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Old 10-17-2018, 04:09 PM   #1
sumdumgai
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Best Way to Host Access Databases

Small start up company with no PC's, server, etc. wants to subscribe to marketing data providers and develop own Access/SQL based marketing solutions. What's best way to get needed computer resources (e.g., host computer, MS application software, storage, online access, etc.,) short of buying a the hardware?

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Old 10-17-2018, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Okay, I'm not sure how you are going to do this without some hardware. Even you get Office 365 you need hardware of some sort. And there is no *online* Access, it's Desktop only. So, what am I missing?
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:26 PM   #3
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

The Access "business model" is that you MUST have a local desktop machine. Either you host Access on that machine or you host it on a server and use Terminal Services to get to that copy of Access. The modern SAAS (software as a service) model is that you have hardware on which to run leased software. There is no version of Access that doesn't require a host machine.

The good news is that if you are not doing something insanely complex or large, a fairly cheap desktop or laptop can manage Office software as long as you have some type of local storage. But, you get what you pay for. If you pay nothing, ...

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Old 10-17-2018, 09:14 PM   #4
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Hi Sumdumgai

I have several access applications hosted on a Terminal Server environment. This allows users to access them using Microsoft terminal services consol from anywhere there is an internet connection. You can hire space or you can set up your own server with a domain. Not cheap but the only way to host a native access database and make it available to users anyway.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:18 AM   #5
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Thanks for all of your responses. I should have been clearer. People will have desktops and/or laptops, which will be Windows based with Office 365. Don't want the expense of purchasing a server that all can share, or the headaches of maintaining one. So, the question would be, what's best way to get a Terminal Server environment? Is that, for instance, what Azure can provides? Is there a less expensive but reliable way in which all can share data? Thanks to all.
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:15 AM   #6
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

If you have Office 365 on each machine, you don't need a terminal server. You need a machine that will be the host of the back end of your database.

Azure provides, in essence, cloud-based disk space and security services to protect it. (More than that, but for your stated goals, the "more than that" might not be relevant, since you already have hardware and Office for your users.) I'm going to defer to those on the forum who have worked with Azure. My site didn't use Azure before I retired.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

So do I just need storage to contain the back end and no software? In other words, can I just upload the database back end file to the remote storage, and then the Office 365 on each laptop handles the Access queries and such? Thanks.

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Old 10-18-2018, 09:07 AM   #8
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

If it were simply and only network-attached storage, possibly so. Any "native" back-end of Access is simply a file retrieved and updated through Server Message Block protocol (= the same protocol that Windows uses for file and printer sharing.)

But let's hope that others who have used Azure or know more about it can also answer.

Guys? Gals?
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:40 PM   #9
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

In the scenario I spoke about, the front end of the application (forms,code modules etc) are stored in the profile of each TS user, and the back end ( either access or sqlServer tables) is resident in a shared network folder either on the server or a network attached device.
As The Doc Man pointed out, Access is a desktop app and even though it can connect to remote backends ( I have connected to the MySQL tables behind webpages to collect forms data) the performance speed of data transfer is impractical for real time applications. Maybe if you described your requirements in a little more detail someone may be able to come up with a solution. In my case I found the TS environment the best solution where remote access is required.
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Old 10-18-2018, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Access has no native capability to connect to a web hosted BE. It is intended to be used on a single computer or on a LAN when there are multiple users. Just because you can actually link to a database using a URL doesn't mean that it will perform well. You can "buy" time on a server somewhere and use a VPN to connect to the Access BE but Access is very slow over a VPN. If you use a SQL Server BE rather than ACE, you might get away with it but now you'll need to host SQL Server as well and that will be expensive.

You could look into Azure but again, it might be very slow. I tried several times to connect Access FE's to Azure BE's and it was like watching paint dry. On the other hand, people whose companies host their own Azure have had good success with this.

You can find a Citrix host but you may find this solution to be pricey. Last time I looked, I was quoted $35-$50 per user per month. If you have a small number of users, it might be worth the expense.

There are providers who will lease you an entire server and you (they) can configure it however you want. This avoids the need to have the server physically in house but still gives you a lot of flexibility. However, you will need to pay the provider for support or hire your own consultant to do all the software installs and configure backups, etc. This is all the hassle you have with an in-house server except it is at someone else's location. Figure out what your budget is and see what you can find out there. New options show up regularly. Make sure when you talk to people that they understand how you want to use Access. In some cases, they will allow you to test a configuration to see if it works but you still have to incur the expense of actually setting it up. Your best bet might be to hire a consultant to help you find the right provider.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:06 PM   #11
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

A further problem with the TS environment is that TS managers tend to get it wrong a lot. They want you to share the FE as well as the BE, but that tends to break things. They don't "get" that you need private storage for each user using TS to get to Access because that private storage (even though located on the TS server) is where the FE has to go.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:10 PM   #12
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Yes Pat is right - I have tried the VPN route also and it is way too slow. I currently have one clients application located on hired TS and costs them $200 month for 3 users of 5 possible users for that price which is the cheapest price I could find. The performance is very good though as the FE and BE are both on the same server.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:39 PM   #13
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Rowey, what do mean by the FE and BE are both on the same server? I thought the FE's would be on each user's PC. Can you give me any more info on the hired TS? How do you go about finding a TS provider? I just Googled that and up popped Amazon Lightsail. Is that suitable? Thanks.

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Old 10-19-2018, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

In a Terminal Services environment, you connect to the host system via TS and open a window to that server. IF you have private storage on that server, you can put the FE in your private area and have the BE in a shared area on the same server. The trick is usually to convince the TS guys you need private storage for each user to support that case. Also, be aware that in such cases, the version of Access might have to be licensed for multi-user operation as opposed to having individual single-user licenses for each user.
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Old 10-20-2018, 01:17 AM   #15
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Re: Best Way to Host Access Databases

Hi Sumdumgai


In the TS setup I am referring to, the BE (data tables in a separate ACCDB file) are placed in a shared folder on the Terminal server. You can control access to this folder and its files through a windows security group.

The FE (forms, queries, reports and code modules in an ACCDB file) has a copy for each user in their profile, to which only they have access.

Each user runs a separate FE in their Terminal session.

The users can log into a terminal session from any PC or slim client (including a Mac PC) using a Microsoft TS Client app.

All the processing is done on the server. The client PC is just a window into the TS. Each user get served up a remote windows desktop and they run the access application through that remote desktop.

All the Microsoft software is loaded on the server. To get around the need for multiple copies of Access required to meet license conditions you can use the Microsoft Run time version of the particular version of access you develop in.

Alternatively you can use volume licensing services and buy multiple licenses

With regard to hiring TS space there are many options , I even have an arrangement with an small IT company who hire me space for a couple of clients.

Some you can look at to give an example are (link removed)

Bare in mind you want to have some level of executive access to be able to control the environment for your users.


Hope this is of some help to you.

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