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Should I move from MS Access with SQL Server?

Question asked by RichardA on Dec 1, 2010


Should I move from MS Access with SQL Server?

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Our organisation has recently contracted a company for our Information Management System (offers a MS Access client front end as well as  web portals to a SQL Server backend).  It turns out that the system  isn't very user friendly and quite buggy (I think largely as it uses MS  Access front-end for much of the work).  Also this system is limited for  us as we are moving to Macs soon and we will have issues using the MS  Access interface.

I have just come across FileMaker and see that it is cross-platform (Mac  & PC) as well as seems to easily offer a web interface with  multiple group security levels.

I was hoping somebody with experience with FM could let me know of its  limits regarding DB size, and if there are certain "bugs" or annoyances  that come with using it (as I have found with Access in the past).   Specifically:

1. In addition to normal data, we would probably upload up to 10MB of  documents to the server each user day (this would be for about 200 days per  year).  We would want the server to sustain for quite a few years  without lag and other issues... would FM handle this well or would I  need a separate MS SQL backend?

2. We could have up to several hundred users interfacing online at any  one time.  Could the online connectivity of FM handle this?

3. Access has issues with their forms, like the way you move between  records sometimes conflicts with new records, causing system freezes.   Does FM ever experience these issues, or system freezes?

4. If I start with FM (frontend and backend) and later migrate the  backend to SQL Server due to growth, would it be easy to do?  I worry  that I would have to 1. recode the SQL and 2. have a major task  reconnecting the old frontend with the new backend.

Thanks in advance for any advice.