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Is Microsoft Access a 'proper' database? (1 Viewer)

Jon

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Is it good enough or should companies be using something else? ;)
 

Vassago

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I believe it's good for small business. For larger companies, it can be problematic. It doesn't have the security that a lot of companies require. My company began phasing it out years ago. We still have some live access databases, but not many. Most have been converted to SQL Server.
 

ButtonMoon

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Access self-evidently is not a "database". It is an application development tool. As an application development tool it's never going to compete with more mainstream RAD tools based on .net or Java, say, but Access fits its own niche quite nicely. The main drawbacks for most people are that it lacks many important features found elsewhere. It isn't as secure, scalable or robust as other alternatives and doesn't offer the same integration possibililities or have good support for modern n-tier, web-based and services-based architectures. This rules it out for many enterprise applications but suits desktop, small departmental or SME applications.
 

Joe8915

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I believe it's good for small business. For larger companies, it can be problematic. It doesn't have the security that a lot of companies require. My company began phasing it out years ago. We still have some live access databases, but not many. Most have been converted to SQL Server.

Same here, I built this db 15 years ago and now its converted to SQL. It was a good run, had alot of good help here. Now with only a few months left before I retire, it was fun.

O by the way, they brought in another db to take the place of mine and what a joke. They bought it off the shelf and trying to convert to our needs. I just sit back and watch things tumble.
 

fortion

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improve the security of the database and access can cater to all companies.
 

CJ_London

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I'm with Button.

Define 'proper'! Access is a flexible tool which bridges the gap between Excel and mainstream systems using database structures and has the benefit of being a front end development tool as well.

I agree security can be an issue but I still see many large corporations using it as a necessary tool - even if not supported by IT.

Scaleability can be an issue however relatively easily overcome by having multiple back ends - but it is never going to provide the basis of say a billing system for a company generating millions of invoices a month.

In this world of rapid change, 'strategic' solutions or 'proper' databases are often too slow to change so companies can lose strategic advantage. I make my living providing 'tactical' solutions, designed to last perhaps a couple of years until the strategic solutions can catch up.

I tend to get involved in three areas:
1. Company A takes over company B, both have their own strategic solutions but they need to be merged now, not in 2 years time - think territory management, sales commissions, purchasing alliance
2. Company is in a rapidly converging market where new products are added and company faces different competition - think telecoms which has expanded to include landline, mobile, SMS, 3g, 4g, content
3. Company has developed key processes in Excel and now can't cope. Lots of those! - and why were they developed in Excel the first place? Because they either weren't in a position to define a strategic requirement or the required solution would take too long.
 

nanscombe

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I used to produce Access solutions for a dispersed business which had small pockets of geographically independent users, 20 or so offices each with around a dozen users.

If all of the offices produce / consume their own data you can, as long as the database is designed well, consolidate the data every now and then to get an overall picture of what's going on.

If all the users need to be able to see all of the data all of the time it would certainly be a challenge. However, before I was made redundant, I did produce a few databases which were gradually being migrated onto a Citrix farm to be used from a central location.
 

The_Doc_Man

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I'm still working on a sentence that uses "Microsoft" and "proper" in the same breath. Even if 'proper' was in quotes.
 

GinaWhipp

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Hmm, this is tough to answer without a clear definition of 'proper".

Should companies be using something else? I have designed databases for small companies (1 to 20) to large corporations (20 to 200+) utilizing SQL Server when security was an issue. (I never bothered with the security in Access as 90% of the time it could be cracked.)

IMHO, there is no other RAD Tool available that allows one to produce something that the company can have *their way*. No other Tool that allows customization *on-the-fly* and now. For several of my Clients they looked around but nothing did what they wanted and the way they wanted... Access allows that. So, to answer your question, show me the *something else* that you *think* they should be using but in my opinion, no... there is nothing else... at least not yet.
 

RainLover

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If you think about it, database management systems have even existed for thousands of years. However, in the earlier days they were recorded without computers, rather than with crude accounting systems that companies like banks used to use over hundreds of years ago.

Access must therefore be considered to be a Database simply because it stores and retrieves data. To expand on this one might say that Microsoft Outlook is the biggest database of all as world wide it handles more data than any other single database.

The next question should be isolated from the first. Is Access good enough to be used by companies.

In fact Companies do not use databases people do. It is people of all stations within the company that may have the need for a database. It can be these same people that write their own database.

No one could possibly consider something like SAP for use by the receptionist to track visitors. Nor would one recommend Access to track the assets of a multi billion dollar company.

There is no one database that will suit all your needs. Simply use the one that best suits your needs and abilities.
 

MLUCKHAM

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Short answer, No. SQL Server is a proper database. But... combine the two and you have a powerful toolkit! There is nothing like Access for serious rad development!
 

Royce

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This link gives the best overview of the pros and cons of Access that I've seen.
http://www.fmsinc.com/MicrosoftAccess/Strategy/index.asp

Access is quick and inexpensive for smaller projects, shouldn't be used for larger ones. My experience has been that problems increase significantly as the number of concurrent users increases. I've seen 20 users work fine. But I've also seen 5 or 6 heavy users have problems. SQL on the backend solves a lot of problems.
 

gemma-the-husky

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late joiner to this one.

if companies can use Excel without a thought about "security" and so on, (which they do) then of course they can use Access. At the very least, Access brings robustness and speed to excel databases.

The biggest problem is not the security, imo, it's that Access is not trivial to use in the way that excel is. You can use excel without ever writing a macro, and certainly never writing code. you just cannot get anywhere in access without code. you also have to understand normalisation, and RI in a way that has no application to excel.
 

RainLover

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To follow on Dave's thoughts.

Although we do use excel without Higher Level Security I believe we should do things where we can that will limit the hacker's ability. True you will never keep an honest person out we can limit their temptation.

Two simple things is to disable the shift key on start up and to convert to a mde file. Making sure you have several backups.
 
Last edited:

GinaWhipp

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True you will never keep an honest person out we can limit their temptation

Rainlover, didn't you mean to say... *dishonest person*?
 

RainLover

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Gina

There is no stopping a dishonest person. They will do whatever they wish.

It is the honest person who falls across an opportunity that we need to cater for.

Normally these people will do naught, but curiosity sometimes gets the better of them. We need to lock down the Database sufficient to stop them.

e.g. The boarder type changes things. I would always recommend a password on the back end.

These are just a couple of things that I do now that ULS is no longer available pass A 2007

Food for thought.
 

GinaWhipp

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Rainlover...

It just read funny but of course you are correct, the lock is to keep the honest guy honest, the thief is coming in no matter what! :D
 

RainLover

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Gina ;)

It was meant to be funny, with that little bit of truth thrown in.

:D :) :cool:
 

Brianwarnock

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?..... you will never keep an honest person out we can limit their temptation.

s.

To pick up on this , when , a life time ago, I was responsible for the implementation of security on our main frames (RACF for those who want to know), our mantra was that you cannot blame a guy for doing what he can, we have to ensure that he can only do what he should.

Brian
 

ButtonMoon

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It just read funny but of course you are correct, the lock is to keep the honest guy honest, the thief is coming in no matter what!
Unfortunately that kind of argument doesn't get you far when it comes to an organization's legal (and moral) obligations to protect its systems and data. Prosecutor: "Did you follow industry best practices and take all reasonable steps to protect customers, employees and shareholders against information security risks?", Defendant: (shrug) "The crooks are going to steal our data anyway, so why bother?", Prosecutor: "I rest my case".

Many companies do of course prohibit the use of both Access and Excel on production servers.
 

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