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Data Separation - Multiple Clients


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I have filemaker solution which I am converting to use the data separation model with a data file, and user interface file.


This will be deployed to a number of clients at different sites. 


However, as this database will be used for research and audit, it is foreseeable to at some point we will want to access data from all of the organisations, and run reports etc. 


My question is, what is the simplest and most effective way of doing this:


1. Do I use one data file only, and get all of the organisations to add to this? or

2. Do I have multiple client data files and then try and combine these later on.


Is there a way that filemaker can access multiple data files simultaneously.


Thanks in advance.





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#1 implies that all clients across all locations access one centralized data file. 

- you have to take great care to shield one client's data from the other's.  You can use Record Level Access for that but you have to spend a good chunk of time with that to get it right AND keep it performant

- depending on the network/internet connections between the clients and the host, things may get slow, both the server site and the client sites will need good internet speeds (upload & download, with a low latency).  Even with good speed, you will have to explicitly design your solution for this kind of WAN access.  Even with good WAN speeds, WAN is only a fraction of the speed you can get on a LAN (local network)


#2 may be easier right now because it sounds like the bulk of the design is already done and if you have not explicitly designed for multi-tenancy and WAN performance then letting each client have their own setup is going to be faster.  You then need to find a way to collect those data files and consolidate the data into one for reporting and research.  You certainly can have one central file with file references to all of the remote data files.  Performance may be a factor here because of the WAN factor again.

Or find a way to set up automatic syncing between each remote location and a central location.  There are a number of syncing solutions out there for FM: FMeasysync, mirrorsync, Go zync,...

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Perfect thanks Wim.

The FM easy sync option looks like it may do the trick. Do you know if it's possible to have several tiers of syncing though? For example, can an iPad sync to the clients filemaker database, hosted locally or on filemaker server, and can this then sync to the master database hosted on filemaker server, along with other clients. All sync would need to be upwards only, I wouldn't want the data to cascade down again.

The ipad will be used for data entry of new records only, and once synced these records should be deleted from the file.

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