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rondawes

Newbie license question

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rondawes    0

Hello!  We are considering FM 16 (and other products) as a platform for a SaaS development and have a license question.  As far as I can tell the old "concurrent user" license model is gone.  We are contemplating building a public web based platform for hundreds (and hopefully thousands) of end users of our product to utilize on a weekly or possibly daily basis.  Our dev team is less than 5.  Does the new license model support something like that at a reasonable cost or is it only suitable for an enterprise type of model?  Thanks.

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Wim Decorte    456

No, the old concurrency is still there.  On the their website, follow the 'legacy' link.

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Josh Ormond    89

I think to purchase concurrent licenses, you need to contact FM Sales.

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IdealData    23

What you are describing is effectively COMMERCIAL HOSTING - which FMI has all but banned! Commercial hosting was invalidated through licensing terms from FM15 onwards.

In order for your customers to access your solution then each customer will require their own SERVER license, and consequently physical or virtual server. This is the current licensing terms for FM Server 15 onwards. You cannot host for multiple customers from the same license - in fact the FMI terms state that each server license must be named for the company that licensed it.

If you are a member of the FileMaker Solutions Alliance then you can host to many customers, however there are some hurdles to clear first!

FM14 and previous allowed commercial hosting and you will see considerable discussions generally on the web about the change. See also

http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/14994/~/filemaker-commercial-hosting-faq

"Reasonable cost?" - depends on how deep your pockets are!

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Wim Decorte    456
1 hour ago, IdealData said:

What you are describing is effectively COMMERCIAL HOSTING - which FMI has all but banned! Commercial hosting was invalidated through licensing terms from FM15 onwards.

In order for your customers to access your solution then each customer will require their own SERVER license

 

That's not how I understood @rondawes's setup.  Commercial hosting is where clients upload & host their own files on your infrastructure.  And in that scenario: yes: each client will need their own FMS and license.

But if all clients use rondawes's solution then it is not commercial hosting of the type that FMI restricts.

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rwoods    9
Posted (edited)

I agree with Wim.

The real problem is that FileMaker do not have a licensing model suitable for 'anonymous' users, especially if there are likely to be many of those on at any given time. You have to pay for each concurrent connection that you wish to allow, and this is the legacy licensing model.

FileMaker Licensing for Teams only goes up to 100 users, but is not designed for anonymous users, users must work for the named company.

In the UK on legacy licensing FM Server 16 + 100 connections is £19,798 + VAT (20%) per year, it's about £195 + VAT per concurrent user per year plus the base cost of the server. This is approximately 3 times the cost that it was per connection pre-FileMaker 15, and this is because 'connections' can now be used for FM Pro (for user connections), Go and WebDirect, whereas they used to be for Go and WebDirect only.

You could buy more than 100 connections on the legacy model, you'd have to contact FileMaker sales for that (or a reseller) but the price won't go down per connection very much.

For companies with many internal users they have the site license available which has a low price per user (and allows unlimited connections and installations up to the limits of the server), but that is for use only by employees of that company, not anonymous users.

FM licensing does not suit multiple anonymous users really, and that does lead some customers to different platforms.

 

Edited by rwoods

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Josh Ormond    89

@IdealData - commercial hosting was not banned. It was simply restricted, for security reasons, to a single customer running on a single instance of FMS. No more multiple customers on one server license.

@rwoods - Custom Web Publishing is still an open route for anonymous users. It works well, but WebDirect is simply not designed for that purpose, and put significantly more load on the server than CWP connections ( which are not persistent ).

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rwoods    9

Yes indeed CWP does get round all of that, as it doesn't count as a 'connection' when a web page requests info from your FileMaker data using CWP.

However, FileMaker will surely deprecate and cease supporting XML and PHP CWP within a few years, and it's not supported in FM Cloud, so I'm not sure I would embark on a big development project using those technologies right now.

The new Rest API model for communicating with FileMaker Server is 'the future' but I would suggest that a chargeable licensing model for that will come one day, and currently it is missing lots of useful features, not least of which is being able to run a FileMaker script.

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Josh Ormond    89

1. Nothing has said XML and PHP CWP will be deprecated. At some point, I'm sure it will. But I don't foresee that anytime soon. The scale of use is simply too large.

2. There absolutely will likely be a licensing model for the REST API...FMI said that. In fact, the licensing model actually gives them incentive to keep the PHP CWP options ( and likely XML ) for a while. Since the licensing will likely affect all CWP connections. The hope is that it is an all on or all off model. But unlimited connections, or don't use it at all. A tiered model would just be more confusion to an already confusing licensing structure.

3. Running scripts is already on the product Roadmap. And they are heavily vested in the REST API, and each version will see more and more added to it.

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rondawes    0

Thanks to those that responded for their informative and thoughtful responses.  It would appear that FM may not be the best platform for our use case.

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IdealData    23
Posted (edited)

Could I ask Wim and Josh to put some clarity on this...

I already have a solution hosted on my own server and I provide this as a service to my clients. The database was developed by myself and this is a fully managed service. I provide all methods of access (FMP/Go/WebD), however my clients must provide their own FMP clients if they want the full experience. WebD and Go are supplied through legacy Concurrent Connections and each client has their own instance of the database.

I do not allow my clients to host other files and the service is restricted to my product(s) only; customers don't have any form of administrative connection.

I'm presently on FMS14, but for the purposes of FMS15+...

Is that commercial hosting?? Is it breaking the rules??

Edited by IdealData

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Josh Ormond    89

Refer to this section of this document https://www.filemaker.com/company/legal/docs/hosting_faq.pdf

Quote

If I use FileMaker Server for commercial hosting, can I support multiple customers at a time using a single license of FileMaker Server? FileMaker Server 14 (and prior versions) Yes, however FileMaker strongly recommends that hosting companies do not support multiple customers at a time using a single license of FileMaker Server. The hosting company is responsible for using adequate hardware to ensure favorable performance and adequate security measures to ensure a secure customer experience. Please click here for additional information. FileMaker Server 15 and 16 No, as the EULA states, “If you provide commercial hosting, you may only allow one customer to access each Software license. You must obtain at least one FileMaker Server Software license for each customer that you provide hosting services.”

For clarification, “Solution Bundle Hosting” does not fall under the FileMaker Commercial Hosting restriction. Solution Bundle Hosting is where a hosting provider has developed and manages a single solution, and is offering that same solution to multiple customers. The hosting provider must be both the solution administrator and the server administrator. Customers cannot access the Operating System (OS) or the FileMaker Admin Console and cannot modify the solution or install any plug-ins. The hosting company is responsible for adequate security measures and user credential management.

 

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IdealData    23

Wim's opinion differs.

Any comment Wim?

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Wim Decorte    456

I don't see an opinion in Josh's reply. so mine doesn't differ :)

From the little I know from your description of your setup, I would think that the 2nd paragraph may apply.

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Josh Ormond    89

The description of what is allowed comes from FMI. It's somewhat difficult for us to tell you where you land regarding commercial hosting vs 'Solution Bundle Hosting'. But that FAQ gives you a checklist to figure it out. As Wim said, from your description, it seems like that paragraph applies to you. But only you know your full setup, and whether you fall under 'Solution Bundle Hosting'.

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