For the number of users you describe, you have two choices unless you publish the database to the web with filemaker server advanced:
- Host the file with one copy of Filemaker Pro, then 9 other computers with filemaker pro installed can link at the same time to the same database and share the data.
- Host the file with Filemaker Pro Server on a computer that meets the hardware and Operating system requirements which will enable 10 or more users to share the database. Filemaker server has many more advantages besides simply supporting a larger number of users so you may find it worth the extra $$ even if you don't have more than 9 simultaneous users. (Scheduled back ups, scheduled scripts, better performance, much better data security, etc.)
Some folks avoid buying the extra copies of filemaker by using one copy of Filemaker and Instant Web Publishing. This limits you to 5 simultaneous users, however, and can limit some of your human interface options.
With regards to your excel spreadsheets, I suggest you plan on importing the data from these sheets into tables in your filemaker pro database. That's generally the easiest way to deal with this kind of information.
If you haven't already, you might want to download a free trial copy of Filemaker and try it out.
thanks. For the first option you mentioned, as I understand, someone has to open and host the FMP database file as host if other users need to access it. It is not practical for a user to open and host and share the database everytime someone else want to access the same database, right? As I know, the database hosted on a FM server is always open and ready to be accessed by more than one users.
Also, what about the external database option I mentioned?
For hosting with filemaker Pro, you'd set up a machine to host the file by using it to open the files first, then all your clients would connect just like you would a file hosted by server. It's basically filemaker server in miniature without the added tools and protection of server. I've got a few files here hosted that way though I keep hoping to convince my boss that they really should be added to the other files we host with server.
So, on the machine, I just open and host the file once, and keep it open forever, and it kind of act as a server in that users can connect to, right? At the same time, no human attention needs to be paid to the host, right?The file will be just open and shared forever?
Well you might choose to open it at the start of each day and close it each evening. You'll want to make back up copies from time to time.... but that's essentially how it works.
Ok, I see. Thanks. I guess we should go with the server.
You may want to consider using a 3rd party FileMaker hosting provider as well, such as ourselves:
We provide the server hardware, FileMaker Server Advanced licenses, updates, monitoring, etc. - saving you a considerable amount in costs. Additionally, since it is a service you can deduct the cost immediately instead of having to depreciate software + equipment on your taxes. Plans start at $29/month, and we have been doing this for over 11 years now. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions either here or off-list to jmay(at)pointinspace.com.
- John May