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Do we need Server?


AliB

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I have created a hire tracking and quotation solution using FMpro 8/8.5 which has seperate data and interface files. The interface files are stored locally and on launch open the data file by first looking up a local IP address and if that fails, looking up our external IP address (port 5003 open).

Only needing a few clients, we opted for a 5 license pack of FMpro. The host is a Powermac G4, 867MHz with 1Gb RAM running 10.4.7 and the other clients are 2x MacBook Pro, 1x Quad G5 and 1x Mac Mini (all running 10.4.7).

Can anyone suggest how the system might be optimised? Having added calculations into the stock table of the data file (to evaluate available stock for a given hire date) there is a slight delay when switching between stock categories. We occasionally want to be able to work remotely, which was slow before introducing this calculation - I fear this will make things much worse!

Our broadband connection in the office is 'up to 8Mb' and shows on the router as 832kb upstream (and just over 5Mb downstream), so I would have thought that was pretty healthy for serving the data to a remote client. When working from home, the service is standard 256k upstream, 2Mb downstream affair.

I just want to know that the solution is going to be usable by a remote client. I'm worried about those calcs and whether or not (from others experience) Server would be an improvement.....

Thanks in advance.

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Why don't you combine that 2 files into 1 file and having multi tables ? The database works faster in this way. : Using Multifile in ver 7 onwards is not a good idea. I experienced slow pop up when I migrated over from Ver 6 to 7. This is the cause of your delay.

If you design in single file mode, it is good enuf to host locally, web, remote and even thru internet by using a single copy of Filemaker Pro at the host.

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Using Multifile in ver 7 onwards is not a good idea.

I'm sorry; this is completely incorrect.

First, don't use the local files; there is no need to do that and it will likely break.

Second, the separation model [color:red]does not require placing local files on workstations. Neither does it mean that. The separation is between the logic and the data, not between the location of the files.

Third, for robust LAN/WAN performance you do need FileMaker Server or FileMaker Server Advanced. Server is specifically designed for that level of performance.

HTH

Steven

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So let me make sure I've got this right....

1) At the moment, I have an 'interface' file and a multi-table 'data' file. The data file holds all the data. The interface file contains all the relationships and scripts. This is correct isn't it?

2) Interface files have been put onto local clients due to the graphic content and multiple layouts.... should I not be doing this? Should the clients be opening the interface file remotely too?

3) I will see a performance improvement hosting the data on FMPro Server

Please set me right!!

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2) Interface files have been put onto local clients due to the graphic content and multiple layouts.... should I not be doing this? Should the clients be opening the interface file remotely too?

3) I will see a performance improvement hosting the data on FMPro Server

#2-->Place all files on the server and have them hosted by FIleMaker Server.

#3-->Most likely although every situation is different. Server must be correctly configured of course.

Please see the Server Tech Brief on the FMI Web Site:

http://www.filemaker.com/support/upgrade/techbriefs.html

HTH

Steven

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While it is not necessary to host the Interface files, it does provide the advantage of having them managed from a central location. Imagine if you had 50 workstations and you need to make a change to a layout or script. With the Interface located on each workstation, you'd need to have some snazzy way to get everyone to update their copy once you make the change to the master.

If the solution is graphic intensive, very mature, and not likely to get updated very often, you could have the Interface on the client, but in all other cases it's much easier to have it hosted.

Using Server would likely be an improvement in speed for Find and Sort operations over the WAN. But since WAN performance is very dependant on the upload speed of the host network and the download speed of the client's network, you may wish to invest a bit more into that (specifically the upload speed of the host network).

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I would recommend hosting the UI/Logic files. If there are any references that point back from the data files to the UI/Logic file, they may not work correctly if the UI/Logic file is not hosted.

Additionally, if the IP address of the server ever changes, locally based file references will likely have to be reset.

Steven

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Thank you both.

I was (wrongly it seems) under the impression that having my interface on the client machines would give the best performance. There are currently only 4 clients, so making amendments to the interface is not too much of a pain, but I agree that if things grow even a little, then a centrally hosted file would be a real time saver!

Out of interest, when you open a remote file, are you - in simplistic terms - 'remote controlling' the file with calculations and lookups being done on the host (with visual feedback returned to the client), or is actual data passed back and forth with calculations/lookups etc done on the client?

When I get into the office tomorrow, I'll revert to hosting the interface file, but I might also change the host from the (reliable workhorse) G4 867Mhz to my Quad G5. That's got to be a worthwhile experiment to see what kind of performance our peer-to-peer solution will yield without investing in Server at the moment. I'm interested to see if this will improve the speed when connecting over the WAN too.

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When I get into the office tomorrow, I'll revert to hosting the interface file, but I might also change the host from the (reliable workhorse) G4 867Mhz to my Quad G5. That's got to be a worthwhile experiment to see what kind of performance our peer-to-peer solution will yield without investing in Server at the moment. I'm interested to see if this will improve the speed when connecting over the WAN too.

Enhanced performance requires FileMaker Server. Peer to peer hosting just will not cut the mustard as they say.

Steven

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I'm not sure hosting the GUI on the server would always be a good idea. This was the primary reason that i decided on the seperation model. My UI file is 15mb, + 35mb external images etc.

As for snazzy methods... well, they may agrivate the users a bit, but my files run a check on file open for the current file version against a field in the backend. It warns the user by dialog 3 times and then locks them out until they run a simple .exe that updates the FM file, and where need be additional external files.

Anyway, my point is, it used to be real slow, and now its good with client side UI... also you could allow opening of file references using some sort of modifier key in the case that however rare it may be... the server's IP is changed.

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Server IP addresses get changed all the time. I do not want to be the one to have to go through the process of changing many different copies of UI files' file references.

if the file is on the server where it is supposed to be no change of file reference is required if the Server IP changes.

I use a good number of graphics as well; additionally some clients have intensive graphics stored as data. I do not see the performance issues to which you allude.

Proper server hardware and software (OS level) configuration is a [color:red]must; and FileMaker Server 8 works robustly.

Steven

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Server IP addresses get changed all the time... Isn't that bad practise or something? Further, you could also use the server's name in the case of a dynamic local server IP (again, very very odd). Especially if your local server happens to act as the gateway. But then, mine is shared with standard exchange, call accounting, and a few other basic items of server programming.

But nevertheless.

Regarding the performance issues especially over WAN, as much as this is the 21st century, our average internet connection is around 256kbps in Australia. As okay as that is, thats around 20-25KBps, loading a layout with maybe 150KB of images etc. on it + maybe 2KB of data :), + server request and response time, returns you with a loading time of data + layout at around 8seconds. Further, if your database isn't one that holds the user in one place a lot -- i.e. alot of movement * 8seconds delay, vs. around 3 with external files, * 100 users == a lot of annoyance.

Anyway, not arguing, i know it's what you do, but just commenting from experience in both types over the same user base.

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... Yet the server exceeds all recommended requirements for running FM server 7 in this case, in various cases is only running up to 20 users at ony time, despite it's max connection of 250 users and a couple of standard programs (in terms of processor consumption and actual activity -- extremely minimal) effect filemakers performance so drastically?

To tell you the truth, i think it's just the fairly average network hardware, but hey, that ain't my department -- i have no say in what hardware they use unfortunatley, only software, and in most locations, i find this is the case (it's harder than you think to get small business to invest $15,000 in your software, 6-7000 in FM and then another 7-8 in updating existing infrastructure). So where the hardware is crap -- it has to be compensated for :).

Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to know these things.

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  • 4 months later...

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