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    Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting

    CarstenLevin

      Here I am starting with the assumption that the rule is that in the future shared hosting of multiple customers on the same FileMaker Server is not the way to go.

       

      Could we use this discussion to come up with good solutions, known problems.

       

      I can imagine many questions/themes that are relevant:

      • Hosting with AWS
      • Hosting with Azure
      • Hosting at other places.
      • Setting up a Windows Server with virtual servers
      • Cheap setup with a Mac mini per customer/server (not having to buy a Windows Server license per customer).
      • Is it possible to set up virtualisation on a Mac and how is performance.
      • Problems and solutions when having to manage the maintenance and backup of many servers.
      • ?
      • ?
      • ?
      • ?
      • Etc.

       

      And since this new rule is a reality from FileMaker 15 and onwards ... we should keep this part of the discussion in some of the other threads.

        • 1. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
          sreese

          Good Morning,

           

          There are a lot of different options, but I think it would depend on the customer.

           

          For less than a one thousand dollar purchase you could buy a macmini and host their database on location for them.

          • You would have to help setup the internet access and etc though leading to extra work on the part of the developer

           

          For small in building solutions couldn't you just use sharing? I haven't used it in a very long time, but I assume it still works for a small group.

           

          You could run on AWS or Azure. 

           

          FileMaker Server will run on a standard Windows box, so no need for an actual server. You could probably buy one of these cheaper than a mac mini.

           

          As a developer you could pick one or two options and then wrap the price up into the project.

          • 2. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
            jrenfrew

            Client of mine bought a decent MacMini for use a FMP server machine, which we then sent to a co-location facility in Holland who is used to dealign with FileMaker clients. Dual raided SSD with a big backup drive hanging off the back. It sits on a fast bit of internet with 1GB up and download speed all for €35 a month.

             

            Haven't yet met any issues that are related to the setup.

            • 3. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
              mikedr

              I think this post may have been created as a result of my comment in another thread, so I'll add my two cents.

               

              As a small business (2 concurrent users), what I like about using a hosting company is that I don't have to concern myself with any sort of server administration.  It's all done for me.  Purchasing a Mac Mini and FMP server is something I can definitely do -- and indeed, we have business-grade Internet (150/20) that should be sufficient to handle the bandwidth required -- but what I like about using a hosting company is that if their hardware fails, if they have a power outage, if they have a network outage, they have backups in place, and the longest we've been without access to our FMP database has been something like 10 minutes over the past two years.

               

              By comparison, we lost our business-grade Internet (thank you Cox) for three days one time; all work was being done via iPhone tethering.  I'm the owner/lead worker/computer guy of the company, so when hardware fails, I have to stop my "real job" and fix it.

               

              This is why server co-location, even, is not something I like.  Having someone else host our database makes sense for the same reason that having someone else host our web site makes sense -- it's one more thing I don't have to worry about.  For the same reason that rather than hosting our VoIP phones ourselves, we use a service (phone.com).

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                CarstenLevin

                hi Mike,

                 

                What I hoped was that this thread could focus on the options, how to's and discussions questions and answers regarding to that ... and to leave the discussion about whether we agree or disagree with FileMaker in the other threads. To focus.

                 

                I hope that this is OK?

                 

                Best regards

                 

                Carsten

                • 5. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                  BruceHerbach

                  I read the paper and am not sure how this is going to work out.  At the moment I have a number of small clients that use hosting companies for their databases.  They love it.  In general their cost is about $20 - $30 a month.  With almost no down side.  The hosting companies back the data up and provide the SSL certificates for secure connections.

                   

                  In most cases,  these are small companies, so no IT department.  They don't want a local server and I don't really want to become their IT guy.

                   

                  If the hosting companies can't share their server license among multiple clients,  my clients will either be stuck on 14 or end up probably paying a much higher price for the same monthly service they have now.

                   

                  So that stated, we don't know what a 15 pricing structure will look like.  Maybe it will be low enough for server so that the hosting companies can invest in servers powerful enough to give them a reasonable quantity of virtual servers per box so that the monthly cost of a dedicated virtual FMS is still with in reach of the small client.

                   

                  Bruce

                  • 6. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                    sreese

                    Bruce,

                     

                    I still hope to see FM release a standard FileMaker edition similiar to Go with very little cost for the desktop license, instead shifting the cost to that of the server. Who knows if that is what their plan is, but it would lower other costs and really kind of make it a wash wouldn't it?

                    • 7. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                      CarstenLevin

                      sreese wrote:

                       

                      Bruce,

                       

                      I still hope to see FM release a standard FileMaker edition similiar to Go with very little cost for the desktop license, instead shifting the cost to that of the server. Who knows if that is what their plan is, but it would lower other costs and really kind of make it a wash wouldn't it?

                      If we can elaborate from WebDirect, then it somehow seem to be the way the world is going.

                      • 8. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                        mardikennedy

                        I think it's useful to delineate the different kinds of users - others may want to add to this outline.

                         

                        1. Single user - developer.  May deal with one solution only, or may handle multiple solutions.  Likely to be directly involved with desktop, idevices and WD.  Could use a dev FMS licence, however my personal experience is that professional hardware significantly improves the newer technologies eg WD.

                        2. Single user - niche users.  May deal with one solution only, or may handle multiple solutions. Is probably more likely than not, to want something that 'just works'.  May be desktop oriented, or idevice only, or mixed environment.  Probably no need for a server of any description, but might choose the option in some scenarios.

                        3. Small business users - 2-4 users.  Although the headcount is small, the business may ( or may not) be 'high productivity' and/or 'high turnover'.  Usually want something that 'gets the job done'; don't have IT specialists on staff; may be desktop oriented, or idevice only, or mixed environment. .  Can usually work without a server but it's so much better with a server.  Potential 'per user' impact of changing prices structures - significant.

                        4. Small business users - 5 - 9 users.  May start to have in-house IT expertise.  More likely to invest in own server.  May be desktop oriented, or idevice only, or mixed environment.

                        5. Small business users - 10 - 19 users.  As above, sliding scale.

                        6. Small bus/ govt/ education - 20 to 100 - more likely to keep everything in-house; different regulatory considerations.  Probably have to liaise with internal IT.

                        7. Govt/ education - 100+ users - as above.  May be entirely desktop-oriented, and/or WD.  Probably have to liaise with internal IT.

                         

                        The various server-oriented options need to be considered with reference to the needs and preferences of the specific user - we're absolutely not 'all the same'.  Similarly, price points/ costs per user also vary.

                         

                        The FMI policy changes are easily interpreted by some to indicate that certain market segments do not have enough value to warrant 'special consideration' and therefore the gradual loss of installs is just normal attrition.  (Or else, the 'short and curlies' will ensure an ongoing income stream.)  The hosting companies appear to be 'collateral damage' here but perhaps they'll come up with some reinvention that benefits all.

                         

                        Alternatively, some would infer that this is just a necessity on the path to a non-desktop future, with the expectation that idevices/ mobile/ hosted solutions will be the way of the whole world, regardless of enterprise type, and even if those devices have to get bigger screens to accommodate work flow needs.

                         

                        User needs continue to change, as do their choices and the ways that they analyse their own work flows.  Some tools will retain value and others will become irrelevant.  Low headcount businesses are the most likely to be affected by this particular round of price increases; most other sectors are (I would think) unaffected.

                         

                        Are there other users that are affected?

                         

                        Also, if the low headcount enterprises have any ongoing value to any of us, then it's in our interests to brainstorm a range of options that 'work' for them.

                        • 9. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                          bigtom

                          sreese wrote:

                           

                          Bruce,

                           

                          I still hope to see FM release a standard FileMaker edition similiar to Go with very little cost for the desktop license, instead shifting the cost to that of the server. Who knows if that is what their plan is, but it would lower other costs and really kind of make it a wash wouldn't it?

                          The problem with this thinking is that Go connections cost just about the same price as FMP(at least five at a time). Granted if there were a free light client for desktop that you could connect to FMS and let that revolve around the concurrent connection model that would work. However that seems to be what Web Direct is positioned to be doing. Unless Web Direct technology can support over 100 connections with FMS it will be tough to sell that model to some large companies. Since Go and FMP are technically only limited by hardware since the server does not need to do as much work as it does for WebD. File maker obviously wants to focus on the WebD technology as it is truly cross platform for the most part.  Given your proposal I say charge for server + connections and offer the light client for free. This makes more sense from both sides and would also make it easier on hosting services.

                          • 10. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                            bigtom

                            As a future option, from my sources, GoDaddy is looking to offer cloud servers (KVM) that will come with Windows Server 2008/2012 in the near future. The cost will be hourly. If you have an office running FMS that only needs the data during business hours and manage a way to safely shut down and restart the server (they have an API for that I think) at specified hours you will be looking at a hosted server that costs around $12/month. If you leave it on all month it is around $40. These will have around 60GB SSD storage, 4GB RAM, dedicated 2 cores as well as backups and a static IP included. If something does go wrong I am told the entire thing is backed up on an AWS server as well. There will be a 4 core option available as well.

                             

                            With the API it seems you could have a way to server on and off at will. For single/low users with certain solutions this would be great.

                            • 11. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                              bigtom

                              This would imply that clients would need someone to manage the server and that will cost. I would say that Server management should be around $100/month. Fair price for the expertise it requires and the average number of times you will need to deal with it.

                              • 12. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                                CarstenLevin

                                Let's say you would like to set up a set of solutions with 4-5 VM's per machine. Would this be possible with Mac mini wit 16 GB of RAM like the one shown at the bottom here.

                                 

                                The questions is really: Does any of the existing virtualisation models we can buy for Mac perform good enough to be able to run Mac os X VM servers on a Mac OS X server.

                                 

                                4-5 VM's on one Mac mini would be interesting. 15-20 on a Mac Pro would also be a viable business case.

                                 

                                Mac mini

                                • 2,8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost op til 3,3 GHz)
                                • 16 GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
                                • 1 TB Fusion Drive

                                 

                                 

                                * We are already having a high end Windows rack server with virtual machines and FM server's for development of new solutions. So we know about virtualisation although we are not VM specialists.

                                • 13. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                                  sreese

                                  Thank you, I had taken that into consideration.

                                   

                                  To elaborate by having a FM Go for Desktop platform and a the licensing model for the connections would make the cost of the server a much more reasonable thing. You pay for the server + however many go connections you need in batches of 5. You still come out ahead of buying FM Pro, and it would also solve a part of the problem with getting rid of run time solutions. 

                                   

                                  Two birds with one stone right?

                                  • 14. Re: Strategy for dedicated one company/one server hosting
                                    PointInSpace

                                    Sure thing - ESXi runs great on Apple hardware to virtualize OS X with.  It is what we base our OS X VMs on.  It supports all the way up to 10.11.

                                     

                                    We still use Xserves for our VMs, as they can take up to 192GB RAM and the Xeon processors in them are still plenty fast (processor utilization is less than 40% on these machines when fully loaded).  We back end these to Fibre Channel SANs for fast and flexible VM storage.  Once these get long in the tooth we'll probably move to Mac Pros, which top out at 128GB RAM.

                                     

                                    I wouldn't use a Mac Mini for any serious hosting.  And they certainly aren't going to be very useful for VMs with 16GB RAM max.

                                     

                                    - John

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