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No more shared hosting after FMP14?


mikedr
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I'm not 100% certain where to place this post . . . Please feel free to move into the appropriate forum.

I was reading this:

http://www.filemaker.com/company/legal/docs/hosting_faq.pdf

And it very much is disconcerting to me.  I'm a small business with two concurrent users.  From what I can tell, after FMP14, no more shared server hosting will be permitted.  Looking at the prices offered by my hosting company, the difference between a shared server hosting plan ($20/month) and a dedicated server plan ($130/month) is quite substantial.  

Curious what people think about this.  I'm disturbed, because it may lead us away from FMP in the future.

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Hi Mike, you are right, shared hosting is going away according to that document.

I'm sure the guys at Filemaker are fully aware of the issues this may cause, but the bigger issue to them is security. By using shared hosting you are relying entirely on the individual database owner to secure their database, since many people have access to the server. Many people can try opening your database, and if you are not following good practise, your data could be at risk.

I could point you at a popular shared server in the UK where about 1/3 of the databases have no password, and you could go in, adjust the database schema and delete any data you like. Even add a password and prevent access to the genuine owner. By insisting everyone has their own copy of the server it adds an extra level of security, in that only the genuine database owner should even have access to the server console.

I would suggest considering getting your own copy of FMS and a Mac mini to run it on. Over 3 years this would be only £20 a month for FileMaker Server, and maybe another £20 to lease a Mac mini (or USD equivalent). That's just £40 per month to have your own private, decently fast server. 

As a UK based Apple and FileMaker reseller, this is what we will be recommending.

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Yes indeed Josh, although of course since it is not yet public what the features of the next version will be, it could be that FMS14 rapidly becomes undesirable for customers if new features of FM15 require FMS15 to work properly.

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It says that there must be a dedicated FileMaker Server license - but not that there have to be separate installations.

I also wonder what the situation is for a couple of solutions I've written, where a single database contains the solutions for multiple companies (they are very small, specific systems written to support non-profits, so they can split the cost of hosting)?

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On 2/23/2016 at 0:10 AM, mikedr said:

the difference between a shared server hosting plan ($20/month) and a dedicated server plan ($130/month) is quite substantial.  

Curious what people think about this.  I'm disturbed, because it may lead us away from FMP in the future.

 

Ultimately it is a value consideration.  Is your solution worth $130 per month?  Is not having it going to cost you more than that?  Redeveloping in something else is going to cost considerably more I'm sure.  Not that I want to make it sound like you are FM's hostage :)

Personally I never have been a fan of shared hosting simply because I want to be in full control of the deployment.  With shared hosting you are not because you do not know how the other solutions impact the server and by extension your solution.  That may not be relevant in your case with just two concurrent users.

I don't think the current dedicated hosting plan price's are relevant, I'm sure the landscape will change as FMI puts the EULA in effect and hosting companies adjust to it.  An AWS instance to run a file for two concurrent users for instance would cost around $40.  An FMS license is $29 per month so a dedicated server for you shouldn't cost you more than around $70.

 

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I second the bring-your-own-server suggestion. For smaller non mission-critical deployments you may easily get away with a cheap used (say, 2012) Mac Mini and your home internet connection with a fixed IP - it really works. You'll only need to pay for the server license.

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Well, to be fair, the solution of using a home internet connection with a static IP will more than likely be impermissible with the ISP's contract.  Indeed, most work from home people are breaking the contract, because they really should have business Internet connections.  But definitely running any kind of server, particularly for business purposes, breaks the contract.

Cox Internet doesn't provide static IP's for home accounts, probably for at least this reason.

 

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On 2/23/2016 at 0:10 AM, mikedr said:

I'm not 100% certain where to place this post . . . Please feel free to move into the appropriate forum.

I was reading this:

http://www.filemaker.com/company/legal/docs/hosting_faq.pdf

And it very much is disconcerting to me.  I'm a small business with two concurrent users.  From what I can tell, after FMP14, no more shared server hosting will be permitted.  Looking at the prices offered by my hosting company, the difference between a shared server hosting plan ($20/month) and a dedicated server plan ($130/month) is quite substantial.  

Curious what people think about this.  I'm disturbed, because it may lead us away from FMP in the future.

I think it's just a way for FileMaker to sell more Servers. They are being heavy handed rather than fixing the issues with the insecurity of server.

FileMaker Server has Administration Groups which have languished. FileMaker could update Admin Groups to segment solutions on the server.

All this action will do is increase the cost of hosting and sell more copies of FileMaker Server. It's a win for FileMaker, but not for the users.

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While that's one opinion...it doesn't appear to be the feeling of FileMaker, Inc. Their concern is legitimate, and if I understand it, the topic was raised from the FM community itself...

This IS a security issue with multi-tenant servers, especially services that are not segregated. FMS is not segregated. And the configuration of the security in some of the files ( setup by the file owner, not a problem with FMS ), has been a concern for quite some time.

As posted elsewhere, not trying to argue specifically against your opinion. Just putting another thought out there. :)

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On 23 February, 2016 at 10:27 PM, webko said:

It says that there must be a dedicated FileMaker Server license - but not that there have to be separate installations.

I do expect there to be a cloud option available; and I'm still shocked there is no HTML5 FileMaker-player available.

FileMaker Go would probably benefit from being such a free app for data entry.

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8 hours ago, Josh Ormond said:

While that's one opinion...it doesn't appear to be the feeling of FileMaker, Inc. Their concern is legitimate, and if I understand it, the topic was raised from the FM community itself...

This IS a security issue with multi-tenant servers, especially services that are not segregated. FMS is not segregated. And the configuration of the security in some of the files ( setup by the file owner, not a problem with FMS ), has been a concern for quite some time.

As posted elsewhere, not trying to argue specifically against your opinion. Just putting another thought out there. :)

If that were the case, FMI would fix the security issues. Instead, they issued a proclamation to sell more servers.

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2 hours ago, Hal Gumbert said:

If that were the case, FMI would fix the security issues. Instead, they issued a proclamation to sell more servers.

Who said they aren't? This may very well be a preemptive change for a larger set of security fixes. Again, no inside info here...but being as potent a change as it is, I doubt it is the only change coming.

We, as professionals, really need to be careful with our reactions. We don't have the whole picture, nor foresight into the end-goal of the change. Otherwise, we sound like children throwing a tantrum because our parents wouldn't let us have a cookie...while in the background they are baking a chocolate cake. ;) Or worse, we feel like our soapbox rants somehow changed the course of the companies plans...when in reality the changes have been in the works for the past year or two or more.

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2 hours ago, Hal Gumbert said:

If that were the case, FMI would fix the security issues. Instead, they issued a proclamation to sell more servers.

 

Groan... let's not repeat the whole TechNet discussion here again... https://community.filemaker.com/thread/153634

There is no "instead".  There is no: "it is only this or that".  That's too basic and does not do justice to the whole security debate.

FMI have given us fair warning about an upcoming change.  There is no immediate doom-and-gloom.  For those of us who were not thinking about the risks of shared hosting: this is a wake-up call.  Nothing bad is going to happen in the next 5 minutes.  But you should be thinking about what the implications are.  Those risks have not suddenly changed.  Nor do they apply to all deployments, nor do they carry the same potential effect across all solutions.

Is FMI going to sell more server licenses because of this:  yes.  Are they going to get more revenue out of that: don't know.  Perhaps not.  So let's not pretend that we know what the revenue stream is going to be.  I don't know, you don't know.

 

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FileMaker, Inc. is paying significantly more attention to security issues.  And there likely will be more attention yet to come.  I welcome this; and, I encourage it.  I do not want the FileMaker Platform to get tossed out of organizations because of security issues.  That's bad for developers.  It's bad for our end-user clients and customers.  And it's bad for FileMaker, Inc.

 

Please carefully note Wim's comments.

 

Steven

 

 

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"Instead, they issued a proclamation to sell more servers."

We know this to be true with PRECISELY equivalent certainty that we know the purpose of the reply above is to sell more XOJO licenses.
(Just to be clear: zero)

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On 2/23/2016 at 2:27 PM, webko said:

It says that there must be a dedicated FileMaker Server license - but not that there have to be separate installations.

I thought the same thing while reading the pdf.

There is the cost of the license itself, yes. But there's an additional cost of spinning up a new machine (virtual or otherwise) and sysadmining it. I used to be a "FileMaker Commercial Hosting" provider for my development clients. I got out of it though. It was too much hassle. I pushed everyone off onto other, bigger operations. Clients don't want to handle managing their own server, with backups and OS upgrades, blown ethernet cards, etc. So, even if the cost went up $30 a month for their own license of FMS but still on a shared server, I would recommend they do it. Because it's going to be an additional $10-$30 a month on top of that for a machine....If EULA allows, which is unclear.  But that would be a $30 waste since there's only a nominal benefit to the client.

Maybe there are other options they haven't announced, like a free FMP client and all costs are server connections, or an FMI hosting service!. Who knows.

But if FMI makes no other changes to their pricing or business model, and only does this one thing, basically killing shared hosting, then I think that will drive a lot of small-fry operators off of FileMaker.  Maybe that's best for FMI and I respect their choice.

 

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7 hours ago, Wim Decorte said:

FMI have given us fair warning about an upcoming change.

I am not sure what one is supposed to do as a result, though. They warn you that something is not going to be available anymore, but they don't tell you what - if anything - will be available instead. I don't think it's possible to make informed decisions based on that.

This is similar to the warning that runtimes are to be deprecated. Same discussion.

 

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18 hours ago, BruceR said:

"Instead, they issued a proclamation to sell more servers."

We know this to be true with PRECISELY equivalent certainty that we know the purpose of the reply above is to sell more XOJO licenses.
(Just to be clear: zero)

Not at all Bruce,

We work with clients that use both FileMaker and Xojo and need the platforms to be strong. Speaking up about the issues is hard to do especially with the flack like this and some posts from other folks. Comments like this shows that you just don't have a valid argument regarding the topic. Making an argument that it's zero FM developers are using Xojo is silly.

With the information that's been presented so far, all we know is that folks are going to have to pay more in the future for an unknown reason.

Just like 'Comment' said, this is very similar to Runtimes being listed as deprecated. FMI drops the these big announcements and then the community has to guess about what the options are. Meanwhile there are no options to Runtimes yet except for the iOS SDK which is an iOS Runtime. 

I started seriously looking in to Xojo for FileMaker like projects when FileMaker listed Runtimes as Deprecated due to the uncertainty of the future. It was a fantastic move. Xojo communicates with developers. Their licensing is much more attractive. And just so you know, there are FileMaker users who are moving away due to the increased costs. With shared hosting going away people will have another reason to move away from FileMaker. It's not good for the platform.

It seems like many of you know about future announcements, but there are many more of us who don't. All we can go by is what has been announced.

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3 hours ago, Hal Gumbert said:

Not at all Bruce,

We work with clients that use both FileMaker and Xojo and need the platforms to be strong. Speaking up about the issues is hard to do especially with the flack like this and some posts from other folks. Comments like this shows that you just don't have a valid argument regarding the topic. Making an argument that it's zero FM developers are using Xojo is silly.

With the information that's been presented so far, all we know is that folks are going to have to pay more in the future for an unknown reason.

Just like 'Comment' said, this is very similar to Runtimes being listed as deprecated. FMI drops the these big announcements and then the community has to guess about what the options are. Meanwhile there are no options to Runtimes yet except for the iOS SDK which is an iOS Runtime. 

I started seriously looking in to Xojo for FileMaker like projects when FileMaker listed Runtimes as Deprecated due to the uncertainty of the future. It was a fantastic move. Xojo communicates with developers. Their licensing is much more attractive. And just so you know, there are FileMaker users who are moving away due to the increased costs. With shared hosting going away people will have another reason to move away from FileMaker. It's not good for the platform.

It seems like many of you know about future announcements, but there are many more of us who don't. All we can go by is what has been announced.

I don't believe he was saying zero FM developers are using Xojo. It reads more like he was referring to the intent of FM's message, and the intent of your message. The fact that neither have anything to do with trying to sell more licenses.

People may have to pay more.  But that isn't definite yet. Likely, but not with absolute certainty. The entire point that Wim and I and others are trying to make...calm down, and see what happens. No problem with voicing concern. Saying FMI only made the move to sell more licenses, is not voicing concern...it's making a judgement. It insinuates motive, when you have no clear evidence to back it up. You don't like it, so it must be they are evil and have wrong motives....that's how it reads. And that is what we are addressing.

No doubt some will move away from FM. That's their choice. All of the customers we've dealt with, don't even blink an eye at it. The alternatives for them, are way more expensive. And there is no converting some of these systems over. We've been working with solutions that would require upwards of $1m to redevelop. Which is not feasible. The FM licensing is peanuts in comparison. In all cases, big client or small, the time saved from development FAR outweighs cost of FM itself. It may not be true in every case, be it is true is A LOT of cases.

Do we know about future announcements? Not really. But we do look at the larger picture and can see where the industry is moving, where FMI has focused it's efforts recently, and seeing what the community is asking for. All those things combined, along with the communication from FMI, and it forms a pattern. And I have seen a ton of communication from FMI. Not about future releases and roadmaps. But you can clearly see what is important to them...if you listen, without biting. Once you bite, the communication stops. Which is normal in all human interaction.

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47 minutes ago, BruceR said:

JO: correct. Hal is not a qualified mind reader nor a spokesman for FMI policy nor an FMI decision maker. Zero = zero credibility and zero authority.

We'll see Bruce. As it stands, the cost of FileMaker will go up for some people. Maybe there will be other announcements that will be good.

It's really great to have an adult conversation with you.

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We are talking past each other. You claim to be a mind reader; describing INTENT of others. 

Actual policy and pricing and results are all unknowns.

You will not be hired to set FMI prices or security policies.

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On 24/2/2016 at 4:19 AM, mikedr said:

Well, to be fair, the solution of using a home internet connection with a static IP will more than likely be impermissible with the ISP's contract.  Indeed, most work from home people are breaking the contract, because they really should have business Internet connections.  But definitely running any kind of server, particularly for business purposes, breaks the contract.

That may be true for Cox, but certainly isn't for every ISP. In Australia, I can most certainly host a server on a residential internet connection if I so desire. In fact, I would go as far as stating anyone would be able to do so with any ISP. Including Cox. Who says I can't install a server for personal use? The cross over from personal use to business use is pretty indistinguishable for ISP's.

Of course, there's a limitation when it comes to bandwidth. A 256/1,512 ADSL connection isn't going to be much fun for a customer. When using an internet connection for serving content, you want same upload as download speed.

If you have something like Teamviewer installed on your home computer and access that from work every now and then, you're effectively running a server on your home internet link. If you're torrenting (even legally) you're effectively acting as a server.

On 24/2/2016 at 4:19 AM, mikedr said:

Cox Internet doesn't provide static IP's for home accounts, probably for at least this reason.

Unlikely. Dynamic IP's were traditionally used for dial-up connections, and connections that weren't always on, kinda like how overbooking a plane works. With one Class C IP range you'd be able to serve many more customers than the 256 IP addresses available in that Class. Now that the bulk of internet devices are always on, that use has diminished. However, with the increasing number of devices, and always on devices, there are basically two solutions an ISP can take. One is using a private range for it's non-static customers (ie, generally something in the 10.0.0.0/8 range) or transitioning to IPv6. The former is much easier for the ISP short term, but eventually they will all migrate to IPv6.

With Private IP addresses, the IP address gets translated to a public IP at the ISP network perimeter. This approach is much harder to overcome with privately hosted servers, as you can't just use a dynamic DNS client.

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