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9/9/2008 2:37:49 PM
Max Users for a Microsoft Access Database
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Facebook Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on Google Plus Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost

Q: Richard, I read a users question and your answer regarding multi-user Access front end and sql server backend combination. i have two specific questions:

a)  is there a practical / theoritical limit to how many number of users can connect simultaenously to the access front end which is connected to sql server backend using linked tables ?

b)  As the number of users increase, is there a changes of the mdb file getting corrupted ?

Thank you.
Sanjay Shah

A: Assuming JUST an Access database without a SQL Server backend...

I don't know if there is a PHYSICAL limit. As far as as PRACTICAL limit, assuming a normal 100 mbit network speed and a decent server, I wouldn't have more than 10 to 15 users on JUST an Access database, but there are exceptions (see below).

The chance always increases with more traffic - but the main problem is just speed. As more and more users hit the MDB file, it's going to slow way down.

Access wasn't designed for a LOT of traffic. Now, you could have only 5 users on the database that are asking for TONS and tons of records (lots of updates, reads, etc.) and they might bog the database down... but on the other hand, you could have 50 users on the database that are only occasionally looking up a record and maybe changing things once in a while - and be totally fine.

So it's really more of a matter of THROUGHPUT and activity than it is simply the number of users.

My suggestion is to simply TRY IT and see how your speed is. Once you start noticing it bog down, then you might want to consider upscaling it to SQL Server.

Now, once you bring the SQL Server backend into the equation it's really not a problem at all. Your Access front-end should be located on each user's PC. Yes, you could have them all hitting a shared one, but I don't recommend it. Then, SQL Server is handing out the data - so the performance is going to be as good as it gets.

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