> We're putting together a mission critical system for deployment to Asia.
> I've almost convinced my boss to deploy Interbase as the database engine,
> but the other two members of my team have come forward with a preference for
> using MS Access instead.

Okay. I use MS Access a LOT as a client (usually to Oracle). I would
hesitate though to use it mission critical situation. I cant comment whether
IB is better though. Are you taking Access as a "server" with a Delphi
via Jet/ODBC as the client? or just 
> What I need is some real-life stories of deploying and using Access which
> highlight the pros and cons of doing so.

> We'll be deploying a weather information system to Asia. It will have to be
> managed from here since we have no support on the ground up there. The main
> table in the DB will contain about 5000 records which will be totally
> replaced DAILY over the course of the day as new information becomes
> available. Other less volatile operational data will make up the rest of the
> database (about ten to fifteen tables in all).

5000 records is fine for Access. It seems to run out of steam at around
100,000 in my experience (memory dependent). Multiuser write access
has all kind of hassles, but it seems you mightnt need this. Let me
know if you want more on what happens and how to improve things.
Your biggest issue here will be fragmentation of the database. They will
need to compact the database periodically. Access doesnt do this by itself.
> We may want a scalable solution (management think "probably not" but...),
> but I'm not very keen on choosing Access just to provide an upgrade path to
> SQL Server, since I've heard nothing to make me feel optimistic about this
> process.

If your application isnt written for server in first place, then scaling up
is always a pain. If Access is also the client, then need to develop
VERY carefully to give any hope. Better still, if Access is client, then
develop it was SQL server or IB whatever in first place and DOWNSIZE
it to a separate access database. 

> I'm told we won't be neding a multi-user system as such, but since our app.
> will consist of several independant Exe.s and a Report Writer which need to
> talk to the DBMS, we'll have at least two or three connections running
> simultaneously.

Probably okay. Multiple writers are a problem. Access databases corrupt 
easily for reasons I have never been clear about. The repair function often
fixes everything though, but that is manual intervention. Good backup is
pretty essential.
If you have multiuser access clients, then I have more war stories.

Phil Scadden, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
PO Box 30368, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Ph +64 4 5704821, fax +64 4 5704603
    New Zealand Delphi Users group - Delphi List - [EMAIL PROTECTED]
                  Website: http://www.delphi.org.nz

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