All m-power data is stored in a "back end" database - equivalent to around 600 separate spreadsheets linked together
When you use an M-Power product in any of its formats, the system will connect to this database and retrieve your information
M-Power supports data storage in two types of databases - Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft Access Database
Microsoft Access is perfectly suitable for small to medium sized businesses, and it fast, affordable and easy to administer. It is however susceptible to an issue caused corruption which may damage individual lines in a table.
This will most commonly happen if a user is prompted with a message warning them that there is a record conflict and they choose over-write the data. Corruption can also happen due to power surges and network issues.
If corruption happens the database needs to be compacted and repaired - a simple process but you may lose the record that was overwritten with corrupt data
Some clients never have a corruption - for some others it happens often. This is mainly due to training issues when a user is prompted with a record conflict and choose NOT to discard their data. A record conflict happens when two people, or two different parts of M-Power try to update the same record at the same time.
SQL Server Express 2012
SQL Server is a database system that is widely used in the largest enterprises in the world. For smaller companies they offer a free product called SQL Server Express. This is the same product but with some limitations that will not affect small to medium sized companies
The key advantages of SQL Server are:
- Security - the system is very secure and access to the database and tables within the database is tightly controlled through permissions and logins and encryption
- Stability - the system does not corrupt and is very stable.
- Client/Server - your M-Power or website can access information from your database securely across the internet making it possible for much tighter integration with other elements of your business.
Compared to Access it does require more complex administration which may be reflected in higher support costs
Note: In some situations such as copying templates, SQL Server is slower the Microsoft Access backend.
Upgrading to SQL Server
We allow a day for upgrading an existing Microsoft Access Backend to SQL Server. This involves the following:
- Migrating the data to SQL Server - this can take some time if there is existing corruption in the database that must be found and fixed
- Downloading / installing and configuring SQL Server 2012 Express and Management Studio
- Creating scripts that create a login for each user, define the permissions of each user
- Connecting the M-Power front end to the SQL Server database
Installing and configuring SQL Server can be undertaken by your IT staff. We will migrate the data and connect the front ends and associated ODBC connections to the data.
If you need to connect to the SQL server from outside your company (for instance from a website / M-Power Visual Analytics / M-Power Schedule) you will need to open up the SQL server ports in your firewall and other configurations that are required by your IT people.