Time Clock MTS Backend Databases
Just What is the Time Clock MTS Backend Database?
The 'backend database' is the data store in which all global Time Clock MTS information is stored. This data store is used by the main Time Clock MTS program and the Time Clock MTS Clients. In default form Time Clock MTS uses a Microsoft Access 2000 database as a backend database, but you do not actually need MS Access to run it. With Enhanced Database support enabled Time Clock MTS can use an SQL Server, MSDE, SQL Express, or MySQL database as a backend.
Microsoft Access Backend Database
By default Time Clock MTS uses an MS Access database as a backend datastore. This has several advantages. It's easy to setup, it's cheap, and if you have MS Access it's easy to generate your own reports using the Access report builder. It does, however, have it's failings. File permissions can be an issue as you need to give full access to the folder the database is in. Also, Access can really only support 25-30 database connections reliably. Finally, while MS Access is a fine product it is not specifically designed for multi user access and on occasion data corruption can occur. Rest assured that this is very infrequent, in 3 years with more than 2000 companies using our software we have seen it happen less than 20 times. In each case the data was 100% recoverable in just a few minutes.
The upshot of this is if you are happy to do a bit of basic network configuration and you only want to support a few users then the standard MS Access database backend is a fine option. However if you want better reliability and speed, or want to support more than 20 client connections then you should consider the SQL Server or MySQL backend database.
Time Clock MTS System Options Screen
SQL Server, MSDE, SQL Express Backend Database
SQL Server is a relational database management system released by Microsoft. This sounds complicated but in reality all it means is that it is a database that runs as an active process on a server somewhere. This is different to MS Access which is a simple file based database. The practical upshot of using MS SQL Server is that you get a product that can hold a lot more data, has built in integrity and backup routines, can support many concurrent connections to the database, and is a lot faster. If you are looking for robustness, speed, and greater connectivity then the SQL Server database backend is a far superior solution to the MS Access system.
Time Clock MTS Client Database Connection Wizard
MySQL Backend Database
MySQL is one of the most popular enterprise database systems in the world. It is robust, fast, and reliable, and best of all there are free versions available. If your company currently uses MySQL then you can achieve the same sorts of reliability and speed that you do with SQL Server. Similar to SQL Server MySQL allows you to get a product that can hold a lot more data, has built in integrity and backup routines, can support many concurrent connections to the database, and is a lot faster. If you are looking for robustness, speed, and greater connectivity then the MySQL database backend is a far superior solution to the MS Access system.
What's the Best Solution?
If you have SQL Server or MySQL then using either of these as the backend database for Time Clock MTS is by far and away the best solution. It requires more configuration and setup initially but in the long run will prove a much better solution. If you dont already own SQL Server or unwilling to install and administer MySQL then MS Access is the only way to go. It is still a good, reliable, and proven solution but it is not the 'industrial strength' solution that SQL Server and MySQL can be. If you require more than 20 Time Clock MTS Clients in your office, then the SQL Server or MySQL backend is the only solution. If you don't own SQL Server then you should think about getting it or getting someone in your organization to learn how to install and administer MySQL!