SQL Server – What’s The Big Deal?
By Jim Witschger
Concurrent with version 9 of People-Trak HR Software, we are dropping support for Microsoft Access databases and supporting only SQL Server versions 2005 and greater. Products in the field will be supported until such time as SQL Server has been installed, either as part of the version 9 upgrade or as an upgrade to your currently installed version 8.
We have used Access as our database engine since 2001 when version 7 was first released. A few years into version 7, we also provided concurrent support for SQL Server. Access has worked well for us and you are probably wondering why we are dropping support.
First, Microsoft is not committed to Access and Access is not a part of their long term strategy. We have found that when Microsoft loses passion for a particular product, it is time to start migration.
Second, we are seeing more and more issues with Access in the field. This is due in part to version 8, which is much larger than version 7 and due to growth within our customers. Access is designed to work with smaller record counts and smaller user counts. As record counts increase or user counts increase or both, Access has a tendency to corrupt. This is usually a simple matter to correct, but is a sign that Access is being taxed beyond its design specifications.
The problems that we see in Access simply do not happen in SQL Server. That is because SQL Server is designed for massive record counts and high user counts. Access is a very simple database engine. It is stores data and gives data to applications as requested. SQL Server is much more powerful and is more than just a storage mechanism. SQL Server is actually a program that runs on your server. It takes requests made by the application and processes them on the server. It then provides results back to the application. It is faster and infinitely more reliable due its design.
Finally, Version 9 is also much bigger than version 8. While we were up against design constraints with version 8 that we were able to work around with Access, this is simply not possible with version 9. The extra storage and features in version 9 demanded SQL Server. One of the design objectives in version 9 was to move all images and attachments into the database. This was simply not possible with Access.
For all of the reasons stated and others, version 9 will only support SQL Server databases. When you upgrade to version 9, you will be switched to SQL Server. Customers on version 8 have already been switching, sometimes due to the issues we have found with Access. In the next year or so, virtually all customers will have been switched to SQL Server.
In most cases, People-Trak HRIS will not be the first SQL Server product in your organization. It is thus a fairly simple process to attach our databases to your existing SQL Server installation. People Trak does have a small surcharge for the process of converting your databases from Access to SQL.
If your organization is not using SQL Server at all, People-Trak will be breaking new ground in your environment. Fortunately, SQL Server has a number of versions and derivatives, some of which are free and quite simple to install. When it comes time to upgrade, your account manager and support rep will assist you in moving forward.
*Upgrade from MS Access to SQL platform requires a data conversion charge. Talk to your Account Manager for details and pricing.