Microsoft Access to SQL Conversions


red-upgrade-button-250x250Converting Microsoft Access applications to true client/server n-tier applications is in our DNA. In fact, after having spent a couple of years developing and maintaining a commercial MS Access developer application that was used to programmatically modify the object model of Access applications, which was used by a large customer base of Professional Access Development freelancers and programming shops, we’re pretty confident in our expertise in the Access object model and how to equate everything in an Access application to it’s Visual Studio and SQL Server counterparts. At some point, every company that uses Access for mission critical applications will bump up against one or more of the following issues that will cause them to seek out the services of a professional software company to convert their Access program to a more reliable and stable platform: database size limitation, database corruption, backup issues, too many users, data collisions due to multiple simultaneous page edits, and remote user requirements.

AppDataWorks, LLC has been involved in many MS Access conversions. Our business started and evolved from projects of this type. There are a lot of reasons why it is not a good idea in the long term to build applications around Microsoft Access, and why it is more desirable to build true client/server applications around managed, compiled applications and secure SQL Server systems that are not easily exposed to the end user.

Converting MS Access Applications and Databases to true Client Server applications
AppDataWorks, LLC Consulting Services specializes in Microsoft Access to SQL Conversions. We have a ton of experience converting Access MDB-based File-Server applications and Access ADP SQL Server applications to a true, scalable, Client/Server architecture. If your business is currently using Microsoft Access database applications in a multi-user environment (2 or more concurrent users), then your data is vulnerable to corruption. What’s worse, your shared MDB (data file) cannot be backed up reliably and consistently in a way that ensures you can confidently restore from a backup. Access ADP applications, although they do connect to SQL Server, use an always-on data connection to the SQL Server and therefore are not truly scalable to a large number of users.

Fault tolerance is the ability of a data system to recover from catastrophic failure. There is NO FAULT TOLERANCE built into Access MDB’s. We highly recommend Microsoft Access to SQL Conversions for any business using Microsoft Access for critical data. Mission-Critical data is data that your business relies on to operate on a day-to-day basis. You may find out too late that your MDB was not successfully backed up. Can you afford to have that happen?

SQL Server has the ability to recover data to a POINT IN TIME. It also has the ability to back itself up on any interval you choose even while the data and applications that use them are in use. Microsoft Access to SQL Conversions are performed to eliminate the limitations of Microsoft Access in this regard.

Even if you have your front end application in an Access ADP connected to SQL Server on the back end, you should still consider the benefits of a Microsoft Access to SQL Conversion. Access ADP application files can only be opened by one user at a time, requiring that each individual user has a copy of the most current application file. This requires a significant time investment in deployment of new versions. .NET applications can be deployed to a single network share or Web Server location for instantly updating all clients with very little deployment overhead.

Using the Microsoft™ .NET Framework, Visual Studio .NET and SQL Server to create a Client/Server architecture is our specialty. Whether converting and Access application or building a new application from the ground up, there are great benefits to this type of application architecture. Some of the benefits include:
Component-based architecture (n-tier)
By separating the main parts of the application into multiple tiers(Data / Business Logic / User Interface), you have the ability to leverage your investment in the application by allowing ANY type of client to access your data and/or Business Logic. Clients can be portable hand-held devices, desktop applications running within your organization, web-based applications running within your organization, web-based applications running on the public internet, or XML Web Services that you can expose to internal or external client applications. The main benefit of this type of n-tier architecture is that all of the clients can utilize the same code-base for accessing and validating data.
Web-delivery of updates to clients
The User Interface tier of n-tier Applications can be configured to run from a central server within your organization, an external web server within your organization, or run from a local installation on the client which periodically checks for updates located on an Internet or Intranet HTTP server, notifying the user that an update is available immediately when it becomes deployed to a single location. Also, elements of the User Interface can be Windows Forms applications, Web Forms applications, or both.
Reduced total cost of ownership
Application deployment is a very large part of the cost of long-term maintenance of an application. Today, most desktop applications need to be “installed” by the user. Getting it to the user is accomplished by several methods, including sending CD’s to the users, notifying the user via email or other means that an update is available for download, or using SMS (Systems Management Server) to PUSH an application update to the user’s desktop. Aside from using SMS, any other type of manual update infers that the user will actually update their application at the appropriate time. This makes coordinating an update an enormous time-consuming task. If a front-end update and data architecture update must be coordinated, it can be next to impossible or at the very least can incur deployment costs that can add up to significant amounts of maintenance dollars over time. The Web-delivery vehicle of upgrading user interfaces removes nearly all of the costs of deployment of updates to an application. The developer simply places the application files into a well-known directory on a web server, and users receive the update immediately the next time they run the application. Over a long period of time during an applications life-cycle, this can represent significant savings in the cost of ownership for any business application, large or small.
Increased Life-cycle for your application
The .NET framework has been around now for 10+ years, and it is now the standard for building robust, rich client applications for Windows. Originally designed as the replacement for Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Visual J++, it replaces the older versions of Visual Studio and the COM based languages that made up the great majority of Windows-based applications for many years and are in some cases still in service today. COM based applications have been slated for obsolescence by Microsoft, and eventually Microsoft will no longer support the COM based languages and applications. The .NET framework, however, is and will continute to be the direction that all future development languages for the Windows platform will be based on. The .NET framework will continue to be supported by Microsoft Languages and Operating Systems divisions far into the future.

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