Do I need a server computer to use FileMaker Server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Bonch, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. Bonch macrumors 6502

    Bonch

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Lithuania
    #1
    Do I need a mac dedicated as a server (running Mac OSX Server) to use FileMaker Server? I didn't know if buying the software allows you to upload your file to one of their servers. Thanks.
     
  2. cwaddell2002 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #2
    when you buy FMServer you are buying a license to run their server software on one of your machines. If you need remote hosting of a filemaker solution I would google filemaker hosting, there are a number of companies that do it. I would make sure that you know fair amount about securing your filemaker solution through user privileges and such before you host a solution where unauthorized users could find it.

    If you feel that the FMServer license is a little steep, and want to do some more development before you make the financial commitment, you could join TechNet which gets you a developer serial for the server software that lets you test with 3 clients on a server.

    Any mac (meeting the hardware requirements) can be a fm server, you don't need a server copy of the os, however, it should be a dedicated machine that does nothing else. That said, a mac mini with an ssd is a pretty good solution for a fair number of users.
     
  3. Bonch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Bonch

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Lithuania
    #3
    Thank you. Is the main advantage of FM Server that multiple users can change the database at the same time? That is the feature I really need.

    I would like to buy a Mini to act as my server. Does it need a dedicated display? I've never had a server before. The mini has no BTO SSD option. Suggestions?

    Any other comments about how a novice should set up a server is appreciated. It will have 5 users, all off-site (over internet).
     
  4. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #4
    The Mini would be perfect for you, and you do not need a display. As for multiple users changing the DB, sure. You will need to get real familiar on the odd things about an FM server. I have one, and lets just say it's "different", but not impossible to understand. But not only will you need the server version, you will also require a FM Advanced copy, the highest version of the client. The user guide will answer all your questions.
    If you want to look them over, here they are.
    Client:
    http://www.leskern.net/Documentation.zip
    Server:
    http://www.leskern.net/English.zip
     
  5. cwaddell2002 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #5
    Why do you say he will need the Advanced copy of the client? I run a 16 client network at a trade show every year, and I know the clients are the standard copy. I do consider the advanced copy essential for designing and building a database, but not for clients.

    Separately to the OP

    You CAN share a FM solution from a computer running regular Filemaker to up to 10 clients, however, there are a number of disadvantages, and it is not what i would call a good long term solution by any means. If you really are interested I could elaborate on the disadvantages, but you should be able to find some pretty good discussions on the topic on google.

    Might I recommend you read the following about filemaker server backup strategies. It might be a little complicated for a first time user, but I think it communicates the concepts pretty clearly. I take no credit for it, but it is one of the links that comes up when you google fm backup strategies, and I found it quite helpful.

    http://www.rcconsulting.com/PDF/FMP_10_Backup%20Policy_rev8.pdf

    Let us know if you have any other questions, and good luck!
     
  6. Compton, Dec 17, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010

    Compton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #6
    I work in a research group and have been using Bento to organize my personal information like plasmid DNA sequences and such.

    My supervisor happened to see me using the program and was so impressed that he requested me to set up a similar system for the entire lab of 10 researches, some of whom use PC.

    I was considering switching to filemaker pro and then using a filemaker hosting service. Questions:

    1) Does the web interface allow searching the database entries or is it limited to data entry?
    2) If I make the database with filemaker pro and upload it to the hosting service, is the number of simultaneous users still limited to something like 5 like in the "instant web publish" service?
    3) Can I just modify the database structure (add/delete fields etc) on my computer and sync the new structure to the hosting service pretty easily by the press of a few buttons?
    4) Is the local "admin" copy on my computer kept in sync with the copy on the hosting provider; i.e. can I use the filemaker pro software on my computer to add data to the database seamlessly or should I use the web access like the rest of the team for routine data entering?
    5) Is web interaction with the database significantly more limited than using a local copy? I'm especially interested whether the users can use the web interface to add pictures to picture fields by using some kind of "browse file" dialog.

    Thanks.
     
  7. cwaddell2002 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #7
    A couple questions and some comments..
    1) The web interface is fairly full featured, however, in the scrip step dialogue there is a check box for which script steps are web enabled, so you should be able to develop scripts that do what you need.

    2)You shouldn't have a low web interface limit, but you should check with your hosting provider, many have plans offering different levels of clients

    3)Generally, I advocate a data separation model. One database contains your actual data, and one contains your scripts, interface layouts, etc. In general you don't want to change the database structure on a live database and there is not really any live syncing. If you needed to make changes, you would do it through the 'open remote' option. The advantage of separating the interface is that you can work on that and just upload new interface changes without affecting the underlying data.

    4)I think i sort of answer this above with the open remote option. When you do this, the filemaker database acts like it is local...just slower

    5)Web interaction doesn't have to be limited, but sometimes you have to script around web interface limitations - as a beginner that could be difficult for you (don't want to be discouraging tho...)

    Is there a reason you are attached to the web interface - do you want to avoid buying client copies of filemaker for all the users?

    Also - graphic files, you want to be sure that you are operating with a pretty high speed internet connection. As filemaker is going to need to move those files across the network, you may experience some latency when accessing layouts.

    Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions


    cw
     
  8. Compton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #8
    Not familiar with scripts but I reckon that I have to learn to use them.

    Good idea, thanks.

    One reason is that some people are uncomfortable in learning/using new programs. Entering or searching data in a web browser would probable be seen to be easier. Another factor is of course the cost of buying a group license for the software.

    It also occurred to me that a database like this might theoretically be marketable. I have some 10 research groups around me and in most of them the DNA sequences and other important data are scattered from hell to breakfast - many in personal notebooks or computer files that are practically impossible to locate by someone other than the owner/creator. Getting those 10 groups to buy licences for the program would probably be difficult but demoing and using the program through a web interface might be both inexpensive and easy and therefore an attractive option.

    I was first thinking that I could develop and maintain the service for several groups for a small fee but of course the other groups would probably be unwilling to let me see their data. Group licences for the software and a trained individual handling the dataset in each group would therefore probably be the most feasible option. But this is just playing around with the idea. I would be happy to come up with a working system just for our lab.
     

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