9 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2010 4:53 AM by PointInSpace

    Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance



      Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

      Your post

      Hi There,


      A client of my company runs software based on Filemaker 10 server. The software package consists of approx. 20 filemaker databases totalling about 3gb in size and there are up to 70 users connected simultaniously (via filemaker 10 client over 100mb or 1gb lan).


      The platform the software is running on is a IBM x3650 with dual quadcore 3ghz Xeons running VMWare ESX 3.5i, and is connected to a HP MSA2012i iSCSI san for storage.


      The filemaker server has 4gb of ram and 4 vCPUs assigned, and a RAID10 array on the SAN of 6 x 15k SAS disks.


      The host server never uses more than approx 30% cpu or 25% ram, yet there are SEVERE performance issues in the application. Often (at least once an hour) all clients will get an hourglass for up to 5min at a time or will be disconnected. There are no other known network issues.


      The software vendor is claiming that Filemaker Server has known severe performance issues running in a virtual environment when under high load and that they cannot get support from Filemaker for systems hosted in a virtual environment.


      Has anyone else had issues/experience running filemaker in this kind of setup? Is there a way we can troubleshoot this issue without having the passwords to look at the filemaker code directly?


      Thanks in advance

        • 1. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance
             We're running a slightly larger db with a few less people - but it is hosted on a VMWare virtual machine. From a user standpoint, I think it works better than on a physical machine. From an administrative point I think it's better as Windows crashed and the FM database came back with no issues (when it was on a physical machine, there would have been db corruption.)
          • 2. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

            You were lucky that your database came back up without corruption when it crashed under the virtual machine.  The fact it did has nothing to do with running under a virtual machine vs. a physical machine, FYI.  Rather, it is more a toss of the dice whether or not you'll get corruption on a hard crash depending on what is sitting in the RAM and disk cache at the time.


            I also find it interesting that FileMaker won't provide any support on running in a virtual os environment, yet seems to be pushing just such practice lately...  Personally, given the choice it's *always* better to run on a physical vs. virtual machine - that's just plain logic.


            - John

            • 3. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance
                 Are there any schedules running?  Almost sounds like they have a backup scheduled to run every hour.
              • 4. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance
                   There was a backup schedule set to run every hour, it completed within about 2 minutes however and did not corrospond with the issues. It is currently disabled anyway. There was also another schedule that ran which did some maintenance task (i think updated some reports in the database or something) which when running did cause a slowdown, however it is also now disabled and the issues are continuing.
                • 5. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance
                     I realize this might be very difficult to impossible, but I wonder what would happen if you hosted the file without the VMWare. If you still got the slow downs, it would tell you it's not a VMWare issue but rather some issue with either the server or the database design itself.
                  • 6. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

                    At the moment that is looking like our only option, since the vendor is pretty much refusing to troubleshoot the app while it is on a virtualised platform. It's going to be a real hassle though, we don't exactly have the kind of hardware just required lying around and dont want to ask our client to make that kind of investment for just testing purposes. Especially since less than six months ago they made a very large investment into their current gear with the understanding it would be what all that would be required for the forseable future, and it is running every other network service fine.


                    • 7. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

                      Check the table linkage,  we don't quite get 5 minutes of hourglass for everyone.  But when we have a job running that does major lookup in a table with 8+ M rows,  it can take up to several hours and slow everyone else down.  Filemaker is slow for lookups or calculations.


                      Was anyone doing anything funky when the slowdown happened?  A badly design portion of the FM system can cause the issues you're seeing.

                      • 8. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

                        I am also having trouble with Filemaker and virtual machines although my problem is a bit more specific. I wonder if anyone could suggest a fix.


                        We run Filemaker Server (v11 Advanced) on a 2-machine model. The main database server is running on a phyiscal machine. The web services run on a VMware VM under Windows 2003. Additionally, I have another VM with Windows XP and Filemaker Pro 11 on that runs a series of scripts every 5 minutes (I know this should be done on the server now but needs a lot of re-coding!).


                        Everything runs fine 99.5% of the time. The specific issue we have found is when the VMs are backed up. We use Veeam to do this and like most virtual backup products, they snapshot the VM before they start the backup so that they can get a consistent image of the VM. The problem I am having is that the snapshot process momentarily pauses the machine itself. This causes both FMP11 and, suprisingly, the web services on the second Filemaker Server, to lose connection with the main server (presumably the VMs experience momentary unavailability of the main db server). The web server picks up after a few minutes without intervention, but inevitably the FMP11 client just gets the regular "lost connection to the server" dialog and the databases need to be opened afresh.


                        Is there anything that can be done to make FMP11 and the web server a bit more tolerant of momentary disconnection from the server, or else some other work around?




                        • 9. Re: Filemaker 10 server on VMWare ESX performance

                          There's not going to be anything you can do to make FileMaker more tolerant to dropped connections.


                          Your problem is the method being used to to backups - eg: snapshots instead of file-level backups.  On our virtualized FileMaker servers we *always* do file-level backups instead of snapshots specifically to prevent these problems you mention from occurring.


                          - John