How to Use Access with Cloud Database Backend?

Microsoft Access has been used as the preferred database management system for decades to create sophisticated, feature-rich, and fully functional applications at low costs. Users can take advantage of customized LOB (line of business) applications that can be built and deployed quickly using Microsoft Access. As businesses expand and employ distributed teams, there is an increasing demand for remote use of Access databases.

The challenge with traditional Access databases is that the software has to be installed on physical computers. This restricts accessibility from other devices such as Chromebooks, Macs, and iPads. In this article, we will present a method to use Microsoft Access with a cloud database backend.

What Are the Advantages of Deploying Access Backend Database in the Cloud?

Using Access backend database in the cloud simplifies the process of creating, testing, hosting, and deploying applications. Here are some of the most important advantages of Microsoft Access backend database cloud hosting.

  • It allows businesses to deploy Access applications over the internet.
  • Businesses will not have to worry about hardware and deployment issues around Access applications, and instead focus on building solutions.
  • It facilitates scaling the usage of Access applications using SQL Server databases deployed on one or more servers available at transparent subscription-based prices.
  • There are virtually no overheads in procuring licenses, hardware, and infrastructure, and maintenance.
  • Even though the Azure database is deployed elsewhere, it is much more secure with Azure Firewall than hosting it on-premises.

How to Use Microsoft Access with Cloud-Based Azure SQL Server Backend?

Unlike traditional SQL Server deployments, Access developers do not have to install the product on computers. While admins can use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to manage the hosted database, end-users can take advantage of Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) to use the Access database linked to SQL Azure. Here is how businesses can connect Microsoft Access with Azure SQL Server cloud database backend.

  • Log in to the Azure portal, and create an SQL Azure database instance.
  • Install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for the appropriate version of the Microsoft SQL Server, along with a recent version of Microsoft SQL Server Express.
  • Run the ODBC Administrator tool from the control panel.
  • Define the DSN (data source name) at the user, system (machine), or file level.
  • Create a new data source name (DSN) using Azure SQL Server, which could look similar to *
  • Provide the credentials for the newly created Azure SQL Server database, configure the appropriate settings, and click on Finish.
  • Once the file with the DSN for the SQL Azure database has been created, Access databases can be linked to tables in the Azure database from the ODBC Database option under the External Data ribbon.
  • Specify the data source by selecting the DSN file that was previously created, and then select the tables.
  • On authenticating the connection, Access will have a database with tables and views linked to SQL Azure.




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Apps4Rent Can Help with Access Hosting

With the backend database hosted in the cloud, Access runtime can be used by several users in different locations. However, one of the challenges involved in migrating on-premises Access databases to the cloud is that it is not possible to lift and shift the existing accdb back-end files from one location to another.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Apps4Rent can help businesses upgrade their on-premises Access database to the cloud. We can also provide managed Azure services to take advantage of Azure SQL Server for better scalability. Contact our Access modernization consultants, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.

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