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FMSA 8 and FMS 5 on same machine - Any issues?


deego55
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You need a separate server, especially for FileMaker Server 8.

Is that a general statement (even with a minor amount of users i.e. 10) or is that a statement relating directly to using multiple copies?

If the first, how adverse are the issues going to be if the server is being used as a file server by the same amount of users (not usually being accessed for that purpose).

I run server 8 in the above mentioned scenario (with 15 users) with no performance issues as far as i can tell.

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Cache is left at 64MB since install performance has been fine, ODBC / JDBC not used, Server Side Plug-In's -- not used, CWP / IWP / WebServers not applicable given lack of Server Advanced, naturally none of the FileMaker files or Server Installs etc. are on shared drives, don't use it for external authentication.

All it's really doing at this point is hosting a one file 30 MB database...

Oh, Wim wrote it, that's fun... :)

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Yeah, I've noticed that much that's why I GENERALLY listen very closely to what you say :)

You two don't secretly own FileMaker together do you ? :P .

I understand that it's a good idea to install FM Server on a different Server but my question is given the above environment, do you think it's strictly NECESSARY.

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What can i say except i can't force my clients to fork out an extra $3000 on a server for FM.. And if i have to make them, i need to know the exact reasons... While the white paper was informative, it said little as to why FM would cause everything to blow up without a dedicated server.

Yes it mentioned that the server has to be more robust due to the compatibility now provided for Server Plugins (where they are utilized), yes it said that if you have a large cache of up to 800MB physical ram (only 350 on server) it will obviously take a long time to write to / read from disk (where the large cache is utilized), yes it said that the need for ODBC / JDBC connections will further burden the server (where they are utilized), yes it says not to share the files on a network drive (naturally)...

But no where does it say, don't host a 30MB data file that will only ever be accessed by 15 users on the same server as you use to store files.

All i want to know is why -- if it's performance issues, i honestly don't see them which as far as i'm concerned isn't suprising, if it's something else that i can show my clients, please let me know?.. Otherwise I will likely be telling my clients "You need a new server because ahh... you do, because that's what FileMaker says" -- as of yet i haven't actually been given a real reason (I'm not trying to argue with anyone especially Steven, but I just need to know why).

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Entirely reasonable request. Here are a few points:

1. Filesharing (OS level shares) ought not be run on a FMS CPU for performance and for security reasons. Hence the CPU should not also work as a file server.

2. You want to run FMS with the minimum of other services enabled possible. That specifically includes Volume Shadow Copy, Terminal Services, virus scans, print server,Directory Services, FTP, etc. that are often found on file servers.

3. You can certainly spend $3000 on a server, but in this instance that may be too much server. A basic entry level small business server from, e.g. HP, with Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition is more than adequate.

Steven

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I don't know that there is any "official" technical explanation of just "why" this is recommended. Which is too bad, because I bet every one of us independent developers has had to try and explain this to resistant clients; sometimes unsuccessfully, sometimes losing us the job (which may be better in the long run, considering).

This is something I clipped from an email on another list, quite a while ago. It is the most technical explanation I've seen; from Jimmy Jones (FMI engineer):)

[...] Sharing the FM folder that the files reside in can cause a FM crash. My understanding is that the cause is the very complex interaction between the TCP/IP network layer (typically this occurs only in TCP/IP), OS file sharing interaction with the OS security, interaction between FMP file data requests using the TCP/IP stack and the OS security trying to prevent inappropriate file access of a shared volume.

Scenario;

1. The folder in which the FM files reside is shared by the OS.

2. FM is sharing the file(s) using the selected protocol.

3. The OS is charged with preventing inappropriate access of the files on the hard drive (but the FMP program is running locally!).

4. Now the OS detects a request for data using a file access over the network, since the file is in a shared volume the OS thinks it is supposed to read/write to the file it tries to authenticate the access. However, there is no 'real' network access going on and there is no user interface and (remember FMP is running locally) no way for FMP to tell the OS the access is OK. The OS gets confused and crashes FMP. Since FMP has its own sharing stack using the protocol the OS shouldn't get in the way, but if the folder is shared the OS will try to authenticate file access privileges. The problem seems to occur because the OS level security thinks the network request for file 'data' should be authenticated even though it came through the FMP stack and the local copy of FM will do the actual file access. Go figure." So what happens when FileMaker files are located on shared volumes? Network performance degrades and there is risk of file & data corruption.

Another implication of FileMaker's approach is that it doesn't care about network privileges. Even a user that is not logged in on a NT / Windows 2000 domain can still access hosted FileMaker files. Another aspect that is very foreign to most IS people. Since Access files are put on network shares, the privileges and security settings for that share apply before you can open the files.

Both FileMaker and Access recommend a dedicated machine for the host and that makes a lot of sense.

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Hi John,

Thanks, i suppose i can at least give them the option now -- besides, if i can get away without paying a $500 reg fee for an api i use (which i USUALLY can) i suppose i could try and make the client fork out another $1000 AUD for the server... whats Windows Server 2003 go for these days? And just to make sure i've got everything worked out...This server simply runs FileMaker server and Windows Server... It simply hooks into the network like any other PC with a static ip address -- any required ports are forwarded to that and it's all good?

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Server 2003 SE is a couple hundred bucks if you purchase it with your system. BTW Dell is currently offering a promotion of the following:

Free Processor Upgrade or Free 2nd Processor on select servers

FREE RAID on select servers

Pretty good. Wish this promo was going on when we purchased a few months ago. :)-)

As for the configuration I just upgraded the RAM on the basic setup and to a faster HD. Went through IT dept to setup the line for a dedicated IP as well as making it accessible for remote admin to the box.

Running Server 2003, FM Server, and backup thats about it. Just basics.

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