Place for backend database to stay

cansevin
cansevin used Ask the Experts™
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I currently have a small office with 4 computers using access. The back end is stored on a laptop which has been working great. I want to use the laptop for something else, and need an alternative to place the back-end on.

What are the cheapest options? Would simply an external hard drive work? If you could post a link to amazon, that would be great. Some notes:

1.) The ONLY thing I am doing on the network is the backend of the database, nothing else
2.) I am looking for something simple and easy... nothing complex. Hoping for under $100 or so.

Thanks!
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Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
How about free?

If you have four computers linked to the BE, you can move the BE to one of the other computers.  You will need to used the linked tables manager to relink once you move the BE.

The computer that houses the BE must be turned on whenever you need to use it from one of the other computers.  That's one of the reasons the BE is normally stored on a server.

New computers are pretty cheap if you wanted to set one up as a server.  The server software would probably cost as much as the computer.  But if you are happy with your peer-to-peer setup, just move the BE.
Your backend database can reside anywhere that can be mapped as a location that Access can refer to.   Have you thought about Cloud Storage?  Just a thought.

If you are buying an external drive, be sure it is a solid brand (Western Digital or Seagate is my choice)

Quick search showed me this for $75.   (includes automatic and cloud backups)

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 with Auto and Cloud Backup - Blue (WDBZFP0010BBL-NESN... by Western Digital

Bob
EirmanChief Operations Manager

Commented:
These are my recommendations based on long experience...

Create a partition on the PC that is used the most and call it/name it for example
Drive X:
Lets call this your main PC (which is acting as a server)
This is good free partition software
http://filehippo.com/download_easeus_partition_master_home
(Or use a USB drive and make it drive X:)

Next set Create sharing for drive X: on this main PC.
Store your backend here.

One by one on the other PCs, map the shared drive (on the main PC) as Drive X:

Go back to your main PC and (as mentioned above) use the linked tables manager to relink to the tables on Drive X.

Now copy the front end on the main PC to the other PCs and they should work without relinking.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You can create a batch file to do this copying for you.
It makes future updating of the front end throughout your network a doddle!

Create another batch file to backup your backend  to chosen network locations.
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DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Application Developer
Top Expert 2007
Commented:
RE: " Have you thought about Cloud Storage?"
Unfortunately, you cannot directly Link at Access front end db to a back end db in the Cloud.

The problem with an 'external hard drive' is ... it still needs to be connected to one of your laptops, which kind of defeats the purpose. UNLESS ... you get a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, but this will likely cost more than $100, but ... you can connect it to your router and it will be an independent device on the network to store your back end db.

So, as Pat suggested ... if you can use one of the other laptops as the 'server' - that is your least expensive way out.  And there is really no need for any server software either.  Windows 7 (any version) will do just fine.

mx
Commented:
There are networked attached storage you can get for 100$ and less. here's a quick example: http://www.microcenter.com/product/377482/LinkStation_LIVE_2TB_Gigabit_Ethernet_Network_Attached_Storage_(NAS)
There are even just little widgets with a network and a usb and plug in your own external drive.  depending on the size you need, one of those might be better and then you can just use a thumb drive instead of a 2tb monster. although with the space available, you can always think of something else to use it for.
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Western Digital or Seagate is my choice)
According to BackBlaze, who use more hard drives in a month than most of us will ever use in a lifetime, Seagate is not the best choice to make depending on the model:

http://blog.backblaze.com/2014/01/21/what-hard-drive-should-i-buy/

Western Digital or Hitachi seem to be the preferred brand.
I'm concerned that a NAS may not support the file locking scheme that Access uses for multiple users.  We recommend that Access BE databases be on a Windows PC.  

I would like to hear evidence that certain NAS setups work for multi-user scenarios; it would be a nice option.

Armen Stein

Author

Commented:
Thanks!
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Application Developer
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
Folks ... at this point in time, there is no reason not to be using a solid state drive, and the Samsung 840 Pro in whatever size (128, 256, 512 GB) is nothing short of amazing. The performance difference across the board is night and day. Boot time 10-15 seconds instead of 60-70 seconds, and so on.

I have one in each of my three primary laptops, as well as 2-3 friends.

mx
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
there is no reason not to be using a solid state drive
Other than price, of course. The link you provided shows a 500 gb SSD for around $380.00. You can buy about 9 TB of HD space for that (newegg has several WD 3 tb platter disc for around $130).

If I were to replace my current HD storage space with SSDs of a comparable price to the one at your link, I'd spend around 6000 bucks (8 TB at appx $760/TB). I could replace all my standard hard drives for a helluva lot less than that. At that price point, waiting an extra minute for a boot, or a few extra seconds to retrieve data, is a good trade off.

And if you're running a RAID setup - which everyone should do, in my opinion - you'd have to double your cost. So my upgrade to a 500 gb boot disk just went from $380 to $760.

I agree that a SSD for your main boot disc is a good idea, but there's plenty of reasons not to do so.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Application Developer
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
"Other than price, of course. "
Which has come down and continues to dramatically
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Which has come down and continues to dramatically
It has, but it's still many times the per-gigibyte cost of platter discs, as shown above. I think we're going to have to see that gap narrow a lot more before we'll start seeing a major shift in usage.

But as I said, a SSD boot/system disc, with platter-type storage disc for the high terrabyte needs, is a great solution. For the average user, that would be a good system.

Commented:
OK, it's nice that you like SSD's for their speed but that has absolutely zero to do with this questioner needing a networked storage location/device for an MS Access file. Nobody cares about SSD speed when even 10 gigabit networking is slower than the slowest modern platter drive. Time to stop so I don't get any more notifications of this not-even-tangent thread, thanks.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Application Developer
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
@magarity
Thanks for sharing.

mx
PS ,... please hit the 'stop monitoring' button :-)

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