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Remote Database Access Suggestions


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I need to tap the collective wisdom re: good ways to provide FM database access to remote users who will be entering data, searching, etc., and possibly modifying the structure of the database (adding or modifying tables, fields, calculations, scripts, etc.)

The remote users will be one of the following flavors: 1) running FMP7 on a desktop OSX Mac or Windows XP machine from home with high speed Internet access; or 2) running FMP7 on the road with a OS X Mac or Windows XP laptop and who knows what access speed (but will have a Sprint Vision cell phone account).

The database of interest is currently hosted via FMP7 peer-to-peer sharing on an eMac (1.25Gz G4, 768MB of DDR SDRAM, relatively fast drives) dedicated to serving the database and lots of files to about 4 concurrent users all running FMP7 and OSX and connected via a 100Mbps ethernet LAN that sits behind a firewall running on a Dual-WAN router coupling the LAN via both a DSL modem and a cable modem (each with a dynamically assigned IP address) to the Internet.

I have also recently obtained a low-end Dell 3000 (P4, 2.8GHz, 512MB DDR SDRAM, 80GB Ultra ATA 7200RPM hard drive) that I hope to connect to my LAN to serve PC applications to the Mac users via a remote control program such as Timbuktu, Microsoft

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Howdy, h! Good for you for doing your homework. I've only used FMP's db-sharing so cannot vouch for Timbuktu, et. al. but it seems like you've got a handle on all the variables at least. WRT keeping the FM database "very" secure, though, security is relative but there are some great posts about FM security of various kinds if you look for them. I'm not sure if there are many about FM7, though, so it may be moot if FM, Inc. has changed how it works.

Don't forget to tell your remote users to open their appropriate ports in their personal firewalls if you do port forwarding.

Good luck!


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  • 1 month later...

We have a small office in the states and several users there use terminal services to connect to various terminal servers at our main office in the UK.

We found the latency of the connection to be the main problem.

Hardly surprising when you consider how many servers the vector data has to pass through.

Performance of terminal services is way above using VNC though.

As obviously VNC will be sending bitmap data to the client, whereas terminal services uses vector data and api calls to render the information on the client screen.

To improve the latency issue I am thinking of an upgrade to SDSL - 1mbps upload and 1mbps download.

Whether that will improve matters I don't know.

Though I already have a bandwidth throttling system enabled on our ADSL connection which guarantees terminal services 80kbps of our 256kbps upload.

Terminal services is the way to go as far as I'm concerned.

Really easy to set up as well.

Definitely devote a dedicated machine to terminal services if possible.

Although I've heard citrix mentioned on here with regards to remote access of filemaker databases, but I don't really know what it is. It is another option to terminal services though I think.

A final option would be to go web-based!

Using PHP and CDML you could develop a web-based solution for remote users to use.

You can fully control it using password protection etc to stop other people gaining access to your data.

Will be harder work to set up than terminal services, but would be cheaper - cheaper than a volume license. All you need is a copy of filemaker server advanced or filemaker unlimited (if you're still on 5.x/6).

Also a dedicated machine for serving the web requests doesn't have to be as powerful as one that needs to run 4 or more terminal services sessions. And is therefore cheaper.

An advantage of using the CDML and PHP web-based approach is that you can code an HTML version but also a WML version so that you can search your filemaker database from a wap/gprs enabled mobile phone.

Something that I managed to do with great success for an order tracking system and for a remote contact search system.

All the suggestions above need a permanent connection to the internet, and ideally with a static ip address. Though as mentioned by boley above there are plenty of DNS forwarding services out there if your ISP doesn't give you a static ip.

Just a couple of ideas there.



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Just to clarify:

Microsoft terminal services and remote desktop connection are the same thing. They use the same protocol (I think - or i've been wrong for many years)

And I would say the spec of the dell is just about fine to have 4 concurrent users.

However to have 4 copies of filemaker running on terminal services at the same time, you need a volume license (VLA) - well that is the case with filemaker 5/6 anyway.

Otherwise you can only have one filemaker user logged on through terminal services at a time - I assume it's the same with filemaker 7.



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You might also want to have a look at a way of throttling your internet connection to guarantee bandwidth to the remote desktop ports.

So that remote users don't get disconnects/slowdowns if someone's downloading a large file from the internet, on the lan side of the network.

Your modem/router might have features built in to perform bandwidth management/qos features.

We use a Zyxel zywall 10w. Not for any firewall features but purely for the bandwidth management. It just sits between our lan and our adsl modem and limits the bandwidth of various services.

I found that if our exchange server was downloading a particularly large email, our external remote desktop access pretty much ground to a halt.

HTH (again)


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  • 1 year later...

For remote users you can also choose GoGlobal (pricing is ok, basic usage very easy to configure, works with Win, Mac, Linux). Major difference to TS is that with GG you can offer a remote app without a new/second/duplicate desktop! You can even work in your office with two FM6/7/8 at the same time (one with local FM installed on your HD, the other FM window opened via GG). And with GG you can have even multiple sessions open at the same time, so basicly you can for example open 3, 4, 5, ... paraller sessions open with the same db and do e.g. some load test or any other thing where multiple sessions might be of help.

Check the web pages from GraphOn inc. They offer free test drive (might have been for 30 days).

That is an excellent way to share your FM apps to remote users (works even via telephone line)!

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  • 1 month later...

This topic is 6155 days old. Please don't post here. Open a new topic instead.

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