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Hoib

Sharing - a real pickle I'm in now

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So, this is going to be a long one - buckle up...

I need to describe our computer system a bit so I can get some help with this very vexxing problem I just found out about today.

Our non-profit runs the Community Assistance Center (CAC). The building consists of many upstairs office and warehouse spaces and a downstairs basement. The computer system network has 6 Windows PCs upstairs in various office spaces in a "Windows Workgroup" setting. Downstairs is the server, a Lenovo box also on the network. There is no domain at present due to the fact that two of the workstations are XP Home which cannot reside on a domain. OK, someday we'll need to resolve that.

So, FileMaker: I have one copy of FM 12 Pro Advanced sitting on the server. I did that because I felt I could remote in at any point and make changes using the more powerful features of Pro Advanced. I have 6 individual copies of FM 12 Pro (non-Advanced) upstairs. We cannot afford to purchase FM 12 Server - it's too expensive. We got lucky with very good non-profit discounts and generous donations to do what we've done so far.

Generally, the CAC Journal system runs on FM and records our various activities, client contacts, donations etc. We are now in the process of totally re-writing the entire solution and have got a preliminary "beta" version ready to begin testing. The legacy version: We've been using this for years, ever since FM5 and have gradually brought it up to FM 12 status.

What I do is on the server, I set up a "File_Store" folder under the server root with all of my content including a folder containing the .fmp12 file with the legacy version. I share that File_Store folder and map it to a drive on each of the upstairs workstations (Z:). I then set a shortcut on each workstation to Z:{folder-path-to-legacy-file} which launches the local copy of FM 12 Pro but uses the file on the server. This works fine.

The new .fmp12 fileset is located in a completely different folder inside of File_Store. I brought the new fileset into the new folder and attempted to launch it in a similar manner to my legacy solution just so I could run some tests with it. What a surprise I got! A box appears saying, "Journal_UI is a shared file. Opening a shared file directly from a remote volume will reduce performance and can affect relaibility. You should instead share the file by opening it with FileMaker software on the same computer where the file is stored on disk. You can then open the file remotely from your computer using the Open Remote command. Do you still want to open this file?" The choices are: Open without sharing // Open // Cancel This does NOT happen with the legacy version, only my new one. So, this isn't good, my whole plan is shot. But wait, there's more...

So I closed everything out and went downstairs directly to the server. I opened up FM 12 and then opened the new .fmp12 Journal-UI so that I could "share" it in compliance with the first error box. Here's what I get now: "FileMaker cannot share files because another user is already sharing files using FileMaker Pro on this computer". So, next I thought that something has the file or handle locked and because FM has given me very little clue as to what/where/how, I decided to first try a server reboot. Came back to the file and I get the same message again.

Question: Am I getting this result because the legacy solution which is still in production using FM 12 and thus I can't use anything but the legacy solution? It's really hard for me to believe that a company/organization cannot have say a FM solution for personnel, and another one for budget and maybe more seperate solutions - again, using a single copy of FM.

I do realize that I am still pretty much in a "single user" mode with this, because of record locking and only one person at a time can use and make changes. It is highly unlikely that two users would be making changes anyway. We've operated thus far without conflicts.

So, I don't know what to do at this point. We're all going to be severely disappointed if I can't at least run this new fileset because it's really a nicely put together package more suiting our needs.

As my whole world is crashing around me, would someone please take a look at this situation and advise me what to do? Is my whole set up wrong? Is it possible that sharing File_Store is the culprit and that I now must house the legacy solution and the new solution in their own repective folders on the Lenovo? Again, I wish we could afford Server.

Thanks very much for reading all this. I know it's long but I wanted to err on the side of thorough..

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The first error message is very important. If you're opening the file from a remote drive and the first opener is the host, that's bad. You want the copy of FMP that's on the same machine as the file to always open the file (it should always be open actually) and other machines connect to that machine via Open Remote...

 

The second error message comes up if you're already running another version of FileMaker on that machine. Are you sure you don't have FM 11 or FM 5 or some trial version of Server running or set to run on start up?

 

Those are the basics, but it sounds like your setup is beyond the basics. I really really recommend you work with Server. To host your own is $600 for a non-profit. I don't know how you value your time or the data in your db, but that $600 will pay off very quickly. If that's still too much you can find a reasonable hosting company for $20/month for a file (though it sounds like you have multiple files...which you can combine).

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Automatic message

This topic has been moved from "FileMaker Pro 12" to "Peer To Peer Sharing".

 

The General Topic FileMaker Pro 12 is reserved for the discussion of the new tools that were introduced in FileMaker Pro 12 and not for How-To Questions.

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What I do is on the server, I set up a "File_Store" folder under the server root with all of my content including a folder containing the .fmp12 file with the legacy version. I share that File_Store folder and map it to a drive on each of the upstairs workstations (Z:). I then set a shortcut on each workstation to Z:{folder-path-to-legacy-file} which launches the local copy of FM 12 Pro but uses the file on the server. This works fine.

 

 

Please, forgive the very positive nature of the following comment:

 

UNDER ABSOLUTELY NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER SHOULD YOU SHARE THE FOLDER OF YOUR DATA FILES THROUGH A NETWORK!

 

You must share your files using the FileMaker sharing protocol, i.e. users access using 'Open Remote'

 

It certainly sounds like your 'server' is running a previous version of FileMaker which is stopping your FM12 from sharing the new files.

 

If you are trying to maintain the legacy version using an old FMP then you will need it on a different machine.

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I made the mistake of sharing the folder that contained FMP files on the network.  Became very slow and eventually trashed the files.  Definitely NOT the way to go.  I'd recommend running a 'recover' on your FMP files to check that they are OK.

 

If you can't afford an FMP12 server, then at least give your 'server' it's own copy of Filemaker Client and leave this running all the time serving your data files. Not ideal, but I've had a setup like this running at a Client for years and it has rarely run into problems.

 

Brian

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OK, I've learned a few things today. I did wind up calling FM tech support by phone and got some more straightening out.

First, I wasn't aware of the danger of sharing over the network. Thanks to this group, I'm working now in a much different direction.

Second, I wasn't aware of the built-in FM Sharing Protocol that needs to be used here. Previous to this point, I was only casually aware that it existed. One of the advantages I also didn't realize is that we can in fact have 9 people logged in and using it without harm... IF we use the provided built-in protocol. So, for what it's worth, the legacy solution still works, the new one won't fire off. We theorized that the legacy solution (coming forth from FM 5) probably has characteristics that permit this to happen. Ordinarily, it would not but I got away with something by sheer luck. And so, I was confused by the fact that one (the legacy) worked and one didn't.

Third, I was told that FM 11 and FM 12 can live harmoniously on the same machine. I did have our previous platform under FM 11 until we brought that up to FM 12 status. But everything now is under FM12 and there should be no issue of having FM 11 still installed. I probably should take it off at some future point.

Fourth, Open Remote won't connect. I learned to invoke Open Remote and how easy it really is to use. The one problem now is the inability of the workstations to actually Open Remote to the server downstairs. We set the FM 12 Pro Advanced in motion, tried to open remote from upstairs but something is blocking it. How do I know? Because I can Open Remote from one upstairs workstation, through the router to it's peer upstairs in the next room. I disabled the server's Windows firewall and tried. Also disabled the server AV temporarily and tried. So, I've got some server networking technology to overcome in order to get Open Remote to open the file running downstairs.

Thanks for all the help here. I don't there's much else I can do unless someone has a fwe sugggestions for troubleshooting server issues....

Hoib

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It could also be the firewall on the workstations itself blocking access to the server.

I'm assuming that all machines on the network have an IP address in the same subnet?  The "local hosts" feature of Open Remote will only look on the subnet of the machine that it is on.

You could try specifying a "favorite host" by using the IP address of the server.

 

On the topic of best practices: if you need to run AV on the server, make sure that it positively excludes the folder with the live FM files.  Absolutely NOTHING should be able to touch the hosted files.   Not a file share, not AV,...

You also should assign the FM host machine a static IP address.

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OK, Wim. All very very good points. Static IP for the server, I'll check that though I think we have that set. I've got to allow port 5003 (Telnet) through in both directions as well - that's the next thing I'm going to look at - how to open a specific port. And excluding folders is easy enough in Symantec Endpoint.

One reason I ignored Open Remote is backing up the data. If it's always got to be "live", I am understanding that the datafile may not be able to backup. I do realize that FM Server avoids this problem.

Let's see how much I get done today. I fell a lot better about it.

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You can make backups using OnTimer scripting to drive the "Save a Copy As" script step at any time, but this becomes complicated in a multi-file solution as each file must be backed up together. It is possible for a record to change in one file that has a dependency on another file to backup 'out of sync'.

 

You could also consider using task scheduler to quit the FM host, copy the files and restart the FM host. Obviously timed for a point when no one's around.

 

Whatever you do - make your backups a priority and make sure they work in all circumstances. You have been lucky so far with the previous FM5 set up.

 

Incidentally FM 12.04 has been released, but this also comes with the announcement the Windows XP is deprecated, and will likely disappear as a supported OS soon, but not necessarily the next release.

 

You're coming up for some expense as you are going to have to move to Windows 7 or higher.

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