6 Steps to Migrate Access Database to SQL Server - Windows ASP.NET Core Hosting 2024 | Review and ComparisonWindows ASP.NET Core Hosting 2024 | Review and Comparison

The amount of information you manage and store grows as your company or organization expands. Moving to a different Database Management System (DBMS) should be your first consideration as your database size gets close to the 2GB limit that MS Access allows.

The most widely used DBM systems available today are Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Azure Database, and SQL Server. These are a few excellent alternatives. In terms of the capacity to store and retrieve data reliably and safely, this DBMS has a lot to offer. Nonetheless, the transition to SQL Server will be considerably simpler because both MS Access and SQL Server are descendants of Microsoft products.

A straightforward, step-by-step tutorial on migrating from MS Access to SQL Server is provided in this article. We’ll also go over some of the benefits that SQL Server has over MS Access and offer insightful advice from professionals in database migration.

Why Do Companies Convert from Access to SQL Server Databases?

For a variety of reasons, including being thirty years outdated, MS Access is inadequate for handling enterprise-level data. In November 2017, Microsoft went so far as to announce that MS Access would be retired from its online productivity suite, but it later made a quiet change of heart. The most recent version of Access in Office 365 was launched in September 2020, but updates kept coming.

Despite the fact that MS Access is simpler to use, offers a straightforward method for building relational databases, and allows for the creation of fully functional data-centric applications using VBA, many businesses have continued to switch from MS Access to SQL Server over time.

This is due to the many advantages that SQL Server and associated database systems have over Microsoft Access. The same goes for Microsoft Access as it does for FoxPro, COBOL, and SQLBase.

For the following reasons, companies switch from Access to SQL Server in order to see the big picture:

1. Improved Security

Compared to MS Access, SQL Server is more secure. It offers a more secure method of storing sensitive information, such as addresses, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers, by using 128-bit encryption. It stores user and application data remotely using the same encryption algorithms.

Due to its corruption susceptibility, Access is simply intolerable to a lot of IT professionals and businesses. This implies that growing your company and locating new business partners will be more difficult.

2. Increased Availability

You can dynamically backup an incremental or full database while it’s being used with SQL Server. The advantage? Users do not need to be forced to leave the database during each backup session.

As one might expect, MS Access owners are unable to use this feature. This implies that the company will have to bear the costs of any hours, days, or even weeks that the database is unavailable.

3. Better Performance

Because SQL Server runs queries in parallel, it uses less memory, making it more efficient. In addition, the server supports massive, terabyte-sized databases and multiple concurrent users, whereas an Access database can only hold two gigabytes. Generally speaking, small, general tasks are best done via access.

4. Easy Maintenance

Better stability, integrity, and non-repudiation are provided by the SQL Server thanks to features like triggers, transaction logs, and repair procedures.

5. High Processing Speed

Because SQL Server uses a client/server architecture, it reduces network traffic and can handle large amounts of data with ease.

Access does not have the same capabilities as a database server because it is a file server.

6. Cooperation with Different DBMSs

The fact that Microsoft Access has a unique file format that is incompatible with all other systems is one of its issues. Microsoft exclusively enforces the.accdb format, which is exclusive to MS Access. Integration and communication with data types from other database systems are severely hampered by this.

Because of SQL Server’s strong interoperability with other database management systems, programmers can design secure, high-performing applications.

Steps to Migrate MS Access to SQL Server

The pre-migration and post-migration phases of the six main steps we’ll take to import the Access database to SQL Server are separated into distinct sections.

To guarantee a seamless transition, it is advisable to have an expert complete certain preparatory steps before taking on the first step. Since each table in SQL Server needs to have at least one index, these preparatory steps also include adding primary keys and table indexes.

If a linked table is ever to undergo an update, then it is required to have a primary key. Furthermore, it’s critical to confirm primary and foreign key relationships by making sure they correspond to table fields with compatible data types and sizes.

Finally, disabling attachment columns and doing a system-wide analysis could be beneficial. Considering that SSMA does not modify tables with attachment columns, this is crucial.

1. Assestment

To examine your database objects and the database itself, use SSMA. To accomplish this, launch SSMA for Access, select File, then New Project. Next, provide a project name and save location to store your work. Click OK after choosing a SQL Server migration target from the drop-down menu.

In the Access Metadata Explorer, right-click the database you wish to evaluate, then choose “Create Report.” It is recommended that you go over the report to find any mistakes and comprehend the conversion figures.

2. Validate the data types

It is necessary for you to either validate the default data types or modify your data types. Choose the mapping table tab after choosing ‘Project settings’ from the tools menu to modify your data types. To modify the mapping type of a table, select the table in Access Metadata Explorer.

3. Convert

Database object conversion involves taking the object definitions from the Access metadata, translating them into a Transact-SQL (T-SQL) equivalent, and then loading the data into the project.

Choose the ‘Connect to SQL Server‘ query and enter the connection details to achieve this. Right-click the database in Access Metadata Explorer and select “Convert Schema.”

When the conversion is finished, compare and examine the converted objects with the original objects to look for any possible issues and fix them with the help of the suggestions. Examine the errors in the Error List pane after selecting “Review results” in the output window.

Lastly, choose the File menu’s “Save Project” option. This step allows you to assess the source and target schemas offline and make any necessary changes before publishing the schema to SQL Server.

4. Migrate

Moving the Access database to SQL Server is finally time. Publicating the schema to the SQL Server that we converted in the previous step is the first thing to do in this situation. To publish the schema, right-click the database in SQL Server Metadata Explorer and choose “Synchronize with Database.”

Now look at how your target and source project relate to each other. In Access Metadata Explorer, right-click on the database or object you wish to migrate, then choose “migrate data.”

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As an alternative, select the “Data Migrate” tab. To migrate data for the entire database, check the box next to the database name. Click on the check boxes next to the tables to transfer data from individual tables. Open the database, expand Tables, and then select the tables you want to migrate. To remove a table, uncheck the boxes next to it. View the data migration report after the migration from Access to SQL Server is finished.

Right now To make sure the Microsoft Access to SQL Server migration went well, use SQL Server Management Studio to connect to your SQL Server instance and check the data and schema.

Post Migration Phase

The post-migration phase is essential for addressing workload performance issues, guaranteeing completeness, and resolving data accuracy and functionality issues.

5. Testing

Following the upgrade process, a number of tests need to be run for validation and verification, such as:

  • Constructing validation queries to be executed against the source and target databases in order to develop a validation test.
  • Assembling a test environment with copies of the target and source databases.
  • Comparing the source and the target in validation tests, then evaluating the outcomes.
  • Comparing and evaluating the outcomes of performance tests conducted against the source and the target.

After the migration, you might run into some problems, most of which have to do with queries, time and date, data types, attachments, hyperlinks, etc.

6. Optimize Performance

After the migration, you might run into some problems, most of which have to do with queries, time and date, data types, attachments, hyperlinks, etc.

  • Run quick, read-only queries on the client to get access the quickest.
  • To take advantage of the additional processing power, use the server to execute complex read/write queries.
  • By sending only the data you require over the network, filters and aggregation may be able to help you reduce traffic.
  • Reduce how much data you load into a report or form.
  • Local tables should be used for data that is not updated frequently.

Here it is, our comprehensive guide to effectively converting an Access database to SQL.