SQL Server vs. Access: Which is right for you?


This question came up the other day from Craig P. and I thought it was such a good one I wanted to blog about it.  I think many of us take it for granted that upgrading from Access to SQL is a natural progression but we sometimes forget the "why" of it all.  the bottom line is that sometimes the answer is to upgrade but sometimes the answer is to keep using Access.  Making informed decisions is important and being able to convince management plays a critical role to your success.  So with that I present two articles:


1)  Microsoft Access or SQL Server 2005: What's Right in Your Organization?



2) And, to help compare SQL 2005 vs SQL 2008, "SQL 2005 vs. SQL 2008 Part 1"



Yes, you have to register at that last site unless, of course, you use something like BugMeNot.com:  http://www.bugmenot.com/

Comments (6)

  1. This is something I still deal in a lot, with my Technical Evangelism.

    Access used to make a lot of sense, it had after all some very nice interface forms advantages.

    But now IIS7 and SQL Server 2008 stepped up.

    What about passwords and encryption?

    Intellisense may not be a big deal to everyone but will Access be getting 2008’s other features?

    Still…Access can’t be beat for portability, i.e. traveling salesmen, etc.

  2. Remember these things about Microsoft Access (a.k.a. Jet):

    1. No matter how many times you compact/repair and MDB, it will eventually become corrupt.  This has been true since day 1 (1992) and Microsoft has never fixed that bug.

    2. Compacting does NOT apply the internal MS Access System tables, so over time they will grow and eventually, your MDB will become corrupt.  Your only avenue, if you’re lucky, is to create a new, blank MDB and copy the object from the old MDB to the new blank MDB which will give you a set of new internal system tables that are as small as they will ever be.

    It’s not in Microsoft’s financial best interests to fix these major bugs that have been in Jet/Access from the beginning because it would affect their SQL Server revenue.

  3. zainnab says:


    I’m cool with just about anything on this blog but I have to call you out on this one:

    1) I can’t find any evidence that your first statement is true.  Are you suggesting that with the new Jet if you compact the MDB it will become corrupt?  What evidence is there of this?

    2) Actually I did research on this and found it to be false.  When you compact a MDB it actually deletes the old one and creates a new one thus redoing the system tables in the process.  

    Again, if I am missing something let me know as this is a "no BS" blog but I can’t find evidence that what you say is true with the latest version of Access.

  4. NTC says:

    If SQL Server is a truck and Access is a motocycle:::  then you can see that it isn’t really an issue of which technology is better.  They are both fine technology.  The issue is which is the appropriate vehicle for the task at hand.  

  5. zainnab says:

    I dig that analogy 🙂

Skip to main content