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What exactly is Windows Terminal Server?


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Hi all,

if answers to this subject already have been posted affluently I'd like to apologize beforehand.

Can anybody explain to me what a typical setup would look like where remote FileMaker users connect to a FileMaker Server via Windows Terminal Services?

How would I setup a Terminal Service in Windows 2000/2003? Do I need Windows Server Edition or will a "regular" Windows 2000/2003 do?

What exactly do I have to install within that Terminal Service? A FileMaker Client or a FileMaker Server? (It is my understanding so far from posts I saw here that the FileMaker Server resides on a separate machine and a FileMaker client goes in the Terminal Service).

How can then connect the FileMaker which is running inside that Terminal Service to the local FileMaker Server? Is the Terminal Service capable of seeing FileMaker Server as a network service (through port 5003)?

How would I then be opening the database files that I want the remote user to be able to connect to? How can I "see" the FileMaker files within the Terminal Service and share them? Do I have to open any FileMaker databases within Terminal Service?

Is it advisable to install the FileMaker Server on the machine where the Terminal Service operates?

And finally how would the remote user open the database? By just going the regular way via "Open -> Hosts" and then entering the IP address of the Terminal Server?

Needs the Terminal Server to be in the DMZ or can I just unblock port 5003? Or another port (does Terminal Service have a port on its own)?

Any answers highly appreciated. Also if anyone could point me to the direction as to where I can find information on this I'd be very glad.

Nice greetings from (*f*r*o*s*t*y*) Germany


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  • 1 month later...

I'm running Terminal Server 2003 and Terminal Server Windows 2000 on Dell boxes. A Terminal Server is a Server that allows multiple users to connect as a client at one time.

You would NOT have fileMaker Server on the same machine as the Terminal Server just as you wouldn't put any FileMaker client on the FileMaker Server - so you need multiple machines - one fo rthe Terminal Server and one for the FileMaker Server. Remember, the Terminal Server also has software (CALs) Client Access Li censes that have to be installed on it to allow you to have multiple people connect.

I have the Terminal Server (actually both of them) connected on a Gigabit Ethernet backbone to the FM Server and to my router. They are within the firewall so there is no issue as far a opening up ports to go from the Terminal Server to the FM Server as a FM client. I had to open up a port on the Router to get acces to the Terminal Srver (I don't remember which port but it is well defined).

Once you connect to the Terminal Server, users can start using FileMaker as a client - ah but there is a catch - FileMaker checks the Serial Number - and won't allow multiple sessions on the same machine - so you have to actually purchase a "site license" for the number of FileMaker users that will access the machine.

Got that? - Windows Terminal Server with CALS and multi-user version of FM plus a FileMaker Server all within a firewall connected to a router that has the Terminal Services Port opened up.

As far as how users connect to the FM Serve once connected to the Terminal Server box, there are lots and lots of posts about "Opener" files.

P.S. - I run these Servers in a cross-platform environment (the FM Server is on OS X) and I have from 20 - 30 users on 24 hours per day - about 10 per terminal Server - plus Web Users and local network clients - so it does work.

Good Luck

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Keith,

Thanks a lot for your answer.

So, if I understand this correctly the databases you need to access from the outside are not opened within the Terminal Service of FileMaker but the user would open them just as he would in a regular internal setup?

Also allow me to to bug you with these specifics so that I really understand it:

- FileMaker client is not installed on the road warriors notebook?

- How would you connect to a Terminal Service from the outside? Does Windows come with a special application for that?

- How would you start the FileMaker client once you are connected?

Thanks again.


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I bet 1 minute after you logged into a Terminal Services box for the first time a light bulb would come on for you. I was in your spot 5 years ago and couldn't really understand TS until I saw it. Now, I feel it's one of Microsoft's best offerings.

Here's what happens from the user's vantage point:

You are working on your local workstation. You open a program on your local machine called Remote Desktop Connection. Up pops a dialog box that asks you what server you want to log on to and prompts you for a usename and password - your Windows Username and password. After you enter that information up pops a window (usually full screen) that looks exactly like the desktop of a regular workstation except that there is a narrow bar at the center top of the screen that contains the name of the server and minimize / maximize icons. It is showing you the actual desktop of your Terminal Server. There is a start menu, desktop icons, the whole ball-of-wax. Now that you're in you just do whatever you would do as if you were working on your local machine. If it wasn't for the small bar at the top of the screen you would think you are on a local workstation. From this point on everything you do with your keyboard and mouse are actually performed on the remote server. Now you would probably double click on a FileMaker desktop icon and up would come FileMaker just like it does on your local workstation.

I bet you are wondering how you get control of your local workstation again. You simply click the minimize button on the special bar that runs along the top of the screen. As soon as that is no longer the active window, you are working locally again. To get back to the TS session just maximize.

To end a TS session you simply choose Start -> Log Off just like you do an any workstation. The window closes and the session is terminated.

So what this all boils down to is with Terminal Services, the user is simply logging onto the server via software called Remote Desktop Connection. And it's not only FileMaker that can be run its essentially any software that has been loaded onto the server. Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, practically anything.

Terminal Services can be run in 2 different modes. User Mode and Remote Admin Mode. You would run yours in User Mode. The only real difference is licensing requirements.

Here comes the nice part. If you're a system admin like me, you can run all of your servers, I'm talking non-FileMaker too, in the remote admin mode. This allows up to 2 concurrent sessions if you have administrator rights to the server. For me this is huge. Right now I maintain around 30 servers from either my office or my home via VPN. So if there's trouble in the middle of the night I can very often solve the problem from my home office. No midnight excursions to work just to bounce a server for instance.

One last thing, a previous post mentioned opener files; in my opinion these are no longer necessary as you can create a simple desktop icon to open a remote file with the right syntax. Do a search and you can find out how.

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  • 4 weeks later...

P.S. - I run these Servers in a cross-platform environment (the FM Server is on OS X) and I have from 20 - 30 users on 24 hours per day - about 10 per terminal Server - plus Web Users and local network clients - so it does work.

We are planning kind of similar configuration but haven't done it yet. What size, how many files, etc. you have in your FM solutions? Do users perform operations (e.g. sorting/searhing with huhdreds of thousands of records) that normally eate your FM client computer processor capacity quite a lot...?

So I'm basically interested in the processing capacity issues of TS server serving multiple TS clients using FM on that TS server.

You're saying you have about 10 users per TS server. Have you found that being a proper number of users/TS server in your case...

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  • 2 months later...

I don't kno if this post will do anybody andy good now, but here goes.

I have a FileMaker Pro Advanced 7 Server on a G5 - there are 22 tables with about 2.5 gb of data all told (millions of records).

There are several tables with hundreds of thousands of records.

I use 2 dsl lines for incoming access - I have both a Citrix Server (Dell 2400) and a Terminal Server (another higher end Dell) These are all backboned on a gigabit hub.

I also have a WebStar Server running Lasso 7 for clients - relatively simple lookups.

Generally, my higher end Terminal Server has 10-12 sessions running during business hours. These are remote people whose only job is to hit the database (client service). There are 4 or 5 people with 2 19" monitors so that they can use both FileMaker and a fax package (process incoming faxes - and make pdfs out of them) all day.

The Citrix Server is used less so - generally 3-4 people on during the business day - but these people also NEED to have access as it is their primary job function.

With my current configuration, speed and accessability is not really an issue more than 90% of the time.

PS - the higher end dell (which I am not sitting in front of so I don't have the model) was still less than $4000.00.

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  • 3 months later...

Using this approach have you found any problems with the Number of Remote Users on the Terminal Server computer. I believe that you are hosting 10 remote users with this approach. If these users were using FileMaker rather heavily what might your estimate be of how many users one Terminal Server computer could handle if it was a high end PC?

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  • 3 weeks later...

All I can tell you is that I commonly have 10 -15 sessions on the one Terminal Server and 5-10 sessions on other machines (local) and FM is also running via Lasso as part of my web site.

the Terminal Server is on a GB backbone with the FM Server - it seems like I could have more users if i needed but I don't know how many.

The term server is connected to a DSL line - essentially this dsl is dedicated to this terminal server.

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