7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 30, 2015 6:57 AM by ryanmead83

    Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?


      Hi everyone.  I use FileMaker as our CRM so we also upload files to accounts and so on periodically.  Usually they are small, 80% of the time they are just Outlook .msg files the rest PDFs of 1-2MB in total.  Right now my database is 75MB in size.

      I don't notice any performance issues or anything like that, but it got me thinking, is it smart to keep all the files in the same database as the file records?  We use FileMaker server which is hosted, so I can't save files to a folder on the server, but I might bring it in house later so that could be an option if there's a way to save them to a folder on the server vs the file.  The other option I guess is a second database just for the files, so that I have 2 files or whatever?  Or does it matter if they are all in one?  Just not sure how that would work when the database file becomes like 500MB+ so thought I'd check to see what most people do.  Thanks so much as always.

        • 1. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

          i have an image heavy database that is over 2GB and it is always fast. I do store images I their own table. I considered a separate file but I do not see the need for it. I am happy with the image being stored in the database.


          IF you have separate files on the same server things are still very fast and you likely would not notice a difference but you gain having the files and data separated. This can have issues as well, but basically it is minimal.


          MY opinion is that if you can keep it all in one file and it still performs well keep it that way.

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          • 2. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

            There really isn't a best practice per se on this as it varies wildly depending on each file. You're thinking the right way though.

            There are advantages and disadvantages to storing your files inside of the .fmp12.


            Say for instance your file is 75mb now, that file + 7 days of backups = 600mb of drive space. But when you get to 500mb in file size, that balloons to 4gb of drive space. Still not a lot, but something to consider.


            My thoughts for you would be:


            1) How long have you been entering data? EG if you arrived at 75mb in a week vs. a month vs. a year it might sway a recommendation.


            2) How often do existing documents change?


            3) How many users?


            4) how many accounts are in your company table? (EG average size per record)


            The great part about filemaker managed storage, is if you ever DO change it, filemaker can take care of moving all of the existing container content into a managed directory later on.


            At the moment, my advice would be keep it where it is since you're using a hosting service, and 75mb isn't large at all. But, should you change to an in-house server, consider switching to secure managed storage.

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            • 3. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

              Great thanks Tom,


              I'll keep it as is for now.  I just didn't want to leave it and then have my database get to be 1GB or something and then have everyone on here be like NEVER keep your files in the same database!  And have to try to fix it then.

              • 4. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

                Thanks Mike,


                We've been using FM for maybe 8 months or so, but really it's just myself.  I have another rep and one other starting soon but they use it much less frequently as I do.  Documents are never changed, these are more things like a customer signing a contract and I upload it to FileMaker under my Contracts module to remind me when they are coming up for renewal.  They are stored in offsite storage as well, so having them in FM is really more of a convenience vs being some super critical document repository, as in if they ever got erased it wouldn't be the end of the world.


                I'd say it spiked recently because I haven't stored files in FM until maybe a month ago, so not sure what it was at before.  I'll keep an eye on it maybe over the next month or two see how fast it grows and base it off that, as you make a good point regarding backups as I could see them getting large if the file does, but I think it should be fine for now.

                • 5. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

                  if you want to move the files to secure external storage later it is pretty easy to do. If you want to move it to a separate file it is a little more involved but still fairly easy. Like Mike said FM handles a lot.


                  Regarding backups, disk space is super cheap these days.  I have no issues with keeping regular backups of large filles.

                  • 6. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

                    As bigtom says, big databases in terms of GB behave well. That is, until you get a storm on a Sunday with nobody in the office, the UPS keeps the server up for 15 min then it's over and on Monday morning 30 people must wait 40 minutes for the Image database to be verified before opening by the server. Or the server crashes in the middle of the day for whatever reason, no way to shut down gracefully, not even from terminal, and it's the same song.


                    Keeping only a reference to the file and viewing it through a WebViewer (which when clicked opens the original file in Preview) has become the best strategy for us.

                    • 7. Re: Best practices for file storage with FileMaker?

                      Thanks everyone.  Right now I have a button in FileMaker where I can

                      highlight a portal row, click it and it opens the file.  Been amazing so

                      far, PDFs or even Outlook .MSG files literally open instantly.  That's why

                      I've been using it more, mainly to save emails to it vs keeping them in