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Using Microsoft Access vs SQL Server databases

FastMaint Professional and Web editions allow me to use the built in Microsoft Access (Jet) database or an external Microsoft SQL Server database for my maintenance data. What is the difference between the two? Are there any benefits of using one vs the other?

Answer

There is no functional difference in FastMaint Professional/ Web between using the two databases. There are some operational differences:

1) SQL Server is more reliable. Access databases can get corrupted if there are problems with the network.

2) SQL Server can scale better and handle a much larger number of concurrent users with less degradation in performance. Access is usually not recommended with more than 15-20 concurrent users. Note: With FastMaint Web and more than one concurrent user and a large database it is recommended you use an SQL Server database.

3) IT Departments usually prefer SQL Server since it offers better management and backup capabilities.

4) The built-in Jet (Access) database is easier to setup. You just copy the files to a shared drive and point everyone to it. You may need to purchase a new machine to run SQL Server.

5) You may have to pay additional costs to get SQL Server licenses if you do not have a license (for SQL Server) or need additional licenses. Note: You may be able to use the free SQL Server Express edition if needed.

You can switch from the built-in Access database to an external SQL Server database at any time.  The program can also move the data over. This is useful if you start off using Access but decide to switch to SQL Server later on as your needs change. To do this:

  • Professional edition: Use the “Application Setup” wizard in the “Administration” menu
  • Web edition:  Select the “Setup” button on the FastMaint web server
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