MS Access Client-Server Application (MDE)

The MS Access Client-Server configuration uses MS Access converted to an MDE format for deployment to End Users' desktops — which are connected to any ODBC-compliant datastore such as SQL Server or Oracle. The MS Access Client-Server design gains all the benefits of SQL Server while maintaining the application front-end in MS Access, and represents the most common MS Access migration approach.
Properly designed to use the Database Server performance and security, the MDE type MS Access Client-Server approach supports MS Access migration with rapid development, ease of maintenance, data transactions and fairly robust performance. MS Access or its runtime engine is required for deployment, and the End User can easily get direct access to the data tables and queries.
MS Access Client-Server (MDE) Scorecard
# End Users < 250 Supports continual use
Deployment LAN WAN or Internet use not recommended
Performance Good SQL Server design-dependent
Reliability Excellent SQL Server design-dependent
Data Integrity Excellent Assumes proper use of SQL Server database constraints and keys
Security Excellent SQL Server-level security controls
Data Limit Unlimited SQL Server datastore
Maintenance Med Need to maintain MS Access
# of Records Unlimited SQL Server datastore
Internet Access No Remote access will impede performance and reliability

MDE Access Client-Server Limitations

Typically deployed to a network share, MDE Access Client-Server applications are recommended for non-regulated, shared data across a LAN, for example, inter-department management of statistics and production analysis. MDE Access Client-Server applications are limited to LAN deployment. Large front-end applications can be slow to load over a WAN. The MS Access Client-Server approach does expose the data tables directly to the End User, which can present security or data integrity issues.