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Mac FMP 6.04 on G5 or G4?


paulnyc
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I am currently hosting a FMP 6.04 database system on a G4 933Mhz in OS 9.2.2 (Hardware RAID), which serves a maximum of 3 mac clients. I am also hosting the image server on this machine so file sharing is on and performance is slow. I have read the FMP Server Best Practices pdf and understand that image serving and database serving are best done on separate machines.

Now I have the opportunity to upgrade the hardware and I am thinking about migrating to a G5 machine running panther with a firewire 800 RAID storing the databases (and/or images). What I would like to know is if I split the database serving and image serving between a G5 box running panther and the same G4 box above upgraded to Panther, which machine would be best for performance. Or if we bought a dual processor G5 machine instead of a single processor box, would it be able to handle both the image serving and database hosting together?

FYI, the databases are quite modest, (about 15 open at a time, all with less than 2000 records). The inventory database is the one that shows the thumbnails and stores the links to the images about 1500 2Mb Jpeg files. Not more than 3 mac clients (OS9 and Panther) accessing the host at one time. The network is 100/1000 with a gigabit switch.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Version: v6.x

Platform: Mac OS X Panther

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Hi, Paul! I'm probably not the best person to answer this since I don't know Server and haven't used a separate image server before, but I can't understand why a G4 with a RAID would be slow. FileMaker is a relatively humble software product. The only think I can think of is that Mac OS 9 memory settings may need adjusting. Every app/utility in OS 9 had to be configured individually since the defaults were always inadequate and fixed (FILE > GET INFO > MEMORY). Check to see if FMP has enough on both your server and clients. Mac OS X does not have this liability and dynamically distributes RAM as it is needed.

This is not a web solution, right? If it were, I would suggest testing how fast apache serves those images to compare to how fast FMP Web Companion does. 2 MB jpeg files are pretty big and if it feels slow because of the time it takes to render those images, it might be the client machines that need the upgrade and not the server.

Just a thought and wild guess.... hope it works out or someone has a better lead for you...

--ST

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Hi,

Having a dual processor G5 will not make a significant difference in relation to the issues you're weighing, because neither FileMaker nor file sharing are CPU intensive (both depend on I/O performance primarily) and in fact versions of FileMaker prior to v7 do not substantially leverage dual processor capabilities.

I'd say that the chief issues to consider are:

a) the competition for network and I/O resources between the two activities (database serving and file serving

: the potential reduction in stability when additional processes are competing on a single processor

c) last but not least, the dangers of corruption and/or of multiple copies of the files being created when file sharing is enabled on a machine that hosts dbs

For all these reasons, I'd say that the first priority should be to move the activities onto separate machines. Given the level of activity you've outlined, I'd guess that you will find the performance and stability adequate if you continue to host the Database from the G4, after the file serving has been relocated to another machine. wink.gif

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Ray,

You make some good points. I certainly agree that a dual-processor G5 is a waste for my database system. After finally reaching a Filemaker tech support person, I was told that I probably would be better off splitting the database serving and file sharing, but a fast I/O G5 with panther and a raid for the images would do a helluva lot better than my lowly g4 in os9 now. So I'm going to have to experiment. My first choice would be to run everything from a G5 1.8 with RAID and my second choice would be to put the databases on the G4 with panther and the images on the G5 with a RAID.

Paul

Version: v6.x

Platform: Mac OS 9

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Paul:

Just to reiterate what Ray said:

You are definitely best off with the images on the G5 and the databases on the G4. I've got clients who host their databases - much larger than yours - on beige G3/233 towers running OS 8.6, and because the I/O systems are extremely fast, the FM Server works very quickly. So your G4, as a CPU, is fine. You may experience some slowdown due to using a FireWire RAID (internal SCSI, or ultra-wide SCSI would be better) but your real hit is coming from having File Sharing on (which is a slowdown no matter what) and from running something other than FM Server (which is a killer.)

As far as using the G5 as an image server, well, I think that's probably overkill, too. Once again, there's not a lot of CPU usage going on there; it's all I/O... of course, if money's no object, then why not.

Regardless, you will see a vast improvement in stability and speed if you split the FM Server and image server to two different machines, no matter what kind of box they are.

-Stanley

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