Re: Looking for advice on migrating to Cloud
you do need to be very clear what the reasons are for moving to the cloud. access from anywhere, access by partner businesses/customers/consumers are good potential reasons, speed is generally the bottom of the list.
If it is a speed issue, look at citrix/terminal server perhaps using sql server/express back end but retain your access front ends (on citrix/terminals server) with minimal changes (assuming it is already optimised for speed). This should perform pretty much like your backends are on your local drive. Should also solve the problem of connecting via wireless and from non office based locations and from multiple types of devices. They should also handle the additional heavy security burden from being on the cloud.
I know you can connect to terminal server from apple devices (including iphone), but don't know about other OS's
However your front ends will no doubt need to be redesigned to fit smaller screens.
SQL Azure works well when the devices connecting have a known IP (i.e. from the office), not so good if you want to connect from your local coffee shop. But other than taking advantage of the additional BE functionality, only small changes to the BE. Be aware you do need to pay for a relatively high level of service otherwise performance will be slow.
After that you are into brand new apps with your existing access apps being used purely to demonstrate 'it needs to work something like this'. To my knowledge there are no apps out there to quickly develop web based front ends aka Access beyond the most basic requirements. You will probably be into using something like Visual Studio or NetBeans.
Before you start I recommend you get a budget together of what moving to the cloud is worth to you. You may find there are apps already out there which can perhaps be tailored to your specific requirements, either through settings or some bespoking. Either way there will be a cost.
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