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Understanding and tuning Filemaker Server Performance


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In my view, in the world of FileMaker Server the concerns of owners and admin with FMS11 and earlier are little different to those of FMS14 admins today.

Yes, the product has developed and we now have the new appearance layer from 12 onwards, and WebDirect from 13 on.

But, the underlying issue remains, how do you get to understand FileMaker Server and get the best out of it, when it is trivial to build a very "bad" FM solution that is slow and unscaleable and when FMI provides no comprehensive and clear advice?

FM software does little to prevent folk using the freedom of FM in that manner, because as an "enabling" and "accessible" type of software it lacks the controls, the digital police, that a more prescriptive system may include. It also works very hard to keep users of legacy systems on-board and supported and their solutions inevitably include much that would regarded as poor design today and hence cannot easily deprecate old techniques, so FMI's options are limited.

Hence my having been developing a "mobile first" design framework since April 2012, and having eventually worked out what does work, I was encouraged by various folk to develop my report on "Understanding and Tuning FileMaker Server Performance" and publish.

I have also published an early version of part of the report here on FMHacks and done two videos for Richard Carlton Consulting here and here which cover some of the report material.

My work has been validated by folk at FMI (who wish to remain anonymous), Wim Decorte, Richard Carlton and Alan Stirling.

This is the first detailed and comprehensive report on this subject for many years, you can read it here and download a pdf here.

Many of the techniques I have developed, and to which the report alludes, are included in the free and open source Deskspace dsBenchmark tool, which can be downloaded from here.

I would encourage your responses, and disagreement, if you feel so moved. We all move forward by rigorously testing both the old and the new and no doubt you can offer improvements and additions to what I have constructed. Where I am persuaded, your input will be included in the ongoing Report and duly credited. The current version of my Report is of course the html pages on deskspace.com, not a dead paper document. In fact wasn't that what Sir Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he invented and donated http, html and the World Wide Web?

This ease of editing is facilitated by our new Deskspace rwApp creating the responsive web pages that comprise www.deskspace.com - but that is perhaps another story.

Cheers, Nick

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I can easily vouch for this!  I've been looking for a way to accurately simulate multiple FileMaker clients for a few years now.  With the Perform Script On Server feature (which is what this solution is mostly using), this makes accurately testing server performance a breeze.  

I'm currently testing migrating from a physical Mac Mini, FMS 13 to a virtual server, Windows OS, FMS14.  Using this tool has given me the ability to not only compare the abilities of the two servers, but also to adjust the virtual enviroment for optimal use for my usage.  

It also has the ability to instantiate the concept of tokens, if you wanted to see if this will work well in your environment.  

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Thanks Nick! I found your first video with Richard Carlton to be very helpful and look forward to reading your report. The lack of documentation and reports on FileMaker server has been frustrating so I am glad to see someone share their findings.

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Thanks chaps, I am pleased that you approve / find this helpful. :-)

Don't hesitate to let me know / post where you can add to and/or disagree with any of my findings, I hope that increased experience and testing amongst many FM users will enable me to refine this report further in due course.

Cheers, Nick

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