14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2011 1:30 PM by philmodjunk

    File crashes after Server Switch

    JCrawford

      Title

      File crashes after Server Switch

      Your post

      The obvious answer to this question is "please provide more information." But I hope you can point me in a good direction.

      I've developed FM since 1991, was the server administrator until 2009, but have not had server-setup responsibilities since 2000. So I'm not very familiar with recent server setups. Also, I mostly use PC to develop FM files, as my customers are in a PC environment, and I have more confidence my finished product is the same as their finished product if we use the same platform.

      I recently had a customer with a Mac environment instead. I developed the file on my PC, and then installed it on a Mac mini server. My contract specified I was not responsible for any networking, or to load files on the server, or to solve their networking difficulties. But I did upload the file to test all the users and then tested all fields scripts, layouts etc., and entered a backlog of data over a week's time. The file performed as I wanted, but did crash once when I swept the mouse very quickly across the screen.

      A few months later, after the contract ended, my customer purchased another server and attempted to either migrate the file to a new server, or to remap the mini server to the new server. It's not clear what they did. However, after this event, the file began to crash very often, and they lost data.

      My customer remembered that it crashed with me once, so they suggested the new spate of crashing files trails back to my development. Their own IT guy believes it is an error in new server setup and not the file. When I stopped by to look, I also noticed both the server and user versions of FileMaker needed the latest updates, too, and asked their IT guy to update those as well.

      Bottom line - I don't want to spend a lot of uncompensated time troubleshooting their network, and my contract specifically excuses me from that responsibility. The file worked well when it wasn't networked (never crashed).

      Does this appear to be a network issue or a file issue?

      What is the chance that a file developed in PC and deployed in Mac would introduce bugs or errors that cause the file to crash? If this were the case, then maybe I have some of the blame.

      Thanks for any help, even if you have to say I haven't given you enough info.

        • 1. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
          philmodjunk

          Neither you nor I can tell without more info. It's possible the file was damaged when they uploaded it if they tried to copy if from one server to the other without first closing the file. Problems configuring the server are more likely to keep the database from launching or being listed on the client computers than random, frequent crashes.

          • 2. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
            JCrawford

            Thanks for your reply. I remember files crashing years ago before backup power supplies were commonplace. The power would go out and the files would die. Sometimes they were so damaged they wouldn't open again, but rarely were they permanently damaged. The "recover" function was a good fix. But those were pretty simple files back then, without so many parts to bust up.

            I will make sure the IT guy has server software and the file on the correct server, and the server/user updatees are in place. Then I will give recover a try - unless you have any further advice.

            Again, thank you.

            • 3. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
              philmodjunk

              Back then and still today...

              Things to keep in mind about Recover:

              1. Recover does not detect all problems
              2. Recover doesn't always fix all problems correctly
              3. Best Practice is to never put a recovered copy back into regular use or development. Instead, replace the damaged file with an undamaged back up copy if this is at all possible. You may have to save a clone of the back up copy and import all data from your recovered copy to get a working copy with the most up to date information possible.
              • 4. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                JCrawford

                Thank you again. I've asked the company to locate a backup before the crashing began. My copy of the original file is no longer current (some new reports and filter functions were added after I gave them the file).

                They backup several times a day, rather than nightly. Would that cause a problem if they backup while someone is actively creating a record?

                • 5. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                  philmodjunk

                  Back ups from a server scheduled backup should not be an issue. Server is specifically designed to permit "live" backups from a server schedule, it pauses access to the database while backing up, queing client requests, then runs the que after the backup is done.

                  If third party backup software backs up the currently open database file, the back ups could be corrupted. I've even had FileMaker Techs warn that this could damage the original file, but I have never seen how that could be possible...

                  • 6. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                    JCrawford

                    You're the best. Thanks for insights.

                    I believe they are using a third pary backup software as I was told by the project manager "they back up everything every two hours" including all email, word files, spreadsheets, and at least one other ancient health services database (not FM). So it sounds like some software sweeps through and makes a backup copy of everything.

                    I can ask them to set the FM backup within FM Server instead. But this does call into question the usefulness of any backup copies they have.

                    Thank you so much for sharing this important info.

                    • 7. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                      JCrawford

                      Hello Phil. 

                      I hope you can continue to help as I now have more information about the file that is crashing on a Mac mini server, which is running current version of FileMaker Server. 

                      First, I saved a backup copy on a desktop and ran Recover. No errors found in the file itself. 

                      Second, the Log Viewer on the server has several "warning" types which read as follows:

                      14:13:39 - Warning - Client 1 "no longer responding, connection closed" (51)
                      14:13:39 - Warning - Email notification to administrators failed: Cannot connect to SMTP server (-220)
                      14:14:37 - Warning -  Client 2 "no longer responding, connection closed" (51)
                      14:14:37 - Warning - Email notification to administrators failed: Cannot connect to SMTP server (-220)

                      After the 14:13:39 connection closed, Client 1 called the server manager to report the file "crashed."

                      Third, I have a 20 page error report as a Word file which cites 13 crashes. Is it possible to send to you? You may be able to browse page 1 and have an opinion. An image for page 1 is uploaded at http://docuPub.com/pdfconvert/done.aspx?cID=02c1104d-cfe8-4e3b-81b0-7143aa2d0e1b ... I have attached it also as a file as there is a timelimit on the website temporarily hosting the document. 

                       

                      Does any of this information help you point to a problem with frequent crashing? Or can I send you the longer report by some means? 

                      Many thanks. 

                      • 8. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                        philmodjunk

                        The error report would tell me nothing, but you may be able to get someon that works for FileMaker inc to take a look.

                        So the crash is occurring for a client but other users are still able to access the Database and you can see that the file is still open in the server Admin console?

                        Or did the server crash?

                        Client side crashes may require investigating the client's computer for issues and you may also need to verify that your network itself is healthy.

                        • 9. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                          JCrawford

                          Thank you for your reply.

                          Sorry, I am not the Information System Manager so don't know the nature or health of the network in question. It is an apple network. Apparently they have two Mac mini servers that don't hold something that resembles an IP address. These servers default back to another address.  I don't think it is an IP address ... but something similar. The FileMaker file I created resides on one of those mini-servers.The problem seems to be the server cannot hold a connection to the various clients. I don't know if the clients lose connection simultaneously, the log viewer indicates otherwise.

                          Also, I scanned that entire 20 page report on FileMaker crashing and while I don't understand the complete meaning, these are the only references to words such as "crash," "fail," , it does look like a network as opposed to file or user issue. Here is a summary:

                          Crashes since last report - 13
                          Exception type - EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
                          Exception code - KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS
                          Crashed Thread - Dispatch queue
                          Crashed With X86 Thread State (32-bit)

                          I found internet dialogues on this subject at the urls below. Will send to the tech mgr in charge of the server in question. These implicate the server itself, not the FM Server software or the client.

                          https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1447915?start=0&tstart=0

                          http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#technotes/tn2004/tn2123.html

                           

                          • 10. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                            philmodjunk

                            How are the clients connecting to the database?

                            Do they launch Filemaker and use open remote to connect to it?

                            • 11. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                              JCrawford

                              The client I observed is probably typical. She launched FileMaker and then chose the file from the Quick Start menu. I also saw a note on her desk describing the steps to use "Open Remote" and I'm sure they also use "Open Recent."

                              I think I see where you are leading.

                              The Quick Start and Open Recent shortcuts may take the client through some sort of elaborate pointing system to the new file location (the MIS guy said he built some sort of pointing system). So my users should clear those short cuts, then use Open Remote to go to the most direct location ... ? And they may need  the correct file path from the MIS manager?

                              • 12. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                                philmodjunk

                                Open Remote is the safe way to open the database. If a use selects open from the file menu, navigates to a shared directory and then attempts to open the file, they can corrupt the file.

                                Open recent could just be a faster way for opening the file via open remote if that was the method used the last time or it could be the method we want to avoid here if that was the previously used method. Don't know if the other options in quick start are linking directly or indirectly. If directly, this could be the cause of your crashes.

                                One quick way to eliminate this risk is to disable sharing on the folder that stores the file. This will not keep open remote from working, but will disable any user shortcuts that go directly to that file in a shared directory.

                                • 13. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                                  JCrawford

                                  I don't believe they are navigating to a shared folder where the database resides. I believe their only initial access was via Open Remote. Thereafter, they used the Open Recent and QuickStart menus.

                                  When the file was moved from its original location, the MIS manager created a pointing system from the old file location to the new file location. That pointing system may have been the fragile link leading to file crashing. I recommeded they clear the backlog of Quick Start and Open Recent files, and then use Open Remote function to navigate to the correct file location.

                                  I will also recommend they "disable sharing" on the folder that stores the file. I hope this will be the "cure."

                                  Thanks for the advice.

                                  • 14. Re: File crashes after Server Switch
                                    philmodjunk

                                    If this db is a single file solution, the "pointing system" is not needed. If it consists of more than one file, the external data source references may need to be reviewed for any needed updates. (If all references are relative path references, no such updaing is needed.)

                                    And if they have been directly accessing the file, it may be damaged...