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SQL vs. Access – Should I Upsize My BillQuick Database?

Nov 14, 2013 | By Bob Wolff | 0 Comments

Topics: Technology

Change happens. With BillQuick, you grow the number of records – time entries, expense entries, invoices and so on. Likely you grow your firm and its users too. With more data and users, you push the standard BillQuick database – Microsoft Access – beyond what the database technology was designed for.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of “stressed database technology” include:

  • Too many coffee breaks – Waiting minutes for reports to print
  • Users complain – Waiting long seconds to save a record
  • Teeth grinding – Waiting long seconds for the Billing Review or another screen to display text
  • Fight the urge to scream – Messages that tell you to run the “fix the database” utility in BillQuick

Any symptom indicates you may be stressing out your database technology (plus your users and yourself). Upsizing from the Microsoft Access database to the more robust Microsoft SQL Express or Microsoft SQL Server will be like a month at the beach – a breeze in the trees, a cool drink sweating beside you, and a sense of calm you never knew before.

Okay, More Information, Less Imagery

Different editions of BillQuick support the three Microsoft database technologies:

  • Microsoft Access – Built into BillQuick and available for all BillQuick editions
  • Microsoft SQL Express – Free and available for the BillQuick Pro and Enterprise editions
  • Microsoft SQL Server – Not free and available only for the BillQuick Enterprise edition

Microsoft Access is good for small operations – typically, up to 5 users and up to 3 years of accumulated data. Because that darn data keeps accumulating, you may need to upsize to SQL Express. Or when your firm has 5 to 25 users, SQL Express (or SQL Server) is the technology you want for speedy work. BQE can take advantage of SQL Express technology to provide “views” that cut report run time to seconds. We can also add “triggers” or business rules to shortcut special tasks. When you jump above 25 users, you then want the Incredible Hulk of database technology – Microsoft SQL Server.

This progression from Access to SQL Express to SQL Server is called upsizing. With each new upsize, you add specialized database technology that scales to what you need for best performance. And with SQL Server, as you scale your company, it continues to evolve and deliver high performance.

Warning: Techie Talk – SQL vs. Access

An SQL database has advantages over the Access database:

  • Better protection and security – SQL blocks direct access by unauthorized users
  • Likes big parties – SQL handles dozens to thousands of users
  • Scales up – SQL handles HUGE databases that users generate
  • Medium and large companies – SQL is dead-on-designed for you
  • Cool tools – SQL includes and supports advanced management tools and features
  • Automatic recovery – Built-in features in case of system failure that causes data corruption
  • Triggers – Cock your index finger, tap your mouse button, and BOOM! A special business rule added to your SQL database fires, saving you time and effort
  • Bartender – SQL is like a bartender for big parties. Database queries and other requests are done on the server, not on your PC (bartenders are always faster than self-serve)
  • Backup – Not just the database file backed up, but incremental data backed up as you work (Whoa!)

More Techie Talk

Why not SQL for everything?

  • Access is easy to set up - SQL Express and SQL Server requires technical expertise to deploy
  • Access can be easily copied and shared - SQL is not designed to be portable (SQL  clones)
  • Access easily integrates with Microsoft Office products - SQL requires more advanced integration

Recommendations

 

SQL Express

SQL Server

More than 5 users

More than 25 users  

More than 20 MB data file size

More than 2 GB data file size  

Use Web Suite

Special business rules (triggers)

Views for faster reports

You Are Not Alone

BQE knows the advantages of SQL Express and SQL Server first hand. We use both!

Also, BQE Consultants have developed a fine art for implementation of SQL Express and SQL Server. They help customers many times a day, taking 2 hours to install, configure, and move your BillQuick data to the new database technology. Smooth, simple and quick. We love the smiles we hear when we introduce customers and their users to their improved BillQuick environment. . . .It brings tears of joy to our eyes (sniff, sniff!).

Contact your BQE Account Manager about our SQL Express Setup & Configuration service.

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Bob Wolff
The Author

Bob Wolff

Bob Wolff is Director of Business Partnerships at BQE Software. He began his career in public accounting and went on to start a consulting firm, Fresh Eyes, providing technology, marketing, sales, support, strategic and tactical planning, and executive coaching to various professional services firms until he joined BQE Software in 2004. His greatest joys are his wife, Dayleen, his dogs, Roxie and Wilson, writing science fiction, and helping BQE grow.

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