, that can still be done but performance would be an issue which applies to any technology, so testing and optimization would be necessary.

Migrate Back-End Access Database to Microsoft SQL Server for More Users

Microsoft SQL ServerIf the back-end database is in SQL Server rather than an Access/Jet database, the number of users can be practically unlimited if each user has their own front-end copy of the Access application. Performance issues still apply based on what they are doing. In some cases SQL Server is slower than Access, so it is important to understand the situation before thinking SQL Server is the answer.

All that said, any Access application that is distributed to others with shared data should be a split database design. Here are a few resources we’ve written:

Total Access StartupSimplify Support for All the Users of Your Access Databases

We offer a commercial product for enterprises, Total Access Startup, that helps with the distribution of databases to each user’s desktop, and launching it with the right version of Microsoft Access.

This allows you to centrally support a large number of Access users across your network and ensure everyone is using the latest version of your application. It also simplifies the migration from one version of Access to another.

Additional Discussions

MicrosoftThis topic was also discussed on the Microsoft Developer Network here:
Microsoft Access Database Scalability: How many users can it support?

Aug 20

Deploying Microsoft Access Databases Linked to SQL Azure Databases

Microsoft AccessSQL Azure A few weeks ago, I discussed how Microsoft Access could link to databases hosted on SQL Azure. Here's a new paper discussing How to Deploy Microsoft Access Databases Linked to a SQL Azure Database. Details on how this works and how to distribute your databases are covered. The people who receive your database don't need a license of SQL Server but do need to have its ODBC driver installed on their machines.

Here's the original blog on Microsoft Access, Azure and SQL Azure.

Jul 23

Microsoft Access and Cloud Computing with SQL Azure Databases

Microsoft AccessSQL AzureWe at FMS are very excited about cloud computing and started developing solutions using Microsoft Azure including SQL Azure well before it was released to the general public. I feel cloud computing represents the next big platform change in the software industry and the most significant transformation since the introduction of the Internet in the mid-1990's. It will transform the internal hardware, application hosting, and data storage business the same way electric companies eliminated most organization's need to generate their own electricity.

Windows AzureWhile there's been lots of discussions of Azure with .NET and SQL Server, we also see lots of opportunities with Azure and the Microsoft Access/Excel/Office community. In fact, we're busily working on a way to integrate Access data and files with the cloud. Meanwhile, we'd like to share some tips and techniques for linking Access databases directly to tables in SQL Azure. This opens up huge new opportunities to create and deploy Access databases using a more robust, cheaper, and highly scalable platform that is enterprise quality.

 I look forward to your feedback on two new papers:

Jul 16

Guest Speaker on Radio Show: Start Up or Shut Up

On Monday July 19, I’ll be live on the local radio show Start up or Shut up! which covers creating and running a small business.  It’ll be from 2-3PM on 1580 AM in Northern Virginia.

Start up or Shut up! is a LIVE radio show Monday afternoon from 2-3pm on the Big Talker 1580 AM hosted by Mark Bucher & Tom Gregg. More info about the program here About Startup or Shutup

Mar 03

Updated FMS Consulting Site for Microsoft Services

Microsoft Programming ServicesThe FMS Professional Solutions Group continues to create innovative software solutions that are making an impact on organizations and lives. Check out our updated consulting site to learn more about our solutions in action. See how we are making a difference from disaster relief in Haiti and Chile to the recent snowstorms in Washington DC. Here are some other highlighted solutions:

Let us bring this expertise to help you use data to make better decisions.