Our school in Delhi (India) wants to develop a professional and robust in-house database (SIS) that should handle vast amount of student information, including admissions, registration, re-enrollment, student behavior management and grading. We noticed that over-the-shelf products are unable to complete our specific tasks without major customization and costs. Hence, we decided to develop this ourselves since we have full control as to how we want our information to be reported to our education board (as per their specifications) and have control on our complex grading system (which is continuously updated to meet the dynamic benchmark needs of our education board).

We have begun using MS Access and is still in the primary stages of development. We want to know whether we should use MS Access as a front-end and SQL Server as a back-end DB since we want to accomplish the following:

  1. Ability for 80+ employee users to simultaneously access, post, update and delete customer records within the SIS DB (on campus).

  2. Ability for our SIS DB to have web-based functionality with a student login portal integrated within our school website so 1080+ students can simultaneously access a specific web-based DB form from their homes (by using the student login portal) for updating personal records, checking grades, and other performance summaries.

  3. Ability for our SIS DB to be highly secure and functional 24/7 without interruptions and security breeches (we read that MS Access alone cannot accomplish this).

  4. Ability to integrate our SIS DB with another in-house database that will provide digital learning materials to students within the comfort of their homes (also accessed through student login portal). The digital learning materials DB is another DB we are creating that should have ability to store 100 GBs worth of multi-media materials.

  5. Ability for data to be quickly pulled from tables to the GUI without delay.

A major factor for our school in this matter is COST. They want to create the DB under USD 1,500 and would like to have many users being able to access this system at the same time. Please help me to decide how I should go about this situation, both performance-wise and cost-wise. I apologize for the long details provided. I am really confused and would deeply appreciate if any one could help me on this matter.

In addition, we wanted our forms to be professional like the ones seen in major DB systems. We noticed that Access can create forms but only to a certain extent. Is there any other system programming-friendly platforms we can use for creating highly complex and professional DB forms (lke Visual Studio, for example)? Help on this subject as well will be extremely appreciated.


closed as too broad by Mat, marc_s, Mark Storey-Smith, Martin Smith, Marian Jan 20 '14 at 12:17

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This sounds like an enormous project.

My advice is to go back and look again for an open source, off-the-shelf product that meets your main needs.

It is difficult to believe that your school is alone in its needs and that no-one else has similar requirements.

Even if you the system does not do everything you require, as long as it is built in an open way, with a sound underlying data model then you will be able to extend it with small additional components.

I would also be careful to manage expectations and let people know that the system will not meet all their needs to start with.

good luck!

  • 4
    +1, although given their $1500 budget I think disappointment is in store whatever path is taken... – AakashM Jan 20 '14 at 12:09

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