Access to SQL Server Migration and Upsizing

Without a doubt Microsoft Access displays a number of advantages as a database solution.

It is very portable and lightweight, designed perfectly to manage your personal database applications. But this software also poses many restrictions. When applied to a larger scale system it virtually comes apart at the seams. Here comes a situation when your database system requires larger capacity and more system users, you definitely will be needing the services of a more robust and stable database system. Therefore, Access to SQL Server migration and upsizing becomes a very important issue.

The move to convert your database from Microsoft Access to SQL Server to benefit better performance, stability, and security is generally what most developers would recommend in a large scale database application. This operation is called “Upsizing” and once it is done, clear distinctions and variances in performance and security aspects will be noticed.

Access and SQL Server both share certain similarities, but for the most part they vary from each other. Both differ in their method of storing data and indexing, data types, and in their capacity. Microsoft supplies an Upsizing Wizard to help you migrate to SQL Server. The wizard will examine your current data and structures and systematically convert them to SQL Server format however it is very limited and often issues are encountered in complex databases and will require professional assistance.

During conversion of database and database object from Access to SQL Server format it should be noted, however, that there are unsupported properties in both systems that would signal the alarm for some serious problems. In this regard, it is best to always examine and correct latent issues capable of erupting before, during, and after the process of conversion. It is vitally important is to carefully review the database result to verify that records, tables, and relationships were properly converted.

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Compelling Reasons to Migrate Access to SQL Server

So why do we need to migrate from Access to SQL Server? There are crucial points to consider and benefits to enjoy when upsizing your database.


MDB and ACCDB files from Microsoft Access can reach a max capacity of 2GB inclusive of the space required for system objects. Of course, a way to circumvent this problem and beat the limit capacity is to create multiple data files. But this too will crunch up to a few gigabytes only. What if your database requires hundreds of gigabytes then Microsoft Access will lose its feasibility. SQL Server, on the other hand, can manage large capacity databases with no problem.

Superior access performance

When it comes to database access, SQL Server does far better in performance, in fact, it is superior compared to Microsoft Access. Access is designed as a database applications for desktop and allows only 10 to 20 users (or maybe a little bit more). With SQL Server database access is easy because it is design for multi-user environment and data files can be shared by thousands of users simultaneously (over 32,000 concurrent users), very practical for enterprise-scale applications. Finally, with SQL Server, all processing and heavy computing are being done by the server hardware; client computers will only receive the processed results enhancing speed by lifting the heavy processing task away from the client and assigning them to the much powerful server machines. But this isn’t true with Microsoft Access. Instead, each client shoulders the heavy burden of computing and pulling data from the server which is acting only as a data storage. The speed in a SQL Server feels almost like all data are being stored locally not passing through a network.


Expectations are high when it comes to server operation because many business organizations are conducting critical transactions online all the time. Therefore, IT professionals and engineers are focusing their best efforts on preserving the integrity of the server hardware and software. Data corruption issues are widespread with Access database; none of it occurred in SQL Server. Plus, in very big organizations, SQL servers are multiple and redundant safely providing backup to ensure a continuing operation in case currently running server goes down.


SQL Server implements very detailed security features that locks your database to safety. It has security measures at all levels from users to groups, access to which tables or queries, and what type of access. It has security restrictions on every object. With Access, security barriers are more vulnerable to hack since Access is file-based. This means each user can obtain a copy of the data file itself in order to use it.


SQL server can be expanded to accommodate immense website traffic through “clustering”. This feature appropriates more capacity for heavier loads with very quick response time. On the other hand, Access simply couldn’t work at this capacity.


SQL server has an internal backup and restore system which runs daily or as often needed depending on the configuration. This system helps to neutralize the impact caused by data corruption, accidental deletion, and server failure.

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