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Philly-To-London via Intranet?

My Philadelphia, PA (USA) client has a branch office in London that wants to use
one of the applications I've developed for them.

Staying with an MS Access front end,
I see 4 possibilities:
--------------------------------------------------
1) Have London VPN into a PC in Philly. Virtually
a sure thing at minimal cost - just a few extra
PCs on our end.

2) Leave everything as-is and see if the front end
can connect over the intranet without hopelessly
bogging down. I'm not real hopeful, but the cost
to try it seems near zero: I just VPN to one of
their boxes and give it a shot from London.

3) Move the back end to SQL Server, but still ODBC
to the tables. I don't know enough to judge
whether this is even worth trying. Anybody?

4) Move the back end to SQL Server and replace all
the application's JET queries/ODBC connections
with ADO calls to stored procedures. This seems
like the Good-Right-And-Holy Path - but probably
more expensive than the clients will want.
---------------------------------------------------
--
PeteCresswell
Apr 6 '06 #1
30 1604
Per (PeteCresswell) :
I see 4 possibilities:


Oops... make it 5:
-------------------------------------------------
5) Ship the whole system (front end, back end,
execution .BAT file...) to London and let
them run it independently there - but synchronize
the DB's nightly with a one-way copy (Philly => London).

This was the client's off-the-cuff request.

I don't like it because
- Long-term it seems like an ongoing daily task
- Somebody in London is sure to add their own data
to their copy of the back end only to have it go
"poof!" when the DB is replaced overnight - and
then request changes to the app that will let them
synchronize the DB both ways.
-------------------------------------------------
--
PeteCresswell
Apr 7 '06 #2
I'd try the VPN.

I had a client who wanted to have tighter security on an Access db 'cuz
they were going to VPN the branch offices into the main office. I
changed the back-end to SQL Server and all the queries to SQL pass-thru
queries (used DAO instead of ADO & an .adp). It took about 4 weeks to
convert all the queries to Views and Stored Procedures and to re-write
some set up routines, and then to transfer the data into SQL. Then it
took the Network people about 2 months to set up the VPN!!

I realized it would have been more efficient, money-wise, to just keep
the Access user security & let them VPN into the front-ends. So far the
VPN has been acceptable (at least I've not heard any complaints) - this
is a very low use DB - only sporadic heavy use at beginning of month.

You do know that each sign-in has to have their own copy of the
front-end (in a separate folder) on the server they are VPNing into?
--
MGFoster:::mgf0 0 <at> earthlink <decimal-point> net
Oakland, CA (USA)

(PeteCresswell) wrote:
My Philadelphia, PA (USA) client has a branch office in London that wants to use
one of the applications I've developed for them.

Staying with an MS Access front end,
I see 4 possibilities:
--------------------------------------------------
1) Have London VPN into a PC in Philly. Virtually
a sure thing at minimal cost - just a few extra
PCs on our end.

2) Leave everything as-is and see if the front end
can connect over the intranet without hopelessly
bogging down. I'm not real hopeful, but the cost
to try it seems near zero: I just VPN to one of
their boxes and give it a shot from London.

3) Move the back end to SQL Server, but still ODBC
to the tables. I don't know enough to judge
whether this is even worth trying. Anybody?

4) Move the back end to SQL Server and replace all
the application's JET queries/ODBC connections
with ADO calls to stored procedures. This seems
like the Good-Right-And-Holy Path - but probably
more expensive than the clients will want.
---------------------------------------------------

Apr 7 '06 #3
Per MGFoster:
You do know that each sign-in has to have their own copy of the
front-end (in a separate folder) on the server they are VPNing into?


I wasn't even thinking of something as sophisticated as a server - just an extra
dedicated PC for each user.

The server thing sounds like it would break my little deployment/work table
scheme.

All work tables are in C:\Temp - as is the local copy of the front end, which
gets downloaded/updated automagically by a .BAT file.

OTOH, nothing's impossible.... and maybe it would be beneficial to me to bite
the bullet, come to understand how the server environment works, and re-code
the execution stuff to deal with multiple identities on a single server.

Or... is there maybe some way for the server to define a virtual C: drive for
each user?
--
PeteCresswell
Apr 7 '06 #4
(PeteCresswell) wrote:
Per MGFoster:
You do know that each sign-in has to have their own copy of the
front-end (in a separate folder) on the server they are VPNing into?

I wasn't even thinking of something as sophisticated as a server - just an extra
dedicated PC for each user.

The server thing sounds like it would break my little deployment/work table
scheme.

All work tables are in C:\Temp - as is the local copy of the front end, which
gets downloaded/updated automagically by a .BAT file.

OTOH, nothing's impossible.... and maybe it would be beneficial to me to bite
the bullet, come to understand how the server environment works, and re-code
the execution stuff to deal with multiple identities on a single server.

Or... is there maybe some way for the server to define a virtual C: drive for
each user?


I don't know if it HAS to be on a server; that's just the way the
Network people set it up.
Apr 7 '06 #5

"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote

Others can advise you better than I about VPNing, but it seems a likely
"winner".
3) Move the back end to SQL Server, but still ODBC
to the tables. I don't know enough to judge
whether this is even worth trying. Anybody?
I've worked with Access clients using DAO/ODBC to various server databases
over WANs, since back in Access 2.0 days. When the users were connected via
a 56KB leased line, with multiple users sharing the line, performance was
lousy. When the primary users (the ones who did most of the data
entry/update were put on T-1 lines shared between multiple users, they were
"happy campers"). Another large user contingent, almost entirely just
reading and reporting were on whatever kind of WAN the client corporation
had set up, but not all their locations had T-1 lines.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP

4) Move the back end to SQL Server and replace all
the application's JET queries/ODBC connections
with ADO calls to stored procedures. This seems
like the Good-Right-And-Holy Path - but probably
more expensive than the clients will want.
---------------------------------------------------
--
PeteCresswell

Apr 7 '06 #6
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote in
news:fk******** *************** *********@4ax.c om:
1) Have London VPN into a PC in Philly. Virtually
a sure thing at minimal cost - just a few extra
PCs on our end.


With Windows Terminal Server this is by far the easiest thing to do.
That is the only way I'd implement branch office support of an app
with shared data these days.

Back in 1998, I had a client with offices in NYC and London (and two
outside consultants working at two separate locations in
Connecticutt). We did it with replication. We rejected
Citrix/Terminal Server as too expensive (it was coming in at
$900/remote user for software alone, not including
telecommunicati ons costs).

Today, the NYC office would host a Terminal Server and remote
offices/users would VPN into the NYC office and run the app on the
Terminal Server. Given that the NYC office had a T1 by the year
2000, this would have worked extremely well.

I wouldn't consider any other option at all. Terminal Server is just
way too easy.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Apr 7 '06 #7
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote in
news:55******** *************** *********@4ax.c om:
5) Ship the whole system (front end, back end,
execution .BAT file...) to London and let
them run it independently there - but synchronize
the DB's nightly with a one-way copy (Philly => London).


Indirect replication is also an option, but Terminal Server would be
far easier to implement.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Apr 7 '06 #8
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote in
news:gr******** *************** *********@4ax.c om:
The server thing sounds like it would break my little
deployment/work table scheme.

All work tables are in C:\Temp - as is the local copy of the front
end, which gets downloaded/updated automagically by a .BAT file.


In a Terminal Server environment, you could just put it in the
location referred to by the %TEMP% variable, which will be in the
profile of each user.

Since Win2K, no one should be placing any files anywhere but in the
approved locations. For data, that's in the user profile. For users,
that's in the PROGRAMS folder. It would seem that an Access app is a
program so that you'd put it in the PROGRAMS folder, but that is not
a good approach, as the MDB needs to be read/write, and by default
from Win2K on, the PROGRAMS folder is READ-ONLY for
non-administrative users. By putting your app in the PROGRAMS
folder, you're forcing your users to run as administrative users
(which is very bad from a security standpoint) or forcing an
administrator to change the default permissions on the folder where
your app is installed. It's better to put the MDB in user space,
instead.

This does make relinking somewhat more diffucult in that you have to
do it for each user installation (and multiple users of a single PC
will have multiple copies of the front end), but that is the proper
way to insure that your app will work for people logging in as users
and not as administrators. It's the proper way to engineer
applications for Windows.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Apr 7 '06 #9
Per David W. Fenton:
Indirect replication is also an option, but Terminal Server would be
far easier to implement.


Not sure of the distinction between "indirect" and just "replication".. . but
what I heard from one of our illuminati was that when replication goes bad, it
*really* goes bad... dunno exactly what that meant, but it kind of scared me
off.
--
PeteCresswell
Apr 8 '06 #10

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