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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Recommendation for Best PC Based Database

    My company has used Paradox 5 for over 10 years. It has lumbered along pretty effectively for our needs but is obviously way out of date and we are considering a change. This is used for entering fixed asset inventories that our employees compile at companies, valuing those assets, and printing out reports that are printed in several different formats.

    Do any of you in the forum have a recommendation for a customizable PC-based relational database software?

    We're told that Access has limitations as far as creating an easy to use form for entering data. Ideally, we would be able to import the data and hopefully some of the structure/instructions from our current system.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    John S.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by John S
    We're told that Access has limitations as far as creating an easy to use form for entering data.

    by whom? That's one of Accesses Strengths....and one of it's downsides is the jet engine...you could always use it in conjuction with sql server...but then that's pricey.

    How much data are you talking about?
    Brett
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Thanks, Bret. As of now we have about 450 files (individual databases) with an average of 2,000 assets, each of which has about a dozen pieces of information. Additionally, there is a large database with about 60,000 items, each of which as about a 6 pieces of information, and finally a database of business transaction with probably 3,000 items, each of which has about a dozen pieces of information.

    For example, in the 60,000 item database would contain a manufacturer, model no., description, price, date and source of information.

    Hope that helps - and many thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Amount of data in your current system doesn't seem to be very large. I believe that most of today's databases can easily handle it. You didn't mention how much money is your company ready to invest. Both MS SQL Server and Oracle offer free starter databases (called Express Edition) which have certain limitations (for example, Oracle XE can hold up to 4GB of user's data), but are ready to use. If you choose any of them, it is easy to make a step further and purchase an Enterprise Edition, and data is simply transfered between XE and EE.

    Of course, there are other databases on the market (MySQL, for example, which runs Wikipedia and Yahoo), so I guess that final choice is yours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    There is a potential issue with using Access's native data storage method: JET. IT can have problems whent he number of users starts to exceed 15..30 users. When I say 'can' it depends on a lot of factors, not least of which is the system design, and also the number of concurrent active users. It doesn't have a probelm with mnay tens of users if they aren't all hitting the db at the same time with writes / updates, it seems fine with reads.

    Most of the design issues can be resolved by using dissconnected recordsets (searchong / updating records, populating list boxes etc using discrete SQL statements rather than the inbuilt form wizards that will do the task for you). its a bit of a pain when you first start using Access but it isn't a serious problme in the long term. it could be that the problem alluded to by someone saying it is hard to layout forms. As Brett has said, form design in Access is a breeze, but putting in the additional code to get the best out of Access Jet can take a bit of extra time.

    I wouldn't rule Access out.
    Bear in mind Access is a front end RAD Interface tool, it can talk to virtually any back end data store (including Paradox)

    In my view Access does a fantastic job for the very small project out of the box, it is remarkablt easy for a novice to get a fairly well featured application without too much knowledge. However if you are developing a mission critical application then you have to do a lot of the work that the Access RAD did for you on the numpty projects. I tend to believe that additional work to get the best in a multi user environment is significant, but probably no more significant than in other languages.

    One thing it does have compare to other languages is an easy means of moving to a server db with relatively little effort (the upsizing wizard to SQL server), and the availability of the report generator whihc allows novice users to easily layout indivdual reports.

    after taking a quick look at your volumetrics
    - 450 files each containg around 2000 items, sounds like a hooky physical design to me.
    - given the number of rows you envisage there could be a problem storing that volume of data in JET, modern version can handle in excess of 2Gb of data in a single physical file, however it can get tetchy with multi hundred thousand rows.
    So it may be appropriate to consider using a server back end from day one.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by Littlefoot
    Amount of data in your current system doesn't seem to be very large. I believe that most of today's databases can easily handle it. You didn't mention how much money is your company ready to invest. Both MS SQL Server and Oracle offer free starter databases (called Express Edition) which have certain limitations (for example, Oracle XE can hold up to 4GB of user's data), but are ready to use. If you choose any of them, it is easy to make a step further and purchase an Enterprise Edition, and data is simply transfered between XE and EE.

    Of course, there are other databases on the market (MySQL, for example, which runs Wikipedia and Yahoo), so I guess that final choice is yours.
    Also IBM offers DB2 Express for free with some limitations for "exotic" hardware

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Sussex, England
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    404
    I think a bit depends on your confidence in working with the development environment. Access is very good for producing user friendly forms, reports etc, but has potential problems with multiple users access the same data simultaneously.

    mySQL or PostGres with a web base front end coud work well as could the other suggestions posted above. The freebie version of SQL Server sounds ideal for your needs. You could front end it with access, or a web based interface or both if you want, and upgrade to the full version if need be (the same applies to the Oracle database).

    If security is an issue either Oracle or SQL Server would be good. I'm not to familiar with mySQL security so can't advise.

    Good luck.

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