3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 10, 2016 6:01 AM by wimdecorte

    Losing connection to the server and subsequent losses of data

    Zerojojo

      You good people,

       

      I'm afraid this will be an imprecise description of a problem, but maybe somebody had similar experience and found a fix.

       

      I'm running a server (14.0.4a) solution under El Capitan with up to five clients at the same time. My clients are filling in an order form by selecting items in a portal and then hit an "order" button. It's rather simple. No images, just numbers. Most of the time this works just fine, but sometimes, mostly (but not exclusively) when my clients hit the "order" button, they get a beach ball for about 30 seconds and then filemaker will say that connection the server was lost (the server sees an error 51, client no longer responding) and upon reconnecting, the client will be notified for a couple of minutes when trying to edit the record that they cannot edit the current record, because it is currently being edited by another user. I can make sure that there isn't really another user editing the same record. To me it seems as though the user in logged in double for those couple of minutes. The major problem is that some changes of the user will not be saved. Sometimes it is only the status of the order, which is supposed to change with a script of the "order" button, that doesn't change, but sometimes they lose parts or all of the edits performed in the portal, even though each single portal row has been committed. This also happens to users which are set to be never disconnected upon idle.

       

      Again, sorry for the poor description. I wish I was more of a network guy to be able to point to more technical details. What is really confusing me is that the problem occurs only occasionally, maybe once or twice a day, and that data from already committed records gets lost. My server, an iMac from 2007 is not the most powerful machine and it doesn't sit behind the most powerful internet connection, but I would only expect lags instead of connection drops as a consequence thereof.

       

      I found some threads discussing connection loss with filemaker 12, but none of them seemed conclusive to my issues.

       

      So far this only happened to clients connecting over WAN. One machine is running 14.0.5 on Mavericks, the other is an iPad with Filemaker Go. I'm at a loss whether to look at my server configuration, my solution, the client's machines or their internet connections (so far only problems over Wifi or 3G. As far as I know, none of my clients is using ethernet).

       

       

      Any input is much appreciated.

       

       

      Regards,

      Johannes

        • 1. Re: Losing connection to the server and subsequent losses of data
          wimdecorte

          The clue is that seems to only happen for WAN users; it means that their connection to your FMS is too flakey to be reliable.

           

          We don't have enough info on the design of the solution but I would reconsider letting the users pick from portals; you could be generating more network traffic than necessary.  Again: this is just a first-gut-reaction to what you are describing.

           

          The locked record issue you can avoid I think by adopting a "transactional" approach to create the order so that no records get created until the commit succeeds.

          • 2. Re: Losing connection to the server and subsequent losses of data
            Zerojojo

            Thanks for your reply. I was learning Filemaker only as I was using it and stumbled upon the transactional approach only when my solution was already up and running. I think it would take me quite some time to make those changes. However, I would be quite disappointed to think that the edge between suboptimal solution design and connection errors with data loss is so narrow.

             

            One thing makes me think that there is more to it than just a shaky connection: The iMac running Mavericks experiences the most connection losses over WAN. However, when I connect with my MacBook Pro from the same network as the iMac with the same version of Filemaker, I hardly ever see any connection issues. The only difference is that my MacBook is running El Capitan, but I'm hesitant to believe that this could be an OS problem.

            • 3. Re: Losing connection to the server and subsequent losses of data
              wimdecorte

              Zerojojo wrote:

               

              The only difference is that my MacBook is running El Capitan, but I'm hesitant to believe that this could be an OS problem.

               

              Don't rule it out.  Especially not if you are using WiFi.  There have been many reports of different OSX versions handling WiFi differently and network connections being dropped.

               

              Remember that the FM client-to-server connection is unlike everything else that users typically do, it is not like a browser connection to the internet, it is not like opening a Word document from a share.

              FM relies on always-on constant communication to and from between the client and the server, even if the client is not doing anything.

               

              Zerojojo wrote:

              However, I would be quite disappointed to think that the edge between suboptimal solution design and connection errors with data loss is so narrow.

               

              Not sure what you mean by narrow...

              There are many variables in setting up a stable deployment.  Solution design is a big factor obviously but not the only one.

              Designing for the WAN is a different ballgame than designing for just the LAN.  WAN design requires a lot more thought about all the potential performance considerations to try and minimize the amount of data that needs to flow between client and server.