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What mac computer should I use?


ibiubu

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I have been hosting our FM solution on a iMac 700mhz G3 for about a year. This machine is dedicated to this sole purchase. It is running OSX 10.2.8. Originally it was running Unlimited with about 12 relational files. Served up to about 5 local users on our office network as well as serving pages via web companion to the internet. I had the occasional crash. Usually it would be Filemaker that would quit. I would just have to relaunch it.

Over the past 2 months I added 5 new relational files to expand on the web files being served up. All of a sudden the computer is crashing almost daily. Not just Filemaker crashing, but the whole computer is locking up. It does not seem to be necessarily related to usage load. For example, this weekend it has locked up 3 times. I walk up to the computer, black screen...like it is asleep. But move the mouse, hit the keyboard...nothing. have to restart the computer. no local users in the office using it. maybe the occasional hit from the internet.

Looking for someone with experience with different size solutions. Running 17 different FM files, is this just too much for this older iMac to handle? Should I go to a G machine? Or should my machine not be crashing so often, and instead of running too much FM could it just be something wrong with the computer itself that I should be looking at? What are some of your experiences?

Larry

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There are known issues running FM server on OSX. You would be better to install OS9.2 or OS8.6 on the machine. Other than that, the only thing I would be concerned about is the hard drive. I don't think the disks supplied on iMacs were ever designed for server duty.

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Apple's "consumer" products -- like the iMac -- usually have slower hard drives and internal busses to save money. However for a FM server, raw clock speed is less important that disk speed, because FM is very disk intensive. FMS spends it's time moving information from disk to network, so internal bus speed is also important.

So changing to a G4, even a modest one, will probably realise a significant performance boost.

However, even the iMac should be stable. Bob's suggestion to change back to OS9 might be worth trying, but it might not be possible.

I have an old G4 (400MHz AGP Graphics) running 10.1.5 with FMP Unlimited 6.0v4 and the recently released Web Companion 6.0v2. It has a fair bit of use on an intranet with a couple of hundred web users, and it's stable. Part of that might be that the files are hosted on another machine running FM Server, and are opened as a guest on the G4 (the Web Security databases are opened locally of course).

So for the moment I'd suggest you get the iMac stabilised. It shouldn't be crashing often if it's set up correctly.

Another thought: is the Energy Saver preference in MacOS X set for the computer to never sleep, and not to put the hard disk to sleep?

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Hi Larry,

Bob is right...

- use MacOS 9.2 (NOT OS9 in OSX Classic mode) with FileMaker Pro Server, FileMaker Pro (as a server), or FileMaker Pro Unlimited (as a web server)

- use faster hard drives (15,000 rpm, SCSI-160 is best)

In addition...

- faster is better... buy a G-4 as the server (G-5 only has OS9 in Classic mode)

- use FileMaker Pro Server for FMP files on one computer

- use FileMaker Pro Unlimited for web pages on another computer

- use 256 MB of RAM minimum

- use high speed switched network (100 Mb or 1000 Mb)

- use high speed Internet connection (NOT dial-up)

- don't use the server computers as a workstations

- don't use any other server functions on the server computers

There are too many other items to discuss about your network and the design of your FileMaker system. For the number of users you have, you should be fine with the above items.

Good Luck!

Bob Kundinger

[email protected]

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Oops, I just realized that this is FM Unlimited crashing, not FM Server. To my knowledge the only configuration that FMI acknowledges a problem with, is FM Server on OSX, not FM Unlimited. Even so, that doesn't necessarily mean there aren't other problems.

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Hi Bob,

For simplicity and ease of support... I have delayed the deployment of any FMP server functions to Apple's MacOSX at my client organizations. When FileMaker gets their "stuff" together... I wil make the recommendation to my clients to make the move. In the meantime... everything is going good.

Oh, Yeah... ever get down here? You not that far from where I live... heck, we're neighbors!

Later...

Bob

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Oh yeah, I never noticed your address before. Haven't been to Bismarck. I was working on a job in Grand Forks last year. And when I was a kid (just a couple of years ago smile.gif ), our family used to go to Minot (the tropical south) quite often for a little holiday.

BTW, I agree about OSX. I'm still running OS8.6 and OS9.2, as are all my clients. But, it looks like Panther may finally be the version that makes me switch. Plus Epson has finally released a native OSX driver for my Color 3000 printer. I expect that when FMI finally releases version 7 (or X?) it will resolve a number OSX problems (and no doubt create a bunch of new ones).

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Bob,

I agree... FMI needs to do a better job with OSX compatibility... they're part of Apple for Heaven's Sake! Fixing old issues does create new ones... don't you just love technology.

Minot, hmmm... I used to live there off & on over the course of the last 40 years. That said... I bet you can't guess where in Minot!

Grand Forks... I get there on occasion... maybe once every two to three months.

Later, Bob

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RE: I agree... FMI needs to do a better job with OSX compatibility... they're part of Apple for Heaven's Sake! Fixing old issues does create new ones... don't you just love technology.

I am living under impressions, that latest Mac X are not showing much problems with FM. IMHO Apple is the culprit of that problems, because FM didn't change the FM and as was reported by users here, problems dramatically decreased.

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Good tips everyone. I will definately look to split out the files. One machine for FM users, one for web. This of course means a substantial outlay, not only in the extra machine, but now it both the server and unlimited version of FM. PS. Dont you just hate that you have to pony up twice...once for the server version and then again for the unlimited. Should not a TRUE server version do both.

in the meantime for economics I think I will give a shot at upgrading the machine from 10.2 to Panther 10.3 and see if that stabalizes things.

LR

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  • 3 weeks later...

ibiubu

You mention it was crashing often on the weekend - do you turn your office air conditioning off over the weekend? I was having crashing problems with a G3 imac running Unlimited, which was much worse over the weekend. I simply raised the thing off the desk for a bit more air-flow & the crashing stopped. Remember, those G3 imac's don't have a fan.

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