When you start to think of whether to use Access or MySQL, the very first point to consider is "what do you need?" The features of Access and MySQL are almost in two different directions: Access can only be deployed in Microsoft Windows while MySQL is cross platform; Access is a Single-User Application while MySQL is a Multi-User Application and many more. To help you to decide whether to keep using Access or to migrate your data from Access to MySQL, I will illustrate some scenarios.
Migrate your Access data to MySQL when...
You want your data to be deployed with more flexibility. Data in MySQL can be accessible to more users through the web. With MySQL, people can use client program or other administrative tools to get access to your database by authentication. MySQL can also be integrated with a web server by web programming languages which provides a more flexible choice than Access alone. You can get your data from MySQL remotely from anywhere you want disregarding the platform, provided that the database is connected to the Internet and you have login names for it.%br%%br%
You are not the only person who control the data. Access is a single user program for local use. Although it has some sharing features, your data cannot be accessed concurrently in Access. MySQL is a multiple user program. It suits the situation in which you are not the only person who is controlling the data. MySQL is designed to work well in a networked environment and is capable of serving a number of clients.%br%%br%
You want your data secured and only accessed by authorized people. Access data is stored in a local machine and whenever the machine is left unattended, any foreigner may steal your data by copying it to a disk. Although Access does allow users to set a password to a database, it is not a necessity and many people neglect the process. MySQL requires authentication before opening a connection to a database. This enhances the security issue. It also allows user privilege settings which this can help database administrators easily manage the actions each particular user can perform.%br%%br%
Your database is large. MySQL is capable to manage much more data.%br%%br%
You don't want to be tied to Microsoft Windows anymore. MySQL is cross-platform. You can install MySQL on more than 20 platforms including Linux distributions, Mac OS X, UNIX and Microsoft Windows.%br%%br%
You want an open source database. MySQL can be obtained for free while Access cannot. MySQL is now licenced under the GPL license. You can obtain a free copy of MySQL if you are not using it for commercial purposes. For commercial organizations, the license is inexpensive compared to other databases on the market.
Do not migrate your Access data to MySQL when...
You want your data be easily portable.%br%Since Access is a local based program, you can take your data with your wherever you like by just copying the file into a disk. The file can be opened with an Access program installed in another computer.%br%%br%
You only need single user access to database%br%%br%
You prioritize the use of the reporting features of Access more than the database features of MySQL.%br%%br%
You feel very comfortable with the performance of Access.
After a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of Access and MySQL, you should now able to decide whether or not to move your data to MySQL. If you have decided to migrate your data, the following sections will teach you how to do so.