1 2 Previous Next 16 Replies Latest reply on Feb 17, 2012 10:24 PM by BruceHerbach

    New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?


      Has anyone done a speed comparison of FMS 11 on a Lion server? If so what did you find?


      I set up a new Mac Mini Lion server with FMS 11. The server has w Ghz i7 processor 8 Gbytes ram and SSD disks. After installing a set of data bases, I did a side by side comparison with my older Snow Leopard Server. The Snow Leopard server has 5400 RPM disks, 2.5 Ghz Core 2 duo CPU and 4 Gbytes ram.


      As a test using a MacBook Pro as a client I ran the same setup and had the client run a script that updates a 1000 record data set. The result of the test is when the client uses the older Snow Leopard server the update completes 4 to 5 seconds faster then the new Lion Server.


      I'm having Apple check the server to be sure it is working properly, but they were surprised at the result. I know the older CPU is faster, but thought the SSD disks would more then compensate for this.


      Any thoughts or suggestions on how to speed this up would be appreciated.



        • 1. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

          Interesting. I haven't done any of the testing you've outlined, but my experience has been that Lion was an improvement in speed, and that was just with the mini server standard hard disks. Have all of the updates been performed, including a ground-up install of 11.04 (you have to uninstall the previous version first)?


          If real new, maybe the indexes aren't complete yet and the server is still indexing the drive. Does the Lion Server app show anything else going on?




          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?



            Thanks.  All of the updates have been done,  not sure if the previous FMS version was uninstalled first.  I'll try doing an uninstall / reinstall and see if that helps.



            • 3. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?



              I think the CPU is more important than the disks because it works 99 % in the cache anyway. FMS does also not use the 8 gb. Secondly the speed of your network is important too. I found that some of my machines perform much faster transferring data on the network than others.





              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?



                Based on your post, I uninstalled FMS and reinstalled it.  That seemed to help.  It is still slower then the Snow Leopard mini,  but seems to be about 2 seconds faster then the previous installation.  Apple checked the hardware and found no issues.  I still plan to put a call into them and see if there is anything else that can be done to help.




                You may have pointed out the last key issue.  The Snow Leopard server is a 2.5 Ghz processor and the Lion is a 2.0 Ghz Processor.   Since FMS is a 32 bit process,  it can't take advantage of all of the extra's built into an i7 processor.   Who knows... maybe when 12 comes out this will really speed things up and take advantage of everything an i7 and Lion can do for FileMaker...  ( hope, hope, hope)



                • 5. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?



                  Over the past couple of days I spent a good deal of time on the phone with the Apple Joint Venture crew,  FileMaker support and doing some testing in the Apple store on faster models of the Mini and a MacPro.  Joint Venture arranged for me to be able work in the Apple store on a number of new systems with the assistance of the Genius crew in the store.  Here are the results.


                  1) When setting the database up as a local file.  The 2.0 Ghz i7  Quad core MacMini server with SSD disks was able to run the test update process just as fast as a 2.8 Ghz i7 Quad Core Mac Pro with 7200 rpm disks.  So in short the SSD disks made up for a significant increase in CPU cycles on the Mac Pro.


                  2) The phone call with FileMaker support suggested looking at FMS cache size.  In the tests I did, the standard settings already had the cache usage at 100%.  Increasing the available cache had no affect.  Decreasing the available cacke so that usage dropped below 100% did have a negative affect on performance.  Well I guess that is to be expected. 


                  3) It appears from the conversations with the FileMaker tech and testing that FMS 11 is optimzed for Snow Leopard.  Running FMS 11 on Lion does seem to be less efficient when sending/receiving data  then FMS 11 on Snow Leopard.  This is why an older MacMini server with 5400 rpm disks was able to run the test 2 seconds faster then the Lion server with SSD disks.


                  4) When discussing item 3 with Apple's Joint Venture techs,  they did not recommend getting a copy of Snow Leopard and installing it on the Lion MacMini server.  They said the firmware on the unit is optimized for Lion and would probably have some issues/problems is we attempted this.  To be honest, I don't want to go down that road anyway...


                  5) I discussed putting FMS on the clients Mac Pro.  This is a server that is providing Mac terminal services to the staff in the office.  The suggestion here was to install Parallels and then setup Lion Server in Parallels.  This would give FMS and isolated setup and let it play nicely with the oher processes on the MacPro.  The recommendation from FileMaker is to have FMS run on it's own box.  Based on the tests we did with running FileMaker Advanced and Pro on these types of systems using a local file we decided to continue using the MacMini server as the FileMaker server.


                  Last thing,  and this is entirely conjecture on my part... but... Since FMS 11 is clearly optimized for Snow Leopard,  I would expect ( hope, hope, hope) that FMS 12 will be optimized for Lion and that upgrading the software if/when 12 comes out will increase the performance of FMS on this server.


                  Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. 

                  • 6. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                    Thanks for all of the great information. Glad to hear you at least know where things stand. You might consider picking up an older Mac mini. You wouldn't need Snow Leopard server to run FMS on it. At least that might hold you until things change.





                    • 7. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                      Good discussion.


                      Our experience of Lion Mini Server very good,

                      once you get the hang of reconfiguring without

                      system disk. Had some fun trying to format a raid

                      set of the internal hard disks.


                      Cache setting alone is not conclusive without

                      information of the time setting and other options

                      chosen on the server in question.


                      Anyone noticed and tested the option for choosing

                      "Server optimized".


                      Interested to know which gives a

                      better result for running Filemaker Server.

                      Choosing Server optimize or not.

                      This given that no other services than FireWall are

                      running on the Apple side. I have a hunch that

                      Apple Server might see FileMaker Server as "not Server"

                      If AppleServer then not Server optimized would that slow down the

                      Firewall. All depends on what Server Optimization does?


                      Ideas or test results anyone?


                      Kaj Hjorth

                      • 8. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                        If Steven Blackwell were following this thread his head probably would have exploded by now.


                        Remember that the drives in a Mini are NOT server grade drives. The Mini also does not have a fan in it, so it can get hot. Heat is never good for technology.


                        So, you're mileage may vary. Be sure to have regular and frequent backups.


                        That being said, I use a Mac Mini for FMS myself and I have recommended them to clients that do not have the infrastructure, skill or budget for a large server installation.

                        • 9. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                          The Mini does have a fan. They have always had fans. The G4 Cube didn't have a fan.

                          • 10. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                            Wow. Fantastic info! Thank you for all the detail.

                            • 11. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                              Hi David,

                              1) are we talking traditional disks or SSDs?

                              and are we talking mechanics or i/o which I remember to be one of Stevens favourite subjects.

                              2) in our experience the new mini server runs cool compared to the previous versions

                              as long as its standing clear so intake airflow  is ok.

                              3) This said there is no substitute for external backups

                              • 12. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?



                                In the setup I'm working with,  the mini has SSD disks and a thunderbolt connected promise RAID system for backups.   The promise is split into 2 disks.  One for system back ups and the other for FileMaker backups and yes... The system backup excludes the FMS data directory.




                                • 13. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                                  Hello Bruce,


                                  Very frustrating. I was running FMS11 on OSX Server 10.6.8 on a Macmini and it was great. When I switched to a new MacMini Lion server, got only troubles.

                                  Sorry for not beeing able to help, but I know what you must feel. Hope your problem will be resolved soon.

                                  Best Regards



                                  • 14. Re: New Mac Mini Server and FMS 11 performance?

                                    Hi Bruno,


                                    My issue was performance.  Operationally it worked correctly.


                                    Hope you were able to get things working.



                                    Sent from my mobile device... Please excuse typos.

                                    1 2 Previous Next