13 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2012 4:58 AM by Vaughan

    FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users

    itraining

      I have a client, who has been continually frustrated with the networking performance of FileMaker Pro for the past 2 years. It is a small company with 3 users in 2 separate locations. The database is 62 tables, only 50 Mb built with anchor-bouy relationships, including some calendars (the old 42 relationships per calendar conundrum).

       

      Using FileMaker Pro "Sharing" is too slow across the network between home and the shop. Unfortunately, the client chokes at the price of FileMaker Server and to be honest, I don't think FMS would resolve the problem (maybe v12 will change the game but I don't think FMS11 would resolve the issue).

       

      Client phoned me today. He is going to use Dropbox as the cloud/central access point to allow people to access the database. He has been using MYOB (FirstEdge … not the network edition) in similar fashion for the past few months successfully. Apparently, they use the phone to call each other when they went to use the MYOB file.

       

      Is this "just so crazy it might work" or an unequivocal catastrophic corruption event just waitng to happen? I vote the latter.

      Seriously, has anyone attempted this before. Can it work or is doomed to end in tears and a corrupt database?

       

       

      Thanks in advance.

       

       

      Michael Richards

      Brisbane (Australia)

        • 1. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
          wimdecorte

          It is going to cause issues.  There have been reports of the files getting corrupted and duplicate files being created.

          • 2. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
            TomHays

            Instead of going to the zany idea of file sharing like that with an inevitable collision,

            I would recommend instead that they set up a Virtual Private Network between the two locations.

            Then let the distant user log in to a remotely shared screen*. The long-distance network would then carry the screen display, keyboard, and mouse commands in an efficient manner.

            The (slow) FileMaker network traffic would be entirely on the local network. If the remotely shared computer is running the copy of FileMaker Pro acting as the server, then you will get maximum performance.

             

            * Remotely shared screen could be using VNC, Microsoft Remote Desktop, Apple's screen sharing, or whatever you like. Some remote sharing solutions have sufficient security (depending on your needs) such that you won't need to set up a VPN.

             

            -Tom

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
              Paul Jansen

              Michael,

               

              Have you considerd hosting the database with a professional hosting company - reasonable ongoing costs compared with buying and maintaining FMServer.   A hosting trial would let you test out the speed.  I would expect it to be much better than peer-peer sharing (I assume that is the current situation) which will be limited by the broadband upload speed at the host location.  You'd be welcome to a free month trial at www.filemaker-hosting.co.uk, although we're really not on the best continent for you

               

              Regards

               

              Paul Jansen

              • 4. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                dchiler

                From my experience in using Dropbox for our church Music Databases you are going to have trouble.  Since Dropbox creates a file on your local computer and syncs to the "cloud" you are working on a local copy of the database on your computer, which means only one person/computer user can be accessing the database at a time.   If multiple person are working on the database at the same time then you'll get a "conflicted" database, meaning dropbox will create another copy with the words "conflicted" attached.  Now you have two or more databases of the same.  Which one is the latest? How are you going to find the different changes?  How are you going to merge the changes into one database?  It wasn't worth the headache for us.   We had to work out a schedule when only one person could work on the database at a time.  That was a pain.  We bit the bullit and purchased FileMaker server.

                 

                Hope this helps.

                 

                DC Hiler

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                  itraining

                  Thanks Wim, Tom, Paul and DC for your helpful answers.

                  I will PDF and email your responses to my client and hopefully avert an impending disaster.

                   

                  Paul, sorry I could not award you "helpful answer" but I can only award 2 instances (apparently).

                  I do use MacUSA hosting for 2 different clients and we did trial hosting this database with MacUSA but the client was not happy with the speed. Nothing against MacUSA, rather it is the deadly combination of an anchor-bouy database, inefficient calendar relationships, FileMaker's (<=v11) sluggish WAN performance and Australia's slow "broadband" speeds.

                   

                  Thanks again for your time, effort, thoughts and suggestions.

                  Much appreciated.

                   

                   

                  Michael Richards

                  Brisbane (Australia)

                  • 6. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                    Vaughan

                    Hosting the file on a FMS in the US and using it in Australia? The problem isn't our broadband speed (which isn't all that bad) it's the latency that's killing the user experience.

                     

                    Try a local provider.

                    • 7. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                      Paul Jansen

                      This is an interesting subject which I do not think has any absolute answers.

                       

                      We thought that it would be pointless for anyone in the US to use our UK hosts.  However, we had one US based company request to test our service against 3 or 4 US providers.  They mehtodically tested a typical solution and then one with 'low bandwidth layouts'.  For standard layouts we outperformed all the US hosts tested and were only beaten by one with the 'low bandwidth layouts'.  I'm not saying we are doing anything vastly different from anyone else, as the results surprised us greatly.  We did wonder if the timezone difference (ie testing whilst all our UK ciustomers were asleep) was a factor.  I guess all I'm saying is that it is worth testing a few providers as you might find significant variance in performance.

                       

                      Regards

                       

                      Paul Jansen

                      • 8. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                        itraining

                        Hi Vaughan

                         

                        First, do you know if there are any Aussie hosters that provide a trial period?

                        Second, my investigations revealed Aussie hosting was approximately $90 per month versus USA $20 per month but if the hosted solution is fast, maybe the price is irrelevant.

                         

                        Michael Richards

                        Brisbane (Australia)

                        • 9. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                          Vaughan

                          From what I've read, latency is a big killer for FMP, not necessarily bandwidth (or lack of). Latency is the time delay to get a response. So a link might have good bandwidth but have a high latency.

                          • 10. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                            itraining

                            Here is hoping FMP v12 is not as "latent" dependent.

                            • 11. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                              Vaughan

                              I cannot recommend any providers, but $90 a month seems about right here in Australia.

                               

                              Have you seen this mob?

                               

                              http://www.hostingmacmini.com.au/

                              • 12. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                                nickorr

                                This company does FileMaker hosting from $29 per month.  We have one client using them, and they're happy : http://www.724.com.au/

                                 

                                Located in Sydney.

                                 

                                Cheers,

                                Nick

                                • 13. Re: FileMaker Pro database, Dropbox and multiple users
                                  Vaughan

                                  I'm going to look at these folks myself. Thanks Nick!