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The company I work for has been using an Access database for the past eight or so years (I've only had to put up with it for five). We're beginning work on an online ordering system so it's about time (actually, well past time) to move on to something more robust. We have a SBS 2003 server with MSSQL 2k, and we also have a MSSQL 2005 database through our web host, so SQL seems the way to go.

I've thought of a few scenarios for how to handle this and would appreciate any input SF has to offer.

1) Internal SQL database for everything.

Advantages: total control over security, fast internal access via whatever application platform we want.

Disadvantages: potential to bog down our internet connection during heavy ordering periods.

2) Internal SQL database for day-to-day operations. Replicate what's necessary to support the ordering system to the online database.

Advantages: total control over security for internal portion of the database. fast internal access. Separates customer processes from employee processes.

Disadvantages: duplicated data, extra interface required to migrate data between sites

3) Migrate completely to web server.

Advantages: Single database supporting both admin and customer processes. Easier access for mobile employees.

Disadvantages: Full faith in host for security/backups. Slower direct DB access from our location (in case we want to use a non-web interface).

Any thoughts?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

People have been trusting data centers with data for decades now. I think it's safe for you to go ahead and use the host. If you make a copy locally for backup, it automatically facilitates the positive of redundancy in a remote location. You won't gain much speed with it being local compared to remote unless your connection is poor or there are existing bandwidth issues.

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Thanks for the reassurance. I would have been perfectly comfortable if we were on a VPS, but I was a bit leery about the shared host. Mostly because when I was browsing for our database on the web server, I accidentally opened someone else's and found I had full access. :| I suppose it was the client's fault since the host gives us fairly complete control over permissions. –  Cogwheel Sep 25 '09 at 2:24
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I would switch to a dedicated or VPS hosting. Using shared hosting opens yourself up to possible problems from other clients. As you already have seen, other people might have access to your DB that shouldn't be there. The host should never allow other people to view other client's databases.

Shared hosting is ok for non-critical sites, but if you want to protect your data and site, I would opt for a dedicated server.

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Just because your site is on a shared host does not mean that other people might have access to your db. Shared hosting has "common areas" that are on the file system. With proper configuration on the host's part the only unprotected "common area" is the contents of the temporary folder, and should not impact a SQL database. It would be an area of concern if he were dealing with cookies or uploaded files, but not for his SQL server. –  Good Time Tribe Sep 25 '09 at 14:56
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