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I'm not really sure about the container storage but you can definitely store backups and incremental backups on external drives. You will need to make sure that the entire drive has the correct access rights (cmd + i => sharing and permission). Of course it has to be formated in HFS (not NTFS or FAT32) and the access path has to be like this in the fm server administration tool.
I hope this will help
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That's a definite no on the remote container external storage.
As to backups: the best practice is to let FMS backup to the local hard drive (fast and reliable) then use an OS-level script to push that backup to somewhere off the FMS box.
Backups are so crucial that you do not want to add any risk and vulernability to that process.
Thank you Thomas and wimdecorte for your helpful answers.
My statergy now will be to run FMS12 with backups and container storage on the 1st 500gb drive and use the 2nd 500gb drive for TimeMachine.
Periodically I will push a copy of FMS backup folder to the ext FW drive.
Do you know of any problems with TimeMachine and FMS?
Can you recommend any apps that could provide an "OS-level script" to push the copy of the backup folder?
If you use TimeMachine with your FMS, make sure you exclude the following directory in your TimeMachine options:
to ensure that nothing except FMS will access hosted Db files.
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In the past there has often been advice to put the live data on an internal drive or RAID and not an external one. This is primarily due to bottlenecks in serial technology such as USB2 or FireWire, which can reduce the performance of your live data. However, this has all changed with the new Thunderbolt technology since Thunderbolt bypasses most of the motherboard and talks directly to the cpu via pci-e. If you're interested in making your data move faster, you might want to look into a fast Thunderbolt RAID. The performance is much better than the internal 2.5" drives that come with a Mac Mini. And the faster Thunderbolts like the Pegasus are faster than internal SSDs. Of course I dream of an SSD Thunderbolt RAID coming out someday, maybe later this year!
Yes, a Firewire drive is just fine for FileMaker backups, but preferably FireWire 800. I have done it very successfully in many situations and it is better than a USB2 connection. Remember, USB requires your cpu to do some thinking and Firewire does not and that is why Firewire performs better even when the bandwidths are similar.
I also concur with the first drive being your OS and FileMaker Server and the 2nd being your Time Machine backup. Remember to configure Time Machine to not backup Live FileMaker databases or it can corrupt them.
While you are at it, if you want an offsite backup doing say weekly, a plugin called Safetynet from 360Works can securely back up your data to the Amazon S3 storage for pretty cheap rates. I think I backup about 12 Gigs weekly for about $18 a month. That way you have an offsite backup in case your building burns down, there's a flood, or someone steals your server.
I did not know that thunderbolt drives can be faster than internal SSD. I was going to get a smaller ext thunderbolt drive but the "Genius" talked me into the FW 800 drive.
Of course to run FMS on the ext thunderbolt you would have to boot from it wouldn't you?
I wonder if the FW 800 would be fast enough to do that because then I would never run out of disc space!
Well, the Genius guys are just used to selling the same thing and they are hardly hardware experts. They know their products, but not much else. All you have to do is look at the numbers. SSD's are typically transferring 250-500 MB/s with a few a little higher. The Thunderbolt technically can transfer 1250 MB/s, but there are no systems that can deliver that speed. The Pegasus RAID claims to theoretically get up to 800 MB/s and maybe it can in bursts. But I have several of them in production and they always test out in the 500-600 MB/s real world tests of read and writes. I use RAID10 for FileMaker systems since it is the best RAID for databases.
FireWire 800 actually is pretty good and better than USB2. While it is no where near Thunderbolt speeds, it still is pretty good. USB2 theoretically maxes out at 60 MB/s and FireWire 800 maxes out at 100 MB/s. Of course you usually only get about 2/3's of the theoretical rate in real world tests. Many internal RAIDs will deliver 250-500 MB/s including the Apple RAID card and so will internal SSDs.
The real test is how well your database performs and there are many that have performed just fine with FireWire 800. Or you could put your most demanding databases on the internal drive and all your others on the FireWire RAID since you can have databases in multiple locations on the server.
One other thing on Apple Genius', they are for consumer support. They can tell you all about your iPhone or how to recover iTunes and things like that. But try asking them anything about configuring Mac OS X server and you'll get a blank look. Start talking enterprise networking and hardware and they are cluesless too. They are poorly educated about FileMaker too.
If you do need to talk to someone at an Apple store about business hardware or software, talk to one of the Business to Business reps and not a Genius.
So if I add a path to databases on the ext FW drive is that where the container fields will be created? If so that would half the disk space used on the internal FMS drive since only the back up of the container fields would be there. I will try that when I get a chance and report back.
Container data will always be saved in a subfolder of where the FM files are.
I want to insert a word of caution in this thread: we've been focusing almost exclusively on speed. We also should be thinking about reliability and risk. If my client would insist on using external drives (no matter how fast) for the live files and the core backups, I would make sure that the uncertainity about reliablity and risk are acknowledged and that the risk is mitigated by a good backup and monitoring process.
I agree reliability is as important as speed to most people. That is why I only run RAID systems that are capable of sustaining a hard drive failure without loosing data. My preferred setup now for most small to midsize companies is the Mac Mini combined with a Pegasus RAID from Promise over Thunderbolt. I configure it as RAID10 since that is most optimal for databases. I configure one drive on Mac Mini to Time Machine to the 2nd drive and I put backups on the Mac Mini OS drive and I put the live data on the Pegasus. I keep a Carbon Copy Clone of the OS on a Pegasus volume so I could reboot from it if the internal hard drive went out. I also run SafetyNet from 360Works that I set for weekly backups to the Amazon S3 Cloud fairly inexpensively. It is a great way to have offsite secure backups without any worries or drive swapping or any such manual processes. This system pretty much covers speed and backups inexpensively. Don't forget a good UPS too!
Simon: Container fields will be in a folder in the same volume as the database if you use the new FMP12 feature to store the data externally. While you can store it externally, you can't put it in another location. The only way to do it as you describe is to use reference fields and then you have to figure out permissions and all those hassles for the various users. It can be done, but it is a headache. It also gives up such things as the speed and security that come with the new FMP12 external container storage. I usually recommend you try the way FileMaker designed things to work before trying something unusual. Give things a try externally on the FireWire 800. I bet you'll get pretty reasonable response unless the data is large or schema is rather complex. If it is, try moving it to the internal drive for better performance, or spending money on a Pegasus Thunderbolt for better speed and reliability.
I have managed to get a path to my external firewire drive to validate in FMS. The trick was to create a folder on the FW drive and give fmserver RW permissions then apply that to all enclosed folders.
The first solution I will be hosting is for our storeman. I use data separation so the storeman runs the interface file on his iMac and iPad. He uses the iPad to store pictures of the goods received. The data file holds the images and is located on the FW drive. So far performance has been quite acceptable over wifi on the iPad.
As mentioned before the MacMini Server is setup with OS and FMS on one internal drive and TimeMachine backing up to second internal drive. I have not partioned the external FW drive at this stage.