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  1. #1
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    Hi there!

    I have been asked to look at a network of 2 pc's where the client in question has been having problems trying to run their Office Access application simultaneously on both pc's. The app resides on pc1 which runs ok but they had the scenario whereby if they ran the app up on pc1, it wouldn't run on pc2 and vice versa. I somehow got round this by mapping a drive to the folder on pc1 where the app exists from pc2 and have been able to run the app on both pc's simultaneously, but with the following limitations:-

    1) If the app has been run up from pc1, then it won't start directly from pc2, I have to start Access and then open the app from pc2.

    2) If the app is not running on pc1, then it will start directly from pc2 and pc1 will also start.

    3) If the app is running on both pc's simultaneously, it is very slow on both pc's.

    This setup of using a pc as a server does not seem to be very clever and it also seems to me that installing a server may well be the right way to go. However, there could be an alternative of installing a NAS box and placing the back end of the app onto this and then accessing it from front ends on the pc's. (I'm looking to split it into front and back end anyway).

    Has anybody got any experience of running Access on a peer to peer network or using a NAS box? Most setups I have come across are either single user or with a network and server already in place.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers


    Niven

  2. #2
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    We have run small databases on peer-to-peer networks without difficulty, so it should be possible to make it work in a two PC arrangement. However, I would be sure to split it so that each PC has the front-end, and only the back-end is shared across both PCs. As to the issue of start up, check and make sure that one isn't trying to open the database exclusively. On the performance issues, it may be that the memory in the PC1 is inadequate to support both PCs running the app. It may also be that the network has problems that compound the performance issues. A server would of course be nice - I would take that approach over the NAS as it could be a relatively modest server that could provide many other functions - you might even want to consider moving the database back-end to SQL Server Express.
    Wendell

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    Wendell,

    Many thanks for your reply.

    I will look at the startup settings for both PC's as well as the memory on PC1. I know this could depend on the spec of the PC's, but what size memory in your view should we be looking at?

    Cheers,

    Niven

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    [quote name='Niven' post='795034' date='26-Sep-2009 12:42']... but what size memory in your view should we be looking at?[/quote]
    I would insist on 512 MBytes, but if you can get 1 GByte even better (on XP). Should they decide to upgrade to Win7 or Vista, a minimum of 1 GByte, and preferabl2 to 4 GBytes
    Wendell

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    Wendell,

    Many thanks again, I believe the PC's may already have 512Mb, but one thing I am going to change for them is the way their network is put together.

    They are using a 4 port internet router at present to connect their pc's, so am going to put in a Switch and have the the pc's, router and printers all effectively hanging off this.

    As for the server, it depends on their budget. Is a NAS box an option at all? It had been suggested to me as a cheaper alternative, but having never seen this type of setup am bit wary as to investing in something that may not actually work.

    Cheers again,

    Niven

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    A NAS could be used to store the database back-end, but my view is they are more appropriate for backup. Typically they aren't optimized for fast retrieval of information such as you might have in a database. And with Access being a file type of database, if you need a table for a query, it will pull the entire table over if the query involves more than two tables. That's the beauty of a server database such as SQL Server. It runs the query for you and then passes the result - assuming it has been optimized. And the Express version will run on very modest PCs. We have a situation where we have a web app that hits a single processor system with 1GB of memory. It is used by some 800 persons, and we get adequate performance during all the busiest time periods. We plan to upgrade it shortly to improve that by going multi-processor and 4GB of memory.
    Wendell

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    Wendell,

    Many thanks again for the info. Most appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Niven

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    Wendall, a very interesting reply; can I follow up with a supplementary question regarding the database splitter? I have 2 pc's - pc1 and pc2. I want to split the client database so that there is a front end on pc1. Having done that do I, just, copy the front end files from pc1 to a (same/similar) location on pc2? Do the references in the queries and forms change to reflect this movement please?
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/StephenElms_sig.jpg> Didn't think that I made my first post here on 5th February 2001...!

  9. #9
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    It doesn't really matter where the frontend is, as long as the backend remains in the same location.

  10. #10
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    [quote name='WendellB' post='795169' date='27-Sep-2009 18:59']A NAS could be used to store the database back-end, but my view is they are more appropriate for backup. Typically they aren't optimized for fast retrieval of information such as you might have in a database. And with Access being a file type of database, if you need a table for a query, it will pull the entire table over if the query involves more than two tables. That's the beauty of a server database such as SQL Server. It runs the query for you and then passes the result - assuming it has been optimized. And the Express version will run on very modest PCs. We have a situation where we have a web app that hits a single processor system with 1GB of memory. It is used by some 800 persons, and we get adequate performance during all the busiest time periods. We plan to upgrade it shortly to improve that by going multi-processor and 4GB of memory.[/quote]


    Wendell,

    I don't know if I did something wrong, but I downloaded SQL Server Express and it has caused my PC to crash each time I've logged on.

    I've retrieved a last good login and am logging in ok. However, I tried to uninstall SQL SERVER Express and lo and behold my PC crashes instantly.

    Have you any experience of this?

    Cheers

    Nive

  11. #11
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    [quote name='Niven' post='795380' date='28-Sep-2009 15:00']Wendell,

    I don't know if I did something wrong, but I downloaded SQL Server Express and it has caused my PC to crash each time I've logged on.

    I've retrieved a last good login and am logging in ok. However, I tried to uninstall SQL SERVER Express and lo and behold my PC crashes instantly.

    Have you any experience of this?

    Cheers

    Nive[/quote]
    No, I've not seen that behavior, either in running SQL Server Express, or in uninstalling it. I presume you did more that just download it, and that you installed it. Is it possible you are running short on disk space somewhere, or that there was some other problem that prevented the install from working? Also, what OS are you running on your PC?
    Wendell

  12. #12
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    [quote name='Niven' post='795050' date='26-Sep-2009 17:12']Many thanks again, I believe the PC's may already have 512Mb, but one thing I am going to change for them is the way their network is put together.

    They are using a 4 port internet router at present to connect their pc's, so am going to put in a Switch and have the the pc's, router and printers all effectively hanging off this.

    As for the server, it depends on their budget. Is a NAS box an option at all? It had been suggested to me as a cheaper alternative, but having never seen this type of setup am bit wary as to investing in something that may not actually work.[/quote]
    I've used Access many times in peer-to-peer situations, so I know it can run just fine (especially for only 2 users). A stand-alone server is not required.

    As Wendell suggested, make sure each PC has a copy of the frontend with the backend residing on the "server" PC. And I'd make sure that PC has at least 2GB of memory (and 1GB of memory on the other PC would be helpful). Is anything else running on the "server" that might be using memory? If so, maybe more than 2GB is required. Also, check the amount of disk space and disk fragmentation on the "server".
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

  13. #13
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    [quote name='WendellB' post='795468' date='29-Sep-2009 13:52']No, I've not seen that behavior, either in running SQL Server Express, or in uninstalling it. I presume you did more that just download it, and that you installed it. Is it possible you are running short on disk space somewhere, or that there was some other problem that prevented the install from working? Also, what OS are you running on your PC?[/quote]


    Wendell,

    Disk space is fine and my OS is XP. I may try downloading and reinstalling, but am a bit worried about getting the blue screen again and not being able to recover.

  14. #14
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    [quote name='MarkLiquorman' post='795540' date='29-Sep-2009 19:49']I've used Access many times in peer-to-peer situations, so I know it can run just fine (especially for only 2 users). A stand-alone server is not required.

    As Wendell suggested, make sure each PC has a copy of the frontend with the backend residing on the "server" PC. And I'd make sure that PC has at least 2GB of memory (and 1GB of memory on the other PC would be helpful). Is anything else running on the "server" that might be using memory? If so, maybe more than 2GB is required. Also, check the amount of disk space and disk fragmentation on the "server".[/quote]


    Mark,

    Many thanks your reply.

    How do you go about connecting to the server PC? Do you map a drive or do you use another method? Sorry, I've never messed about with peer to peer networking, I've always had the luxury of networks already setup for me. So far with this installation I just mapped a drive, 'X', in this instance to the folder where the back end is. I'm having to reinstall Office 2003 on the 2nd pc as it has corrupted somehow, throws out all sorts of errors when loading any Office app and won't let me link the back end in.

    Cheers,

    Niven

  15. #15
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    [quote name='Niven' post='795595' date='29-Sep-2009 19:27']How do you go about connecting to the server PC? Do you map a drive or do you use another method? Sorry, I've never messed about with peer to peer networking, I've always had the luxury of networks already setup for me. So far with this installation I just mapped a drive, 'X', in this instance to the folder where the back end is. I'm having to reinstall Office 2003 on the 2nd pc as it has corrupted somehow, throws out all sorts of errors when loading any Office app and won't let me link the back end in.[/quote]
    You can use a mapped drive, but I don't like to. I often work with situations that have more workstations, and I don't want to rely on each one having the same drive mapping.

    I prefer to link using the UNC. So when you go to link the frontend to the backend, locate the backend by using Network Neighborhood (or Network Places, or whatever they are calling it know). Locate the Server, then work down to the drive, folder, and database. The resulting connection string might look something like: \\Server\data\something.mdb

    The convenient thing about linking this way is that once you have linked one workstation, you can just copy the frontend to the other workstation and it is ready to go; no re-linking required.
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

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