8 Replies Latest reply on May 26, 2013 11:50 AM by davidanders

    Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users



      Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users


      Hi There,

      I need some advice with regard to network setup for a client. This client is in central Africa and the internet is a bit sticky sometimes. The an office in town and then another site out in the jungle. The remote site has internet connectivity but it is not 100% reliable. My client has purchased a FM server license and some FM Pro licenses and now I need to get the network working. 

      For me this is going to be a nice project, as I get to play with FM tech I havent had the chance of playing with, namely IWP. I need to know what would be the best setup. I am planing on placing the FM Server in the town office and then the FM Pro in the remote site. I am also developing a portion of the program to run on iPad's in the remote site and a IWP section for connection when the users are out of the country. The Pro sections will be where most of the accounting and stock movement/management is handled which is in the town office and remote site. The iPad's will mainly be used for logging staff working hours and entering in new stock items into the system. Some of the users will need to go do reports at clients which can be anywhere in the country and even out of the country, so I am thinking of using IWP for that. 

      My main issue is how do i setup the system. My client doesn't want to spend to much on the network setup, as we have to improve the wireless connectivity in the remote site due to interference, and there are other costs that are cutting into the budget. If i place the FM Server in the town office where there is a better connection, that should be ok for the IWP side of things. For the remote site machines running FM Pro to connect to the town office running the FM Server, could I - 
      a - Just use the FM network?
      b - Maybe get RDP sessions going between the server box and the remote site clients
      c - Maybe use something like GoZync to replicate the database every 15min?

      I am not to sure which would be the best solution for my client. I am trying to think of all the pros and cons with regards to their setup/network/connection speed and I am sure i am missing something. I am just afraid of data loss. Should the line go down between the remote site and the office, how would FileMaker handle that drop? I am busy reading up on it on the FM knowledge base, but so far I havent found anything to useful. What would be the better solution?

        • 1. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

               Yes, you are missing how FMP Server works.


               You need a wireless router connected to your ISP provider modem.  I would use a UPS back up power to maintain and filter power to router and ISP modem.

               In Town...

               Duplicate same as remote.wink

               FMP does the saves automatically in an encrypted and secure connection using the ISP line.


               Read up on port forwarding from Router to your Sever and Remote Clients....

               Set the ports up on Sever and Clents Computer

               Set up FMP security with user name and password.


               Cross your fingers on ISP reliability and Back Up your DB files on the Server at least Daily.

               Good Luck...


          • 2. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                 Hi Jim,


                 Thank-you for the advice. I have just spent the better part of Friday night reading up on port forwarding which lead to port numbers, and then to containers and so on Im still teaching myself server as I haven't really done much on server yet. I have done the backup schedules and open/closing files, but remote connections I am a bit sticky on, which is why I am so excited about this project I am on, because I have to make my program available via either FM PRO 12, FM Go 12  or IWP with the file being hosted on FM Server 12. The IWP is brand new to me and that is what this weekend is for :).  With regards to the town and remote site, the machines and routers are already on UPS's and when I setup the Server I will make sure that the backups are set. Then I will make sure the ports are open. With regards to the ports, 5003 is a given, but I also saw something about port 16000 with regards to ...progressively download content ... but it is listed under the Admin console launch page section. So I am a bit unclear about that one, cause from what i found, that mainly has to do with downloading content. Would that mean that i need to open port 16000 and 16001 as well? This got me thinking about my project. We have built a basic version for the guys in the remote site to start capturing inventory items and staff check in/out times. This is so that we can start getting some live test data into the system, for testing calculations and field behaviour. For the inventory side there can be between 1 and 3 container images per stock item (Inventory table) and the clock in/out section (employee table) at the moment, has up to 8 containers but this could be increased as the program is being developed. With about a quarter of of the stock take done and only one of the container fields in the employees section completed, the DB is already over 400mb and it is mainly the images. 


                 I was thinking of the option to store the images externally on the server. From what I have read, it should help with performance and backups. The only worry is that at the remote location, there is at any one time, up to 4 iPads, 2 -3  Mac's and roughly 7-10 Windows PC's and if I am correct the connection speed out of the site is either 1Mb/s or 512kb/s. I will have to double check on that, but the office in town only has about 4 or 5 PC's at anyone time, and the connection in the town office is I think 2Mb/s. I am worried that with the images, if the guys in the office are viewing a lot of stock cards, or dealing with a lot of employee files, all at one time, could that not slow down the network terribly? I did see the option to store a thumbnail, in the manager-->containers settings. I would guess to use that option. 


                 I have done the store external images, on a backup copy, and the file has gone from 421Mb to 13,3Mb and the images file is just under 300Mb. Now if thumbnail's are sent, it's all they really need anyway. They don't need high res large images, when doing certain routines at the site. Anyway, I need to get some sleep so I can tackle this again tomorrow. Thanx again for the advice. 

            • 3. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                   Woooopppssss!surprise   I was responding to a BASIC system set up.  When you add IWP, as general public, and/or the quantity for remote client users you shifted into "high gear"cool.  I understand that type, but I am not the best source of information on that type set up.


                   Server computer might need multiple ethernet ports to be combined or "linked" for bandwidth and very robust.  The Server should be wired Ethernet and not wireless to the ISP.  A wireless router can still be used by local clients to insert themselves on the Ethernet.  You might need 2 Servers to "Hot Switch" for backups and reiiability.

                   I am not familiar with Port 16000


                   Basically depends on traffic out bound on the ISP.  You should discuss that with the ISP on their speed and bandwidth.

                   Data handling...

                   External file referencing is the way to go, plus the Hard drive storage should be on the Server computer and not on a LAN.  It should be Thunderbolt connected or direct connected to Server Buss.  Working with Thumbnails is a key, but make sure it is really a Thumbnail and not just a small container dimension of the original file.

                   I work primarily with Apple products and they run a 1Gbit/sec wireless.  Plus they can Pier to Pier without being on you Ethernet LAN.


                   I would start basic level and work out the bugs.  Of course allowing in your setup for future expansion.  IWP can be a killer to your project as i first heard you describe it.  Plus you said "limited budget".

                   You are mixing thought...

                   1)FMP Server set up

                   2) Network speed

                   3) ISP reliability/speed

                   4) Database Design to handle multi screen size users

                   They are all needed, but right down basic needs for each, then plan.

                   You sound like you have a TIGER [no African pun intended] by the Tail..

                   Good Luck...


              • 4. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                     Thanx Jim :) 


                     So best plan is, get the basics working properly and then scale up bit by bit working out the kinks as I go along. If I get stuck you can bet I will be back for more tips :) 

                • 5. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                       Hi Jim,


                       I'm back again. I think I am going ot have to rethink my whole strategy. I have been testing the connection to the program and well IWP is out for a bit, as the server version I have is just that, server. So because it is not the adv server, I am parking that for a bit. When I tried to connect to the program remotely from 2 different locations, the speed was not that great. The records take a while to load and I am just one person on the program, during a very quiet period, plus my connection speed here is a lot better where the program is going to be used. Having more users in the remote site office and only a few in the town office. I am thinking of maybe turning the structure around and putting the server in the remote site, and then the town office can remote in. That would sound like a better option. 


                       I did have a thought about the IWP situation. The web site would mainly only really be used for checking things like stock and time sheets, maybe some financials, so really, static data, for the most part. I read about static web pages, and this got me thinking. Does this sound like a good idea. Hosting the IWP at a hosting company, then on that machine, the program has a sciprt that would get a copy of the DB from the server at the remote site at set intervals, then use that copy at the hosting company. Cause then the site could be hosted virtually anywhere. I was able to get IWP working and now i realise that I will have to create new layouts to display the data so they will look good in IWP. This is not such a bad thing as now i could put an extra button on the IWP layout to run the refresh script should the user want to see updated data. Does my idea sound like it has some merit?

                  • 6. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                         Are you  on location now?   Can you check your ISP speeds?  Using just the internet and not FMP.  I know web sites likehttp://www.speedtest.net/ say they work globally.  Try testing at typical expected traffic times for you net use.

                         Are you wireless or ethernet?  Try both conditions with that test site or similar.

                         Describe your Server computer as to Clock speed and back buss speed?

                         Can you test intranet speeds also?

                         I am not a IWP expert, but it gives the advantage of Brower use versus having a FMP interface.  I could guess that having pre-set pages at slow times would make updating only minor internet  traffic.

                         I would do my speed checks to try to isolate the slow part before I decide where to set up the Server, but Ethernet LAN

                         can be much faster than the internet.


                    • 7. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                           Unfortunately I am not on site. It will have to wait until Monday. In the office the users will all be wired.


                           Honestly the "server" we are using isn't really a server but a desktop machine. I have a virtual server running on it. My client is looking at ordering in a server for us to configure for his site. Looks like Monday is going to be another hectic day. 


                           Thanx again for the help and I will get back when i have the speed results.

                      • 8. Re: Question regarding a network setup with FM server and remote FM Pro users

                             Having the database hosted on a FMP hosting site would prevent or ease many possible problems.

                             Backup of the Database
                             Maintenance of the Server Hardware
                             Power Supply to the Server
                             IWP access
                             Ease of your updating the database

                             Comparing the $25 to $40 per month hosting fee for 1 database vs the cost of running the server.
                             Do not know if the location of the Hosting Service would be a concern - world wide web and all....