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budget friendly best practices

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I work with a non-profit youth ministry. We do not have the financial resources to pay for an optimal environment in most "recommended practices'. Currently, we are using a G4 eMac 1GHz w/ 768 MB ram with OsX 10.3.5 as our simple 'server'. We'll have about 15 clients connecting using FM6, all with only light use. Probably no more than 5 at any one time. Mainly due to cost factors, we'd like to only use one machine for all the below.

Here are a few of my questions:

1) we are using this computer for a small email server that automatically checks email (Entourage) every 3 minutes. (typically only 20-30 emails received a day) - what is the worst that will happen by doing this on the same machine? Only slow things down a little? a lot? cause possible corruption?

2) Can I use Instant Web Publishing (IWP) from the server so our staff who do not have a client version of FMP can have basic access to the database contents? If so, do I have FMServer running, hosting the database while having FM6 client on the same computer running so people can access the database via IWP, too?

3) I've heard, 'never have FMClient and FMServer running on the same machine'. Is this true? And why? Possible corruption, or just minor slowdowns?

4) Is there a proper way to open the database and shut it down when on the server to ensure that corruption does not occur? What seems as if it would be obvious, causes me fear because our database did get corrupted during this process once.

5) Is there a problem opening the database in FM6 client on the server computer when it is being hosted to others?

6) Is there a good resource out there that enables a developer to tack on Auditing or a Modification log to track what other clients have changed, in case I feel like I want to veto their changes and change the data back to what it was before their changes? Also a resource to add a delete button that flags a record for deletion?

7) We currently have a Bellsouth business DSL line. Is this enough throughput to host fast enough for most? If we got a traditional T-1 line, would this be a significant speed improvement?

Thank you so much for whatever tips you can provide to help us maintain stability while keeping our costs way down.


FMP 6.0 Unlimited client, FMP 5.5 Developer & FMServer 5.5v4

Using eMac; CPU: G4 (3.3); 1 CPU; CPU Speed: 1 GHz; L2 Cache: 256 KB; Memory: 768 MB; Bus Speed: 133 MHz; OsX 10.3.4

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Well, you have a lot in there. I'll tackle 2 & 3.

For IWP (or CWP) to work in version 5/6, FMP Unlimited has to be running on a separate computer from your server. You cannot safely open a file with FMP or Unlimited on the same computer that is serving it while it is being hosted. If you close the databases on the server first (using Server Admin,) you can then open the files on the server with FMP client.

P.S. How much does T1 service go for in your area? I'd think this would be the most expensive part of your installation.

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Ender - I'm not sure if it is with a company that will be here today, gone tomorrow, but $356/month for the T1. We have not changed over yet. Our 3-year overpriced DSL contract with Bellsouth costs about $350/month (a coworker signed that contract before I moved out here).

Thanks for the tips on #2 & #3!

Any other generous folks out there that will tackle some or all the others?

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The "must use different computers" thing is not true.

I have been successfully using FM6 Unlimited running on the same machine as FM6 Server for over a year. It works fine for light use. It is somewhat tricky, in that you need to make 100% sure your file references are all correct and set to "use relative pathname" -- otherwise FM6U may try to open related files from the disk, instead of through the 'network' with bad results. And of course, you must use "Open Remote" instead of "Open" when you start the file (I built a simple file opener to script it for me so I don't forget). It can be done. You will have many people preach gloom & doom to you, but it sounds to me like you can't afford to allay their fears :

Other cost savings ideas that I use:

1. Use an old Mac Powerbook as a server. Why? built-in UPS and uses much less electricity than a full desktop machine. A desktop machine can use $100 of juice a year if you have expensive electricity.

2. Buy a couple of cheap 2.5" powerbook drives and external firewire cases, and use the built-in Mac OS X RAID utility (inside Disk Utility) to create a cheap RAID-1 (mirroring) setup.

3. Use backup schedules to backup both to the RAID drive, and to the powerbook's internal drive.

4. Learn how to use the 'rsync' utility to back up to another machine over the network.

5. Speakeasy.net has a great mutli-IP DSL rate: http://www.speakeasy.net/ostg/?al=slashdot

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