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Upgrading from FM Pro Advanced 14


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Hi,

We're a very small business of 3 people, and since 2015 have been curating our internal database on Filemaker 14 Pro Advanced. We have it set up as follows:

  • iMac with Filemaker running, this is where the database file is saved. We have set it up with a static IP and can access if off site using the IP address of the office. It's still on an older OSX that can run 14.
  • Macbook Pro x2 - these now both run newer Mojave/Catalina, and although they can see the filemaker database we want to open remotely (or via the onsite network), it crashes on launch.

I'd say 90% of the time we work on the database from the iMac on site, but with lockdown it would have been great to access it remotely. At the very most, there'd be 3 of us accessing it at the same time, but most of the time it's just one of us (either in person or remotely). The database is roughly 3gb in size and growing, as we insert images and mp3 audio.

In terms of what we have at the moment, in 2015 we bought 3 Filemaker Pro Advanced 14 licences so that all 3 of us could access it at the same time from different computers.

What's our best option for upgrading? 

The 'cloud for teams' option looks too big for us, and is both subscription and contracted lengths of time. 'On Premise' for teams is similar, and both are for 5 users.

Single licence is what I believe we did with FM14 - do we definitely need more than 1 licence to continue to do what we're doing and accessing it off site?

We do have several Synology servers that we could use to host the database instead if that is better these days, although I don't know how to go about it, but having it on the iMac hasn't been problematic so far.

Thanks very much

 

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you can't use SYNOLOGY or any NAS as a server if you are hosting on premisses you will need a dedicated Mac or Windows server.

a five user license is $900 for on premisses annually - you could purchase that I can provide you hosting with a hosting provider for your files for about $85 per month including backups - 

I wouldn't use Mojave or Catalina on version anything less then version 17.

 

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Thanks for the reply. Great to know that Synology servers can't be used - I had wondered if that was the case.

As it's just the 3 of us, and 90% of the time we're using the software on site, the suggestion you've offered comes to just shy of 2000 a year, and seems like overkill for our needs.

If we were to buy 1-3 of the individual licences at £432 per licence, we could upgrade to 18 pro advanced for £1300 and unless something has changed, continue to access off site via the Launch Centre remote IP address login.

Is there anything that we would gain in going via the Cloud For Teams method and paying someone else to host?

Thanks

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4 hours ago, controlroom said:

If we were to buy 1-3 of the individual licences at £432 per licence, we could upgrade to 18 pro advanced for £1300

I'm not sure I follow your thinking here.  Typically the cost for a 5-user team license (that includes server) is less than buying 3 individual FMP copies.

 

4 hours ago, controlroom said:

Is there anything that we would gain in going via the Cloud For Teams method and paying someone else to host?

That question is probably too broad.

In general what you get from cloud hosting is that you rent infrastructure instead of buying it.  Plus someone else does the typical DevOps tasks (server patching, upgrades, monitoring, possibly the backups,...).  And your solution is accessible from anywhere without you having to configure your own firewall and router.

The downside is that you will not get the same internal network speed, you will be constrained by the available internet speeds.  Whether that is relevant for your solution or not depends on how it is built and what exactly you do with it.

Edited by Wim Decorte
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Wim Decorte said:

I'm not sure I follow your thinking here.  Typically the cost for a 5-user team license (that includes server) is less than buying 3 individual FMP copies.

Ah, perhaps I'm misunderstanding. From what Ocean West said, I had understood that the Filemaker 'Cloud for Teams package' did not include hosting, so would be £900 plus VAT, and then hosting as a cost on top of that.

https://store.filemaker.com

If that is the case, then taking Ocean's quote of $85 a month, that's about £770 a year for hosting, coming to £1670 a year plus VAT.

Buying the 3 individual licences at £420 each comes to £1260+VAT, which is cheaper, and a one off cost so doesn't cost us every year. We're on FM14 at the moment which I think we bought in late 2015, so we're 4+ years into that single purchase of 3 licences.

We already have computers that can run Filemaker, and do time machine/manual zipped backups of the database, so don't need to factor in the cost of computers or backup options. My main concern is that the current method we have of accessing off site I imagine isn't the most secure and may not continue to work a it is based on static IP and port forwarding.

Is there a way to have a proper off site access setup which is based on running Filemaker on our own computer?

 

Edited by controlroom
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29 minutes ago, controlroom said:

Is there a way to have a proper off site access setup which is based on running Filemaker on our own computer?

Sure.  The mechanics involved in setting up remote access are the same whether you are using a regular copy of FMP as the host, or using FileMaker Server.  It's all about port forwarding and opening firewall ports.  And the challenge of knowing what your external WAN IP address is and/or managing DNS.

But for the record: I would NEVER recommend hosting FM without the use of FileMaker Server.  It's just too fragile and in my experience it always end in pain.

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Thanks all.

 

We're still pondering how to go about it, as lockdown is making the logistics a bit harder than normal.

If we were to buy an individual license for 18, for a Catelina mac, would it be able to access remotely the FM14 database currently on our iMac or is there an issue with using different versions of the software?

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It won't work.  Recent versions of FM can connect to hosts that are no more than two versions back.  So your 18 wouldn't connect to 14.

Given how expensive a single copy of FMP is, you're probably better off buying the entry-level 5-user license.  That way you can upgrade everyone, plus you get FileMaker Server included.  Set that up where you want the host to be (on premise or on a cloud-hosted machine).

While it may seem more work than you're willing to bite off right now, it is not that hard and will set you up properly for now and for the future.

If your solution isn't constrained by the limitations of the FM Cloud product you could even consider that, which would cut down enormously on your initial setup.  But mind the limitations.

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