While there are many advantages to choosing Microsoft Access as your database management system, there are also a few disadvantages that you might want to consider.
Even though Microsoft has stated that Access is able to support 255 concurrent users, it is a more practical choice to select Access when the database will be used by only 15 to 20 simultaneous users. If more than 20 users try to gain access to the database, performance and response time may begin to suffer.
Multiple Windows Operating Systems
Whenever various Windows operating systems like Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista are used to access the same database, the database may experience corruption issues. It is recommended that all Access users are operating with the identical operating system.
Novice User – Design and Development Limitations
A user who is new to software development may find that they are a bit overwhelmed when using Microsoft Access. In order to maximize the potential of Access, a thorough understanding of relational database design along with VBA coding is highly recommended. As with any software development tool, the ease of screen use, database performance, automation of data input, and report quality relies on the skill level and experience of the developer.
Sensitive Data Needs
If you have sensitive data needs like storing health and medical records, financial information, academic records or employment data, for example, you will require more extensive database security than Access can offer. One suggestion would be to use SQL Server as the database engine with an Access front-end. We can help. Please contact us to discuss your needs. We have a solution that will work for you.
Microsoft Access does have a few limitations. Access was not designed to be used with applications that are web based since its forms and reports are only functional in a Windows environment and are not compatible with an internet browser like Internet Explorer. The Access Jet database that is used by Microsoft Access is a file based system and does not contain the server features that are available in SQL Server, Oracle or other ODBC compliant databases. Access databases are more suited for web based solutions when the number of users is small or when the users are just viewing data rather than editing or deleting.
In the past, record locking activities in Access caused an increase in response time which resulted in slow performance on a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) when accessing the Access Jet database. However, this problem has been eliminated as a result of quicker broadband connections. It is important to note that performance can also be enhanced if a continuous connection is maintained to the back end database throughout the session rather than opening and closing the sessions every time a table is requested. If you find that Access database performance over a VPN or WAN connection continues to suffer, then perhaps Microsoft Terminal Services is an effective alternative. We have found that Access databases linked to a SQL Server or Access Data Projects work quite well over VPN and WAN connection. Please contact us and let us know how we can help.
Access on a Mac
Unfortunately, Microsoft Access is not designed to operate on Apple Macintosh computers. Since Access is commonly used in many businesses that use PC’s, Microsoft does not have any future plans to expand the database to be functional on a Mac.