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Upgrade from MS Access to SQL Server

We have an application that has its database (Microsoft Access) set up locally in each office (20 across Canada) and are looking to upgrade to their SQL version. This new version would have the data located centrally in one office with all of the other offices remotely accessing it.

First, which version of SQL Server do we need (Standard or Enterprise) and what would be the best (cheapest) licensing format? The application will use Terminal server for some of the heavier maintenance forms and IIS for the Web forms (time entry and reporting).

Second, this is a live critical application where data loss and downtime is unacceptable. I am also interested in how to deal with a power outage or the possibility of the network going down where the main server is located. I don't have any SQL background, but I do have experience with other databases (no enterprise experience), and some programming experience.

Any help will be welcomed.

You've got a wide ranging question here, but it boils down to "What's the best approach for upgrading from Microsoft Access to SQL Server?" First of all, based on the limited information you've given me, you should be fine with the Standard Edition. It's much cheaper than Enterprise Edition and you only lose out on a few high-end features that you don't appear to need.

Your second issue is one of availability. The good news is that most of the availability features you're probably interested do ship with Standard Edition. Based on what you've told me, I'd encourage you to consider setting up a cluster. There's lots of documentation on clustering in the SQL Server books on-line.


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