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I have a project management database in access that works very well. I need to be able to setup multiple remote users to use this database as they are all project managers working offsite.

Is this possible?

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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Using a Microsoft Access via a "mapped drive" over a low speed or high-latency connection will be painful at best, and you will have "corruption" and errors, at worst. If you're talking about online access over, say, a VPN, then I think you're probably in for a terrible shock.

I have one Customer who relies heaving on a Microsoft Access-based system for their business. They allow users in remote offices to access the programs (connected via low-speed, high-latency VPN links) via Windows Terminal Services using RemoteApp shortcuts. The licensing wasn't cheap, but it gets the job done for them.

Peter Schuetze talks about using database replication in his answer as a possible for allowing for offline access. I haven't ever used database replication in Access, but it's certainly worth exploring.

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Trying to hack up Access DB replication in a multiple-sites-write-access scenario is asking for a nightmare. If you're going to continue using Access for this, you'd be better served by spending your time writing a Web front-end for the remote users.

Or you could look into migrating to MS Project and Project Server, or Sharepoint and InfoPath.

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not sure what you are talking about 'hacking' up access DB replication. That was build in (at least 10 years ago) and it worked. One master database (that would be in the office in Rob's case) and all other replicate against the master. This setup has the standard limitations of replication. However, it gives you the ability to work offline. and replicate when you have a internet connection. If you don't have an internet issue, a nice web app is possible too. –  Peter Schuetze Jan 27 '10 at 21:54
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As long as they can access the database from remote (e.g. VPN) that should not be a problem. However, you should check into replicating the database with the master being in the office. Than they can work offline and only replicate once in a while with the master. I have seen such an installation in a small laboratory. Not sure if that will work for you since you might get into trouble when two people change the same record and than try to replicate.

Otherwise create a web UI and make it available to your offline folks.

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Downvoted, because (as @Evan said) remote use of Access MDB files is a very bad idea. Performance will be terrible and all of your users will be unhappy, especially the remote ones. –  mfinni Jan 27 '10 at 16:15
    
@mfinni: remote access is only mentioned in the first sentence. Replicating the databases is a nice feature, because everyone will work local (if the replicated db is on the local machine). You 'only' have the restrictions that arise from replication constraints (two people working on the same record, who's update wins?). In the replication scenario performance will only matter while replicating, and that is usually not an issue at all. –  Peter Schuetze Feb 10 '10 at 13:36
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