8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 24, 2011 2:26 AM by HaniYakoob

    Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server

    HaniYakoob

      Title

      Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server

      Your post

      Hello guys,

      I a new customer for File Maker software and I need to buy a package for my coming project .

      I need to host File Maker server for about 50 Clients ( GP's and  Opticians) to let them have access to it and build patients files and databse which is stored remotely and shared to all of my customers .

      We cant have any downtime to either the server ( the File Maker Server software ) or the database storage avilablity , so I need to implent a fail over server and maybe storage clustering or an external shared storge solyution .

      I understand that this place would the best place to find and ask for the experties advice as this sort of senario maight have been implented before with cost effective solution .

       

      I would really appreciate it if I could get you Guys help and advice regarding this new project of mine .

      Note: I have tow options to host the servers , either locally in my house ( cut the cost , though bit risky) or host them in a hosting company .

       

      Egaerly waiting for your ideas

      Regards

       

       

        • 1. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
          philmodjunk

          This isn't a perfect scenario for us, but maybe a discription of it will help get the ball rolling to even better options.

          We have two servers for two departments. I'll call them Server A and Server B.

          We use Windows Server on these two machines so I set up VB Scripts that are run once a night to copy the verified nightly backups from Server A to a directory on Server B and another VB Script that copies the nightly back ups from Server B to Server A. Once I used the Admin console to close these files, they stay closed and the VB Scripts can replace them with new copies each time they run without triggering any errors.

          Should a server fail, we can bring up the backed up copies on the other server simply by using the server console to open the "emergency back up" files on the other server. This takes a very few minutes to do and the workstations can then connect to these files inplace of the original files.

          • 2. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
            HaniYakoob

            That interesting solution, however, there are 2 downside to it :

            1-in case of server failure, your 2nd server (B) will not take over automatically as you need to do that manulally as you said .

            2-In case of losing server A at sometime in the afternoon , you lose all the data as you only do the back up during night time . In essence you have only databse updeted till that morining .

            I would appreciate it if you could give me the steps and the scrpt to do that as I am not File Maker user by any chance , and would still welcome another solution that could what I am looking for .

            I m happy to use Server 2008 if that is going to help using some of its features to provide that solution.

             

            Many thansk for your comment and look forward to get the script if that was possible

             

            • 3. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
              philmodjunk

              2) Yes, I'm aware of that limitation. In our situation, we are recording sales transactions that are also recorded on paper as well as backed up hourly in unverified backups. (Verification slows server performance to a crawl, so you can't enable verification for hourly back ups.) We figure that we can continue to log transactions until we can recover the data from the latest hourly backup and then can restore the last hour's transactions from the paper records. (I have a server side script that I can run from the server console that alters the serial number settings so that the records logged to the back up copy have unique values to make merging data back into a recovered copy at later date fairly straight forward.)

              I would appreciate it if you could give me the steps and the scrpt to do that

              Exactly what do you want? I can post a link to a thread that lists the VB Script if you want, but it may not be usuable for you. It depends on what OS your server uses and you may need to make additional changes to it to adjust for your permissions and domains as well as the filenames of your database files. (We use a very simple set up that isn't really very secure and I don't recommend setting yours up exactly like ours.)

              • 4. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
                HaniYakoob

                 

                Thanks for your reply. 

                I will use any OS, server 2008 R2 or Win7 64 bit .  

                I meant the steps to do your solution (including the scripts) and the rest of the steps to if that was ok .

                You mentioned something very interesting about security, I though file maker Server will have a fairley secure access, as it uses certificate to authenticate users. ?? is that not secure enough ???

                Should I use VPN in this case ?

                Also I don’t think that I will use Active Directory as all the clients will be part of their Active Directory.

                 

                Regards

                • 5. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
                  philmodjunk

                  The lack of our security is that the script backs up to a shared directory instead of using a server domain to access the directory on the other server. Thus it would be fairly easy to grap a copy of the backed up database, though the database itself is secured with passwords.

                  Here's the VB Script I used, though I'd rather have a domain setup and used it to access the destintation folder for this file copy operation:

                  'Send Backups to Z: drive
                  'Created By Phil Caulkins
                  '06/04/2009

                  'This script copies all backed up filemaker files from today's backup folder to networked folder mapped as drive 'z:'
                  'File operations are logged to a text file that will be found in the same folder as this file
                  'This log file is overwritten each time the script runs

                  On Error Resume Next

                  'Put the name of your back up schedule here:
                  ScheduleName = "Daily"

                  'Put the back up schedule's scheduled time here in 24hr format: (10:30 PM = 2230)
                  BTime = "2230"

                  'To copy from yesterday's backup folder instead of today's, change day(date) to day(date) - 1 in the following expression
                  Bfolder = ScheduleName & "_" & Year(date) & "-" & right("0" & month(date),2) & "-" & right("0" & day(date),2) & "_" & BTime

                  'Put the filepath (without drive letter) to the folder that contains your backed up files here
                  'with double backslashes between folder names
                  FolderPath = "\\BackUps\\" & Bfolder & "\\FM Server Files\\"

                  strComputer = "."

                  Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
                  Set objtxtfile = objFSO.CreateTextFile("SendToZLog.txt")

                  objtxtFile.Writeline (Bfolder)

                  'Delete current copy of file

                  Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
                      & "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")

                  If Err then
                     LogErrorInfo
                  Else
                    objtxtFile.Writeline ("No Error: Connect to root")
                  End If

                  'z: is a mapped to the network folder where these files will be copied.
                  'Permissions on this drive have to be set to allow creation and deletion of files from the server user account
                  Set colFiles = _
                      objWMIService.ExecQuery("Select * From CIM_DataFile Where drive = 'z:' and Extension = 'FP7'")

                  If Err then
                    logErrorInfo
                  Else
                    objtxtFile.Writeline ("No Error: Query Shared Folder")
                  End If

                  For Each objFile in colFiles

                      objtxtFile.Writeline (objFile.filename & " Deleted")

                      objFile.Delete
                     
                      If Err then
                         LogErrorInfo
                      End If

                  Next

                  'copy most recent back up files

                  Set colFiles = _
                      objWMIService.ExecQuery("Select * From CIM_DataFile Where Path = '" & FolderPath & "' and Extension = 'FP7'")

                  If Err Then
                    LOgErrorInfo
                  Else
                    objtxtFile.Writeline ("No Error: Query Back Up Folder")
                  End If

                  For Each objFile in colFiles
                      strNewFile = "Z:" & objFile.FileName & ".FP7"
                      objFile.Copy strNewFile
                      If Err THen
                         LogErrorInfo
                      Else
                         objtxtFile.Writeline ("Copied " & objfile.filename)
                      End If
                  Next

                  objtxtfile.close

                  Sub LOgErrorInfo

                     objtxtFile.Writeline (Err & "  " & Err.source & ", " & Err.Description)
                     err.Clear

                  End Sub

                  This script cannot be run from a server schedule as it accesses an external drive. It must be run from the OS and we do that by opening up Scheduled Tasks from Window's Start | Programs menu.

                  • 6. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
                    HaniYakoob

                    That was very kind my friend , and will defentely get the benifit from your solution in a way or another .

                     

                    Couple of points here to mention and inquire about :

                    1-I won’t use Active Directory as some of  my clients are member of their active directory and some are part of WORKGROUP only . is that fine you think ?

                    2-Should I rely on the authentication of the File Maker Server being secure enough or I need another aspect of security ? Would VPN be possible here?

                    3- I had other solutions to this project which was using load balancer at the front and cluster the back end , but not sure if that would be a good one . Also I had couple of softwaes that could be installed on the server and dedicate the server 2 in case server 1 was failed !

                    I could use Citrix (Virtualization) to implement one of these solution I think.

                    Many thanks again

                    • 7. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
                      philmodjunk

                      1) FileMaker's account name/password/privilegeset system works fairly well. The main advantages to using server level authentication such as Active Directory is: a) your users can use a password they already know. b) You do not have to manage changes to user accounts on each and every individual file if your database system has more than one file. You can created scripted support for changing/adding accounts when you need to modify accounts in a multi-file system, but you can avoid this issue if you use active directory. On the other hand, using server level authentication often emeshes you in politics with the IT staff unless you are also a member of their group as you have to coordinate any changes to the Active Directory with your FileMaker system.

                      That said, I haven't used server level authentication myself, so I am basically summarizing to you what I remember reading in the Filemaker Training Series book and here in the forum.

                      2) Depends on what you mean by "secure enough". All security is relative and much depends on the the nature of your data (will hackers around the world stay up nights trying to figure out how to get into your system or will no one care?) and the topography of your system. (Can you keep it 100% on the LAN behind the strongest Firewalls you can set up, or will remote users be using FileMaker or a web browser to access the database?)

                      The rest of your questions are beyond any experience/ability on my part to make any recommendations or comments.

                      • 8. Re: Help for a Potential customer to implement fail over solution for File Maker Server
                        HaniYakoob

                        I had an advice of using File Maker on virtual platform ( Hyper-V) with Clustering in order to have  fail over . I was wondering if that is going work , and if somebody from File Maker or someone has done before ,could advise further .