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Microsoft Access vs. MySQL – Which is Best?

Microsoft Access vs MySQL – When a beginner starts to work with relational databases, they will come across a number of choices about which relational (or indeed, object-oriented) database is ‘the best’.

They quickly find that this will depend on what they need the database for, how scalable it needs to be in the future, how many users they need, etc.


Microsoft Access vs. MySQL - Which is Best?


Microsoft Access Vs MySQL Comparison

 Microsoft Access And MySQL Basics

In this comparison which comes up a lot – Access vs. MySQL – we tend to find it is the open source community backing MySQL (commonly running on Linux and Apache, using PHP, making up the LAMP acronym), and the Microsoft crowd who are backing Access.  Access is, for many, the first taste of relational databases a programmer will come across, and can therefore be the most familiar.


1) To really understand the debate, one must realize that this question is incorrect, as Access itself is not a database, it is simply a front end to a JET or ACE database.  SQL servers like MySQL and SQL Server are simply the back-end, the program doing the grunt work.  They are indeed all very powerful programs.


2) Access is the interface in which we access the JET/ACE database, but we are free to choose from hundreds of other front ends that can connect using ODBC drivers.  MySQL respectively has its own front ends, and are certainly on par with Access.


3) Therefore, we should compare JET/ACE and MySQL. JET/ACE, used by Access, is not a true SQL server, and therefore has limits.  Access security is low, in comparison to the tight security of a SQL server.  It can only run up to 255 concurrent users, meaning that is scales badly.  It had a 2 gigabyte maximum file size, in most cases.


Access can be used as a backend for websites, and it can run relatively efficiently, but it cannot compete with a full SQL server.  If one wishes to stick with Microsoft, then moving on to MS SQL Server will be the weapon of choice, although this comes with hefty price tag.


Access is a good program to begin with, but as one’s programming skills increase and the scale you need grows, it will very quickly become your bottleneck in your project.  Users always care about speed, and sooner or later your Access (JET/ACE) database will be too slow, and you will be forced to upgrade to something much more scalable such as the industry standard MySQL or PostgreSQL.


About Sandeep Kale

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Sandeep Kale, Founder and chief editor of Tricks Window. He is a Software Engineer and a self developed blogger and designer behind Tricks Window. He lives in Pune, India. If you like This post, you can follow Tips And Tricks Window on Twitter OR Subscribe to Tricks Window feed via RSS OR EMAIL to receive instant updates.
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