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Server hardware recommendations


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We are a team of 5 working on a hosted database solution locally via FM Pro 11, we just upgraded to FMS 13 and now we need to set it up on a new server.

 

At present we run a 2009 Mac mini with 8GB and we are considering to buy a new 2.6Ghz, 8GB mini running OS X Yosemite.

 

As a second option I would get a Windows PC with a similar spec.

 

Which OS do you think it performs better with FMS 13?

 

If a Mac mini does the job, which setup should I choose: CPU, drive (hard? Fusion? flash?)

 

Thanks,

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Stay away from Fusion if you go mac.

 

Choose the best performing server for the budget you have and within what you feel comfortable supporting.  If you have no experience on Windows or Mac then choosing that is a bad choice.

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My needs are so modest (my laptop, desktop and iPad are the only clients and one at a time) that I get by with a 2011 Mac Mini with only 2gb ram. It works just fine. However I'm aware that if the demands increased, even slightly, I would need more ram at least.

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Rick, do you run FMS13 on your Mac mini? what OS X version?

 

What about a flash drive? would make it faster? I've heard concerns about reliability after some time of use...

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solid state drives are faster but the ones in the Mac Mini are not really server-grade and are going to fail faster than what is ideal.  If you are on a budget I would go for more processing power and more RAM.

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We use Mac Mini's for a lot of server implementations. Even for rather large solutions and this has proven to be a good choice, compared to the budget.

I totally agree with Wim's general advices to get proper server grade hardware.

If you don't really need to have your own server, you could consider going to a hosting company. Then they will take care of hardware and maintenance.

In general, I would not recommend that you choose a platform, which you do not have experience with.

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  • Newbies

Mac Mini as a FileMaker Server Computer?

I am wondering about the FileMaker Server deployment scenarios in which the current (Late 2014) Mac Mini could be considered a plausible contender.

In the past I have used (pre-2014) Mac Minis for FileMaker Server purposes, but only in the following scenario:

1. The client is a small non-profit organization on a budget.
2. The client organization is all-Mac and does not have internal IT support.
3. The FileMaker solution is a LAN-based workgroup solution with not more that 5-10 users.
4. The solution does not require IWP (FMS12 and earlier) or WebDirect and has minimal or no iOS access/connection requirements.

I have an all-Mac, non-profit client with a mission-critical LAN-based FileMaker workgroup solution with around 15 simultaneous users. The current FileMaker server is a 7 year-old MacPro3,1 with RAID5, running FMS12. This organization has tasked a hardware and networking IT consultancy firm (they are not FileMaker developers) with upgrading their equipment - workstations and servers. This firm has recommended a high-end, Late-2014 i7 Mac Mini, with the 256GB SSD option, for FileMaker Server use. I am skeptical that this is the best solution for FileMaker Server 13 purposes in this client's FileMaker solution deployment scenario and would be inclined to recommend a Windows OS machine, with server-class SATA RAID5 and/or SSDs. Additionally, I don't believe that the new MacPro is particularly suitable or cost-effective for use as a FileMaker Server machine.

I note Wim's cautionary notes about the reliability/performance of SSDs in Apple's consumer-grade products, like the MacMini, and also about the Apple Fusion drive. Also, there is the consideration that the Core i7 processor in the current Mac Mini has 2 cores, whereas the recommend processor for FileMaker Server purposes would have 4 cores (or more, for high-end/WebDirect deployment scenarios).

Any comments or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Tim Owen
Tim Owen Consulting, LLC
FileMaker FBA Member

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RAID is not needed, but if you use it, employ RAID 10, not RAID 5.  And be sure to use a hardware RAID COntroller.

 

Also, I'd avoid both SSD's and SATA's.  Try SAS instead.  SSD's have issues with wear-leveling.  Two cores may not work out so well either.  Check the FMI web site for recommended specifications for server hardware.

 

Steven

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  • 1 month later...

So what's the latest on picking a Mac Mini given what is actually available now?
Small shop, tight budget, modest file size, 6 users, no real need for web direct.

It seems you can't buy a Mini with an appropriate server grade SSD.

Nor can you get a 7200RPM HD.

And the available stock internal drive is only 5400 RPM.

8GB at least for RAM of course.

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and don't forget the processing power.  The newer 2014 model has only half of the processing power in # of cores as the older model.

 

Between disk i/o and processing power those are you two most typical bottlenecks.

 

I'd stay away from those new Mac Minis.

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