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DanielSie

Filemaker Server on a Virtual Server and Other Questions

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Hello,

I'm a filemaker newbie. I have Filemaker Server 9.0. I have 3 questions:

1. I read in a book that Filemaker Server needs to run in its own machine, which mean no other services can run on it to prevent data corruption. Is this true?

2. Can I run Filemaker Server on a virtual machine if the VM meets all the hardware requirements?

3. If I go with the VM route and then later down the road I purchase an actual machine, what is the migrating process from the VM to the actual new machine?

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Make no mistakes - RUN FMS ON IT'S OWN MACHINE.

Why buy the book and then ignore the advice - wasn't that what you bought the book for?

As for a virtual machine - is the virtual machine a process/application? I think so!

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I am also interested in virtualizing FM Server.. is there anyone out there who has tried it? Theoretically, virtualization is identical to hosting an app on its own server from the perspective of the app..

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I'm obviously not ignoring the advice from the book. I'm posting this question to confirm. The book 'recommends' that FMS is to be ran in its own environment. I thought maybe that is one opinion from one source.

Economy is bad, budget tightens, projects still have deadlines, we have to weigh out which risk is worth taking.

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I'm baffled at the arogance of the guys at Ideal Data. The FileMaker manual doesn't mention multilpe forms of relational data strucutres, nor does it mention separating data from interface but FileMaker both these topics can greatly improve your FileMaker solutions.

I have run FileMaker 7/8/9 in virtualized environments with no issues for several years, and on several boxes. Not does it work, but there are some advantages....

1. VMware virtual machines (using ESX) can be clustered over multiple machines to provide fault tolerance much greater performance.

2. When using virtual machines, you drivers are identical from machine to machine- even when the base hardware is different. Therefore yu can test up a test server which will act exactly like the production environment.

3. Virtual Machines are portable, so if you do have a hardware failure, to host with another system takes minutes- seconds, if the VMware file is on a external device.

4. VMware can be reconfigured on-the-fly to provide more RAM or drive space, therefore you set up the VM you need, not what you can afford because it's easy to upgrade later.

5. VMware provides more hosting options. Most FileMaker centric hosting providers give you limited access to the server because they need to prevent you from doing damage to other clients files. They also limit your ability to run other applications on their server. If you lease a Windows based VM in a server farm, your cost is much lower than colocation, you you still get 100% of your own environment.

If you, or anyone else needs a their own VM with FileMaker Server Advanced, we provide such machines to our hosting clients.

6. If you have an 'advanced' solution which utilizes an 'agent' machine (FMP client) or some other app, you can use two VMs on the same machine, and then when you have the money and/or performance slows, then you can move those to separate machines with no code changes--- assumming you manually set your IP addresses.

7. Remote management is a breeze. Without adding any software a VM can be controlled by any XP Pro or Vista system, or via a free download for the Mac.

8. Many IT departments are using this model. Instead of 10 'small' departmental servers which all host different apps on typically on older hardware, they purchase one or two 'high-end' servers and give each department their of virtual machine. Since most servers do not utilize 100% of their CPU cycles, the amount of CPU power generally available is much greater, so it's generally faster- not to mention IT has one server to backup and maintain instead of 10. Typically these high servers will use RAID drive systems which are much faster than a traditional 'modest' FMPSA machine, not to mention they are fault tolerant.

In short, you can successfully host FileMaker on a virtual machine. I've done this dozens of times with versions of FileMaker Server from version 5.5 to current (9.03). Although it's often seen as a compromise, it also has advantages; plus it's a far superior solution to run virtual machines than to attempt to install a ton of services on a single OS.

Thanks,

Joe

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Its not an officially recommended policy but it can be done. I think Joe added some of the benefits of going virtual. One he missed is the ability to baseline the environment. So if something happens and you have to reinstall server, you can just go back to a baselined copy therefore not having to deal with setting up all the tedious scheduled backups/scripts.

However, depending on your user load, YMMV and it may make more sense to have a dedicated server.

We use virtual servers for our testbeds, but for production we use a dedicated server. It all really depends on how critical your data is and setting up a risk assessment.

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FMI's position on virtual servers has undergone some changes in the past year. Currently it is that there is no reason that it should not work that they are aware of,however there is no guarantee that it will work without error.

A larger issue is that the virtual server must be precisely configured, and must be fairly exacting in its performance standards and configurations.

Try it and see.

I do not use virtual environments for client production machines. While this might change in the future, there are currently no plans for that.

Steven

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We went to VMs when we upgraded to 7 a few years back and haven't had a problem.

It's also worth pointing out that to utilize the WPE, XML, and XLST feeds the Filemaker server has to run Apache or IIS. So "no other services" isn't exactly correct either.

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So I could buy one high end server machine, and install several instances of Filemaker server on it, one FMS instance for each client ? The client's could also access their own Admin-Console or would the networking mess up any portforwarding?

 

 

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