10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 14, 2010 1:51 PM by RobFisher

    Network databases not visible on certain machines

    BenM

      Title

      Network databases not visible on certain machines

      Post

      Hi,

      Got a slight problem which has us a little bewildered.

      We have a (private school) client running Filemaker Pro 9.0v3. We recently upgraded their network hardware and replaced a bunch of older PCs with new ones (HP DC7900 USDTs).

      The client has a requirement to connect to a remote server from time to time to access and update census data for their school's governing body. To do that, what they do is initiate an SSH session using Putty to a remote server and log in to the machine (it's a linux box of some description). Once they do that, they then launch Filemaker and the remote databases appear under favourites.

      Since we have replaced their machines, this doesn't work. Putty logs in to the remote server fine, but the remote databases don't appear in favourites so they can't access them.

      Firstly: we have a slight networking issue to resolve as the old machines work, but only from one VLAN. So potentially there is maybe a port that hasn't been forwarded to the other VLANs or something (port 5003 according to the docs?)

      However - the main issue is that the new machines do not see these remote databases at all. We can plug an old machine into the same port and it works fine. Plug a new one in (and we have tried a few), doesn't work. Both machines are using the same XP SP3 image with Filemaker preinstalled (just different drivers injected into them).

      Some different things that have been tried include:

      - Turn off Windows firewall altogether

      - Add machine to DMZ of hardware firewall (they have a Cisco ASA) so it is not blocked by anything

      - Try on a different network - we actually unplugged it from the domain and used a 3G wireless card to do the same thing - no difference

      - We have done some network logging via Wireshark and it SEEMS as if the HP machines are doing something different with the packets that are broadcast to it. Speaking to our techs this morning they made the suggestion that it looks as if a DNS request is coming in to the local machine and it should be responding with the names of the databases and the localhost IP address (127.0.0.1) but it isn't.

      It's a bit of a new one on us as we're not really experienced with Filemaker so don't know what network requests actually happen behind the scenes for the remote databases to appear.

      Any ideas or suggestions as to how we continue troubleshooting this - or any questions? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance :)

        • 1. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
          TS_alphabeta

          This is a very wild guess. I apologize in advance if it does not yield any results but it's worth giving a try. Could you copy the server.pem file from a working machine (located in the FileMaker folder in program files) and place it in the same location on a non working machine and see if it resolves the issue?

          • 2. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
            philmodjunk

            A test that may shed some light: Can you type in the IP Address/Filename and get the file to open?

            • 3. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
              BenM

              Thanks for the suggestions.

              I have passed these on to our tech so they can check them out when next on site. I don't know if typing in the IP address/filename will work - from what I can see on the working machines; the IP address of the remote database is a 127.0.0 (ie a localhost) address - even though the actual database is hosted remotely. I am pretty sure the client said he did try to add this manually and it didn't work, but I could be wrong.

              I am still a bit unsure why establishing an SSH connection to a remote server actually causes the initial broadcast of the new databases to happen? It seems a bit strange to me - is this something that's commonly done? (I'm not really familiar with Filemaker at all, can you tell??) :)

              • 4. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                philmodjunk

                This appears to be a WAN (wide area network) set up. I suspect you need to "manually" connect to the host at least once before it lists in the favorites box, where on a LAN ( local area network ) filemaker uses Bonjour to scan the network for open filemaker DB's.

                This is getting outside my area of expertise, however, so I could easily be wrong here.

                • 5. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                  etripoli

                  Servers/databases will only be listed under 'favourites' if they have been manually added, as Phil stated, using the IP Address of the Filemaker server.

                  Also, you make it sound as if the SSH connection needs to be running before the remote databases can be used, which means you might be trying to use a tunnel between the Windows machine running Putty, and the Linux box running OpenSSH.  Have you verified that SSH on Putty is configured for tunneling?

                  • 6. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                    BenM

                    Thank you all for the suggestions.

                    PhilModJunk - I would agree with you that it's a WAN issue - except for the fact that other machines work fine over the same WAN link (and indeed in the same network port as the new machines). That's why it seems a bit bizarre to me. T

                    etripoli - the client claims they just 'appear' under favourites when things are working properly; ie if he has not established an SSH connection they're not there, but if he establishes one prior to launching Filemaker, that they do appear. More than likely you're right and he has misunderstood how it works though.... I'm just the mug that has to try and fix his issue ;p

                    Your second paragraph is exactly correct - the SSH connection needs to be up and running before accessing the remote databases - I did not even think to check Putty's configuration but that is an excellent suggestion - if that is the issue that would definitely explain the symptoms we're seeing perfectly. 

                    Unfortunately we did not set the systems up, but the client claims they're exactly the same image as the old ones - perhaps he has missed something in Putty. Will compare settings with a working machine.

                    (Still have not been on site to investigate these things further as the client is about an hour's drive away, but we'll hopefully be able to enact some of these suggestions very soon).

                    • 7. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                      philmodjunk

                      "...except for the fact that other machines work fine over the same WAN link..."

                      Yes, but weren't they linked manually some time in the past whereas your new machines have not been? This is a one time action to add the connection to the favorites list.

                      • 8. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                        BenM

                        According to the client they never needed adding manually... and according to him he has tried adding them manually this time and it didn't make any difference, they still couldn't connect. Perhaps he was using the wrong parameters. We'll certainly try adding them again though.

                        I've just had a quick chat to our tech who is working on it, the Putty settings is a non-starter - they have already been checked - twice by our tech and once by the client, the SSH / tunnelling settings are exactly the same on the working / non working machines. :(

                        • 9. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                          BenM

                          Well, the results are in, and we got it working.

                          Basically, we were able to add the databases to favourites manually, by specifiying the correct database name and using the localhost IP address (127.0.0.1).

                          Once that was done, everything is sweet - initiate an SSH connection first to create the tunnel, and Filemaker works fine and connects to the databases via the favourites link.

                          If you don't create an SSH connection first the databases are still listed in favourites but can't be accessed.

                          This is different behaviour than on the old machines (on the old machines, the databases do not even appear in favourites if the SSH connection isn't active, they only appear when it's connected).

                          I suspect it's due to the new hardware, for whatever reason Filemaker isn't seeing the tunnel when it's created on the local machine, but adding it manually works around that. Fingers crossed this little work around will keep him happy.

                          Thankyou for the suggestions everyone :)

                          • 10. Re: Network databases not visible on certain machines
                            RobFisher

                            @alphabeta

                            Thanks for the suggestion, that just fixed my problem!  Why does that happen?  What's the deal?