Access runtime + retail for debug on RDS server deploy? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've worked in depth with Access almost since it came out and have used the older runtimes (A2003) on RDS/terminal services before. However I am not familiar with what might be considered viable paths for recent versions of the Access runtime on windows server 2012 R2 and later deploys via RDS. Can anyone here bring me up to date on the issues? In addition to the runtime I'd want a regular copy of Access to be installed on the same server for dev and debugging. I know this requirement can introduce some complexity to the decision, because CTR and msi don't mix, or don't always mix (still trying to figure all of that out)

    I have found some forum posts that don't add up to a solid perspective re what to expect. One person said that when they installed the runtime on a server that had retail Access 2016, the retail copy was removed and replaced by the runtime.

    I don't particularly need the latest version of Access. 2013 and forward would be fine, except that it's harder to purchase the older versions.

    With clients that use office 365 I switch off updates to Access because Microsoft has been introducing too many bugs with it. As far as the runtime goes, I have found nothing out there re how/if one can update the Office 365 Access runtime, or prevent it from updating.

    If the runtime presents too many complexities (aside from the usual caveats about runtime which I am aware of) I would consider purchasing Access standalone for the server. This site only needs 10-15 copies.
    Wednesday, April 15, 2020 3:28 PM

All replies

  • Still hoping for some input on this.
    Sunday, May 3, 2020 4:45 PM
  • I missed your post in first instance.

    On a terminal server, you can only legally install the Runtime, or the full version in its Volume Licensing flavor. A side-by-side installation would likely need to involve different versions, personally I would not go there and do all debugging and development on another machine (ideally on the same LAN, maybe even a VM on the TS so you can easily copy files and even connect to the same BE).

    To deploy, you would use split setup as always, with the FE in each user's profile, and the BE in a shared data folder on the same machine.

    Buying Office 365 and shutting off updates does not make much sense to me: you are essentially paying for frequent updates. You might want to consider semi-annual channel rather than the default monthly. All of our clients are now on that channel. Or you might consider a perpetual license like A2019 (no updates except for security fixes). I am not up on which versions of Office are available in Volume Licensing, but that may limit your options.

    The other upgrade you should consider is upsizing the BE to SQL Server. It will give you more stability, but it can be hard to retrofit an existing application that was never designed with that in mind. Express Edition can easily handle 15 users.

    -Tom. Microsoft Access MVP

    Sunday, May 3, 2020 9:51 PM
  • Thanks for that input. Your first sentence is complete news to me, I had no idea. I will explore the volume licensing options with a2019, probably, was trending that way already.

    This database happens to be one of only a few that I manage that have Access data stores. I'd expect that not to change as this system is probably EOL in 5 years and the owner is on the 'thrifty' side. In the 14 years this system has never corrupted, in part because the original dev made some good choices. Performance would benefit from the use of SQL Server bu the rework would be extensive.

    Wouldn't the semi-annual channel still risk introducing new, ugly bugs, and that those might take even longer to fix? Or does the semi-annual channel only forward a rendering of Access 365 that is known to be stable (ie sans recent changes)?

    • Edited by rusticloud Monday, May 4, 2020 2:46 AM
    Monday, May 4, 2020 2:36 AM