FileMaker Inc. does not offer cloud hosting. But there are many companies that do and that can give you a dedicated (virtual or real) machine to run FMS on. Or you can do it yourself with Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure.
Not entirely sure what your question #2 is trying to get to. When you buy FileMaker Server you get FileMaker Server; if your users need to use FileMaker Pro then you have to buy licenses for FileMaker Pro for their machines. If they want to use WebDirect & their browser or FileMaker Go on iOS then you need to purchase connection packs to cover the max number of concurrent users that will be connected to that FileMaker Server at any given time.
Of course if you roll your own custom web publishing based on the data hosted on FileMaker Server then you don't need to buy any client licenses.
How many users do you project to have?
I am targeting client with user based, 20-500. Build a generic HR solution and allowed staff for self service, apply leave, view payslip. So, it could easily reach up to 50 concurrent users.
if it cost $8/connection, it could easily shot up to 8x50 = $400/month just for the connection.
and it required another huge money to buy and maintain server.
it's definitely much exppensive than a PHP HR solution...(no concurrent user cost)
i am doing such comparison before develop a solution
You need some good specced servers for that many webdirect users - I say servers because you may want a 2 machine deployment. PHP however will hardly even blink serving up data to that many users depending on your database design of course. Webdirect doesn't include a nice way to print - which you will probably want for payslips?
On the positive side for webdirect the speed of development in webdirect is maybe 10x faster and less error prone (less likely to have bugs in the code) making it more nimble down the track also. This alone makes webdirect very powerful despite it's limitations.
I'm not offering comprehensive pros and cons, just some more food for thought.
If you are targeting mobile users you could take advantage of FileMakers new ability to create a native app for iOS. It's not so heavy on the server resources and it can do things like print, accept signatures and all the stuff that is in FMGo. Or you could just ask the users to use FileMaker Go.
I did some youtubing and i found people commented on FM
- high license cost (PHP low)
- low development cost (PHP high)
- not suitable for high traffic (max 100 concurrent users)
Which i believe PHP is designed for public, mass (also depending on code & DB design)
But it's definitely no limit on 100 concurrent users.
Talking bout a HR solution, LMS (learning management system) solution is like allowed 200 blue collar workers check payslip in browser every end of the month. Or 20 learners logging the online portal (on a single course). They are not heavy users (at least for me).
View Payslip - probably 5-10mins active session but they will do it at same time
Learning - probably 1-3 hours but the session will always active (and each of them only use once every 6 months)
Based on the pattern of usage, i doubt going for FM is really suitable? hope heavy FM users to comment on this.
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If the workers are simply "looking at" their payslip and not doing complicated data entry then the cost to develop a PHP page for that is low and probably a good developer should be able to do that for less than the licensing costs for webdirect access for one year. You could then have your payslips viewed via PHP, and your training session via webdirect.
But if you didn't want to do that webdirect for the payslips should work fine. By the sound of it you will have 200 blue collar workers accessing it for a very short time over a period of a couple of days or more. Even if they all access it on the same day you are maybe looking at 10-20 concurrent users max which is easy for webdirect for what you want. I've been told that 300 concurrent users on one server accessing a lite webdirect session works okay.
20 learners on a training session is no worries in webdirect (depending on the solution structure), make sure you have several CPU cores and plenty of RAM.
hmm... My point is, if I want to at least support 50 concurrent users, I will have to pay 400usd/month, jz for the license. Which is completely free if using PHP. So I am leverage what's FM good over PHP since it's more costly