Microsoft Access database is a wonderfully simple application and can scale easily from just a few users for a small business to many users for a large organization. One can enhance the flexibility and scalability of Microsoft Access by splitting the database so that it performs better and provides better security to data.
What makes an Access database so easy to handle and use is the fact that it uses just one MDB file to store both the data and the interface objects. However, this could also lead to some problems, particularly if you are planning on having a shared database. When you are sharing the MDB file containing both data and interface objects with multiple users, there is a greater chance of the file getting corrupted. This means that even if all the users are typically using the interface objects, there could be damage to the data and in some cases, this could result in loss of data. Instead of having to constantly repair MDB files that have become damaged due to these reasons, it is much better to work with a split database. Most experts will tell you that not only is a split Access database with two MDB files much easier to protect, but performs faster and is also easier to maintain.
When you split an Access database – in other words, when you split the main MDB file into two MDB files, you can use them for specific purposes such as –
- One MDB file is used to store the main data in the form of tables and acts as the backend.
- The other MDB file will be used to store the interface objects such as forms and reports, and will act as the front end.
These two files can then be linked together allowing users to view and access the data from the backend using the forms and reports stored in the front end. There are several benefits to this structure.
- The most important benefit of splitting a database is providing adequate security to the data. When there is only one MDB file, if there is any corruption in the forms or reports, one would have to repair MDB file in its entirety. Now, if the damage is only to the front end, one can replace the forms or reports from the latest backup. It is also possible to have extra precautions in place to protect the backend from hardware or software problems that could cause corruption in the backend. Thus, by splitting the Access database, we are reducing the risk of the main back end getting damaged and of any loss of important data. As far as users are concerned, they view only the linked files that for all practical purposes act as one file.
- It is also easier to carry out development on the interface objects when they are separated from the main data. As requirements evolve, one needs to modify the interface objects as well. However, when there is just one MDB file, it is very difficult to carry out development work without worrying about any damage to the MDB file or having to repair MDB file, if there are any errors. Splitting the database and storing interface objects in another file allows developers to work easily on improving the forms and reports.
- If there is any damage to the back end, one can easily use specialized tools such as Advanced Access Repair from DataNumen that can recover not just the records but also the structure they were in. This way, developers can ensure that there is very little loss of data.