The paper presents an analytical model to allocate files and workload simultaneously among heterogeneous servers for a distributed database where the servers are connected by a local multi-access computer network. The allocation problem is presented in the form of a nonlinear integer programming model. The model incorporates both focal processing and communication overhead. The problem is proved to be NP-complete and thus a heuristic is developed. To illustrate its suitability, the heuristic is compared with an exhaustive enumeration method for small problems and with a genetic algorithm for large problems. Computational results demonstrate that the proposed model and heuristic provide effective database designs.