3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 11, 2010 10:43 AM by philmodjunk

    Newbie Question - How many DBs do I need?



      Newbie Question - How many DBs do I need?


      I have a sales tracking system right now that uses 6 whiteboards (per business) that I input/track data manually. I want to convert it to run over the Internet using FMP and FMP Advanced Server. Here is the question I have. When data is inputted to one board, it may need to be inputted/updated on another board at the same time. i.e. the boards have to interact with other boards. Can this be designed in FMP Advanced to use just one database for all six boards or will I need a separate (6 total) database for each board?  Also, could I display all 6 boards on one large wall screen monitor or would I need 6 separate monitors?   

        • 1. Re: Newbie Question - How many DBs do I need?

          There's lot in your post we can't answer for you as we don't know your business model. What you mean by a "white board" is a bit vague--just to point out one example.

          In FileMaker, like any other relational database. You can define different tables to store different types of records and you can then link these records in relationships so that you can, for example, select a given customer record from one table and then see a list of all sales made to that customer from a related table. You can also organise your data into different groups of records from the same table or tables. In FileMaker, we call these groups of records "found sets" and we generate them by performing finds that search the tables for records matching criteria we specify.

          In your case, each "white board" could be simply a different found set of records for a different business generated by performing a find for records that have that BusinessID in a given field. It's certainly possible to define the database system so that you can pop up as many "whiteboards" of your data in different windows as you need. These windows could be placed side by side on the same large monitor or even several monitors--though the implementation details on this approach differ depending on whether you use a  Mac or Windows system.

          • 2. Re: Newbie Question - How many DBs do I need?

            Thanks for the response, Phil. Let me give you a better picture. A couple of the boards we use are Telephone and Appointment. When the salesman gets a telephone lead, he enters all the customer info in the Telephone board. If he sets up an appointment with the customer, that needs to be entered in both Telephone and Appointment boards. So my question is, if he enters the Telephone information into the FMP database Telephone board (say running on an iPad), can it be programmed to automatically enter the appointment info into the Appointment DB board at the same time--and can this all run on one database?  

            As far as the monitor(s) go, we were looking at these Smart touch-enabled monitors. Managers could just walk up to the and make edits by just touching the screen. It would be nice if all boards would be displayed side-by-side on one large monitor. Sound feasible? 


            BTW..this whole system will be running from our servers over the Internet to multiple businesses--instead of a local network. If we started out with a Mac mini server, how many databases (say 1 DB per business) do you think we could run off it efficiently? Each business would have an average of 10-15 salesman entering data during the day. Also, if we bought FileServer Pro Advanced right away, can you use it on more than one computer--say we added another Mac mini server down the road? 

            • 3. Re: Newbie Question - How many DBs do I need?

              Given the complexity of your ideas, I strongly suggest you get a local consultant that can sit down with you and diagram out exactly what you need and whether FileMaker is even the best option for you.

              Each of your "bosrds" would be a separate, but related table in FileMaker. They can be separate files or combined into a single file, the basic function will be the same. Using your example, your Telephone table and your Appointment table would link records by customer ID and you'd likely have a third table where you have all the contact info for a given customer stored.

              You cannot add two copies of the same install code of server to two different computers--if on the same net, you'll get an error message and you will also be in violation of your end user license from FileMaker. If you plan to make your database available over the internet to users who access via web browsers--that's one of the primary reasons for FMS advanced--you'll need a consultant even more as Instant Web Publishing puts significant constraints on how you design layouts and scripts to support it.

              You may also want to research hosting services as there are companies that will host your FileMaker DB for you for a monthly fee and this can eliminate technical hassles in getting your software and hardware properly configured for internet hosting.

              Note also, that serving multiple companies doesn't necessarily require separate databases and servers for each company. If you design your database to support it, one set of tables can combine data from multiple clients but use security settings to limit each user to only "their" data.