Feeds

Access isn’t a relational database

We're all related somehow

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

  1. If you are a hard-line relational theorist, you may feel that none of the mainstream database engines is strictly relational. In which case, Access is not relational.
  2. If you are consider the likes of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 etc. to be relational then you are accepting a more ‘real world’ definition of relational and you now have to decide whether Access falls within that set.
  3. If you decide it doesn’t, then you have to be able to show that Access supports significantly less of the model.

One trap worth avoiding is the use of arguments such as “Access isn’t relational because:

  • “it doesn’t support transactions;
  • “it can’t handle enough data;
  • “it isn’t robust enough;
  • “it is too slow;
  • “when it crashes the data can become corrupt because it doesn’t log the transactions;
  • “it comes from Microsoft and those guys don’t know anything about robust systems;
  • “it can’t handle more than about five concurrent users without running like a dog.”

The problem here is that these characteristics have nothing whatsoever to do with the relational model. It is perfectly true that stability, speed, high concurrency and the ability to handle large data sets are all eminently desirable features of a relational database system. But to associate them with the underlying data model is to misunderstand, at a very fundamental level, what the relational model is about.

According to Date, “the relational model is concerned with three aspects of data: data structure, data integrity and data manipulation.” - An Introduction to Database Systems, Addison-Wesley. The model says nothing about performance, data volume, numbers of concurrent users etc.

Indeed, to use these arguments to support the view that Access is not relational is like saying "Penguins aren’t birds because they can’t fly.” Whilst it is true that many birds can fly, aerial navigation is not part of the formal spec. for Class Aves.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?