14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 3, 2015 5:35 AM by g4guitar

    Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?

    g4guitar

      I am in the process of setting up FM Server. I have a static ip and its working nicely. The problem is I need to run a computer 24/7 and won't always be available if the server goes down. Is there an option where I can have it hosted on a cloud service and if so what are the pros and cons?

       

      Thank you very much.

        • 1. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
          sreese

          I've never used FM on a cloud server, but you could probably run it on a full blown windows server like on Azure and see if you can get it working. No idea what the cost would be though.

          • 2. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
            Mike_Mitchell

            There are many cloud services for FileMaker hosting. I generally recommend them to small clients whose user count doesn't justify the expense of setting up a server for their own use. Here are a few of them:

             

            FileMaker Pro Database, Cloud & Server Hosting - FMPHost

            Triple8 - Triple8 Nework - Serving IT Services since 1992

            FileMaker Hosting 14 with WebDirect by Worldcloud | FileMaker Cloud Hosting for FileMaker Pro, Go, CWP, WebDirect +

             

            Using a cloud service offers many advantages:

             

            Professional server admins to administer the server

            Backup management

            Low cost

             

            There are a few disadvantages. Most of the services don't give you access to the full Admin Console (because they share servers between clients). Usually, there will be a web-based tool that allows you to start / stop, upload, and download databases, as well as access your backups. But in order to set up, for example, server-side schedules, or perform other functions that require access to the Console, you generally will need to contact their customer service. (This applies to setting, for example, encryption passwords on the databases as they're uploaded.)

             

            Personally, I think using a cloud service is quite a good option unless you have (a) a large-ish user count, and (b) a reasonably dedicated staff who are qualified for an have the time to perform proper server maintenance. The only exceptions would be if you need 100% full control over the server, or if you're concerned about trusting the databases to a hosting provider for security purposes.

             

            HTH

             

            Mike

            • 3. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
              wimdecorte

              sreese wrote:

               

              I've never used FM on a cloud server, but you could probably run it on a full blown windows server like on Azure and see if you can get it working. No idea what the cost would be though.

               

              Or Amazon's AWS... I think there is some good information floating around on how to set it up for FMS - but a quick google did not turn anything up.

               

              Downside of Azure's and AWS's route is that you are still responsible for bringing your own license and setting up and maintaining the server and manage the backups.

               

              Upside is that you do have full access to the admin console and all of the OS and the machine is dedicated to you.

              • 4. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                Mike_Mitchell

                wimdecorte wrote:

                 

                Upside is that you do have full access to the admin console and all of the OS and the machine is dedicated to you.

                 

                One thing I neglected to mention: Many of the cloud FileMaker hosting services do offer an option for you to "rent" a dedicated server, so if you need that functionality, you can still get it.

                 

                There are lots of options here. None of them really bad.

                • 5. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                  beverly

                  to all: be wary of the term "cloud" when it comes to internet/hosting service.  It may vary greatly on your definition, the ISP's definition and the world's definition. Me? I tend to think of those white fluffy things that occasionally get dark and try to wash me down the valley...

                   

                  Be sure to define what you want to do that cannot be done "in-house". I was an ISP and we were 24/7 with many tools & hardware to monitor the servers, along with sufficient warm bodies to respond to emergencies. But nothing is fool-proof - the entire electric grid can go down (backup generators last only so long) and internet with it (wherever your host is located). Do not also, be swayed by $$ - your mileage will not be the same among the costs!

                   

                  There are many good FMS hosting companies. Consider also if you need other web web servers, other database service, email & spam protection service, DNS (domain name) servers, Some FMS hosting companies also provide those.

                   

                  beverly

                  • 6. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                    PointInSpace

                    Have a look at our services as well:

                     

                    http://www.pointinspace.com/

                     

                    We have been offering both shared and dedicated FileMaker hosting for 18 years.

                     

                    - John

                    • 7. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                      g4guitar

                      Thank you John,

                       

                      I am still trying to get my head around how this works in terms of pricing.

                       

                      So for example on your site the two options you offer are 1. FileMaker Server Hosting and 2. Dedicated Server.

                       

                      With option 1 I pay a monthly fee that covers both the server rental and the FMS costs. In other words I don't pay anything to FileMaker for their server option is that correct? If so do I pay FM for each license I need?

                       

                      With option 2 all I pay you guys is a server rental fee (from $99 per month) and I have full control as if I were running it on my own computer at home? Is that how it works?

                       

                      Thank you.

                      • 8. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                        taylorsharpe

                        Sharing your solution on a server with other solutions will cost you a lot less.  And for many small clients and some medium sized ones, that is great.  But the larger you get, or if the hosting company starts putting too many other solutions on the same server, then service will degrade.  Be aware that often when you go with the cheapest hosting solutions, you are being shared with lots of other solutions and their bandwidth.  Getting your own server in the cloud is preferred if it fits in your budget because you control everything about it.  But shared hosting can be very economical if you are on a budget. 

                         

                        I've put clients on most of the various FM hosting companies.  Most perform as expected and really the only complaints I have had are ones that can't get their accounting right.  But that can be a real frustration too. 

                         

                        There is a term called SLA, which stands for Service Level Agreement.  This is a contract with the hosting company to guarantee the hosting will meet certain metrics such as uptime, bandwidth, peaks, etc.  And an SLA usually has a financial penalty to the hosting company if they fail in any of these metrics.  If your data is mission critical to your business, you want a hosting company that provides an SLA agreement.  But they will cost more too.  Just something to consider.

                         

                        The last 6 months or so I've started using fmphost.com for several clients and seem to like them well enough for small clients and they do a good job with billing.  So that is my current preferred host, but there are a number of other good ones out there. 

                        • 9. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                          Markus Schneider

                          how many users? How many locations? How many files?

                          - if users are on different locations (access via WAN), a hosting service would by my choice

                          - if only a couple of users at the same location, I would install a own FMS on a small (second hand?) machine

                          - if many users at one location, an own server would be my choice as well

                          - a solution with many files costs more..

                           

                          the hoster will solve all internet security for You, a big plus - when having a 'full service', the hoster will even deal with all of those update issues - but You have to make sure that You can run an older version of FM, just in case...

                          • 10. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                            PointInSpace

                            You are correct in your assessment of shared vs. dedicated hosting.  With shared hosting accounts, the FileMaker Server license is provided.  You still need to provide any FileMaker Pro licenses that you need.  You are then on a FileMaker Server shared with other customers.

                             

                            With dedicated hosting, you may or may not need to purchase your FileMaker Server license depending on how pricing is arranged.  In this arrangement you are on your own instance of FileMaker Server separate from other customers, with access to the full capabilities of such.

                             

                            - John

                            • 11. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                              g4guitar

                              Thank you Taylor, Thats great information and I am getting more informed by the day. I really appreciate your detailed response.

                              • 12. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                                g4guitar

                                Thank you. Its going to initially be about 30 users in different global locations (Australia, UK, US mostly) but I intend for it to grow. Each user will have their own file. Cost is a consideration because this has to be passed on to each user so I have to find that balance. Thank you.

                                • 13. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                                  Mike_Mitchell

                                  You might want to host on providers in the target countries. The farther you are from the server (as a general rule), the higher the network latency will grow, and the slower the solution will perform. Since latency is HUGE in FileMaker solutions, your performance may be unacceptable for a customer in Australia if he's logging into a solution hosted in, say, the US.

                                   

                                  Also, I would be very careful to optimize the solution as much as possible for a WAN. There are plenty of posts here on the forum about that.

                                  • 14. Re: Running FM Server on a cloud service. Any tips?
                                    g4guitar

                                    Thanks again John,

                                     

                                    I appreciate your response. I'll be looking at running some trials in the new year so I have your site now so I'll be in touch.