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MS Access stability with one, few, or many users

Posted on 2008-06-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-28
I have been using ms access for years as a tool for financial, portfolio, and operational reporting.  mostly, as a stand alone tool i use on my own, but in several case with multiple users in multiple locations [not the same network].  over the years, i am continually bombarded with comments that ms access is unstable.  when i ask what is meant by "unstable" or who initiated the comment, i get a blank stare and more repitition that ms access is unstable.  senior management is now chiming in with the same comment, because some knuckle-dragger said so but without an explanation.  can you please comments?
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Question by:mbilicic
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Jim Horn earned 250 total points
ID: 21822328
Access is good for..
Small number of users, < 200Mb of data, high need for flexibility, quick deployments

SQL Server / more 'stable' databases are good for..
Large number of users, any data size, high need for data security, high need for stability, speed (i.e. online transactions)

Here's an article that will paint you a better definition of how users perceive 'unstable', from Luke Chang, president of FMS
Database Evolution: Microsoft Access within an Organization's Database Strategy
http://www.fmsinc.com/tpapers/genaccess/DBOD.asp
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by:omgang
omgang earned 250 total points
ID: 21822329
A poorly designed application, Access or otherwise, can be unstable.  Non-robust error handling in any application leads to run-time errors and possible data corruption.

Access has limitations larger, enterprise-oriented, products do not.  2GB file size; issues with more than a dozen or so concurrent users (not a hard number and 'concurrent' is key).

I have a relatively large Access 2000 application deployed on a Citrix Metaframe server.  It has been in production now for ~eight years.  A total of up to 20 users access the application regularly (I have 20 licenses for Metaframe so it's never more than that) but typically no more that 8-10 concurrently.  It works well for what the company want's it to do and they have not been motivated to move to a SQL back-end and client or web front-end.

Ultimately your hands may be tied if management wants something different.
OM Gang
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Expert Comment

by:Milleniumaire
ID: 21822889
jimhorn, that's a good article you identified.  I'm a freelance Oracle consultant and one of those people that frown on Access databases.  The article has given me a different perspective on why Access is used, and by whom.

Obviously, Oracle is still King!
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