Microsoft Access Online: Why Is It Discontinued?

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    Is Microsoft Access going away? What should I do next?

    There was a time when Microsoft Access Online was a major player in the online data storage market. Small businesses would choose it for their human resources, payroll, and inventory control systems.

    Because most small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) were familiar with other Microsoft Office products – especially Excel – it meant that Microsoft Access (the desktop version) was the choice of database management system for them. When the cloud version was released it also meant that Microsoft Access Online was the obvious choice for an upgrade.

    In April 2018, Microsoft pulled the plug on Microsoft Access Online which left many businesses in a lurch. With the cloud database solution retired, the only options that were available to them were to either go back to the desktop version of Access or opt for Microsoft Power Apps – both of which were total disappointments.

    Why was Microsoft Access Online retired?

    According to sources, the main reasons Microsoft decided to retire the online database – also known as Microsoft Access Web Apps – were because:

    • It wouldn’t be able to work well with mobile apps
    • It wouldn’t be able to handle LOB (line-of business) data
    • It wouldn’t be able to keep up with requirements for an increase in the number of users

    In short, it was falling behind the demands it was required or expected to meet in a quickly evolving digital world.

    Apart from being retired, what issues existed?

    As if that weren’t enough, Access products were also known for drawbacks like:

    • Complexity – designing applications using the database was a tedious and daunting task
    • Need for tech knowhow – in most instances, you would need to know some coding or, at the very least, a tech background

    Plus, let’s face it, Microsoft isn’t exactly known for having a cheap price tag. Using their products, and especially this one, for a large number of users was really just not worth the investment.


    Microsoft access alternatives


    You should move to an online database application, here’s why

    Well, we’ve gone all through the drawbacks and downfall of Microsoft’s online database solution. Now, let’s have a look at what options are available to businesses, especially when they want to continue storing their data in the cloud.

    Again, losing your Microsoft Access Online database doesn’t mean you have to go back to the desktop version. In fact, that would be a mistake because:

    • Limited access – any desktop database would have severe limitations when it comes to remote accessibility. Infrastructures like Internet connections would have a direct effect on data availability. And this will primarily be a problem that concerns the business itself.
    • Less security – the security of the database and data also falls under the responsibilities of the business itself. Anyone that has tried it knows how keeping data secure can be a real pain as well as an expensive affair.
    • Deterioration of speed as data size increases – businesses have become data-hungry and every process needs to chew through gigabytes of data before it can be completed. This database wouldn’t be able to scale well should the need arise.
    • Designed for a smaller environment – Access was never built for such an environment and wouldn’t perform optimally in a larger LAN environment let alone on WAN or over the Internet.
    • Quite daunting database design and administration – today, there are database design solutions that can create awesome data storage and retrieval systems without the need to write a single line of code or script. This is the opposite of working with Access, online or otherwise
    • Data is limited to just 2GB – an insignificant amount in today’s world of data storage. The only way to get around this problem is to link tables in separate databases (each of which could be up to 2GB) in size. The other specifications don’t get any better.

    Even with compression and compacting, it becomes quite obvious that there are severe limitations to using this database.

    Here is an overview of the online database software Kohezion:

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