14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 14, 2013 7:37 PM by LaRetta

    Cloud Hosting

    piperanselmi

      I have a small business and we need to upgrade our FileMaker server. One of my colleagues suggested that we use a cloud based host instead. We have FileMaker Server 8. Does anyone have experience of transfering this to a cloud host, and if so any recommendations on a host?

        • 1. Re: Cloud Hosting
          fmpros

          We have been running our terminal services based configuration on Rackspace.  Very pleased with performance, support and ease of implementation and scaling.  You could bascially make the move in a day, literally be up and running in hours.

           

          William

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Cloud Hosting
            CICT

            We've various information and videos at http://www.filemakerdatabases.co.uk/pages/cloudindex.html that you may find useful. We try to show both the pros and cons of running in the cloud, in our case using Citrix XenApp. This isn't the cheapest way of doing it, but we focus on perfornance and working closely with our customers who don't usually see much difference in speed when compared to their previous office based system, whether in the UK, South Africa or the US.

             

            Happy to answer any questions or set you up a test account if it would help.

             

            Andy

            • 3. Re: Cloud Hosting
              dwelam

              We've tried DataTrium, WorldCloud, and Triple8. Our experiences:

               

              • DataTrium: Simplest interface of the bunch. Actually, there really isn't an interface to speak of. You FTP your files, then access via Open Remote. Didn't like the idea of sending files, then waiting for an email stating they were ready. They actually encourage you to continue development live, so the idea is to only upload it once.

              • WorldCloud: The only one we tried with Admin Console administration, albeit with limited control. The killer for us was 3 service tickets in 3 months. And they took days on a couple of them to get back to us. Others in TechNet swear by them. Maybe we caught them in a bad quarter?

              • Triple8: No admin console, but web based interface is excellent. Uploading files is easy, although Java based Drag & Drop doesn't work on MacOS. On a Mac, you'll have to navigate from root level to locate your files to upload. Uploading large files (2GB+) requires FTP and manual DB opening. Love the Download File feature. Click on the Download button, and the service ZIPs up a copy for you to download for local editing.

               

              If you're going to use a shared host (cheaper), be sure to give your files unique names. (Everyone has an Interface file!) We use (CompanyInitials)_FileName.fmp12, etc.

              • 4. Re: Cloud Hosting
                PointInSpace

                Be sure to check out our services as well:

                 

                http://www.pointinspace.com/

                 

                We have been providing both shared and dedicated professional FileMaker

                hosting for over 13 years.

                 

                With our shared accounts, we provide our Database Manager - developed by

                360Works - which allows you to remotely open, close, update and remove

                databases from the servers, as well as manage the users connected.  It

                works with .zip files for both up/download as well.

                 

                With dedicated servers, you of course get full access to the FileMaker

                Server Admin console.

                 

                     - John

                 

                 

                We've tried DataTrium, WorldCloud, and Triple8. Our experiences:

                 

                • DataTrium: Simplest interface of the bunch. Actually, there really

                isn't an interface to speak of. You FTP your files, then access via Open

                Remote. Didn't like the idea of sending files, then waiting for an email

                stating they were ready. They actually encourage you to continue

                development live, so the idea is to only upload it once.

                 

                • WorldCloud: The only one we tried with Admin Console administration,

                albeit with limited control. The killer for us was 3 service tickets in

                3 months. And they took days on a couple of them to get back to us.

                Others in TechNet swear by them. Maybe we caught them in a bad quarter?

                 

                • Triple8: No admin console, but web based interface is excellent.

                Uploading files is easy, although Java based Drag & Drop doesn't work on

                MacOS. On a Mac, you'll have to navigate from root level to locate your

                files to upload. Uploading large files (2GB+) requires FTP and manual DB

                opening. Love the Download File feature. Click on the Download button,

                and the service ZIPs up a copy for you to download for local editing.

                 

                If you're going to use a shared host (cheaper), be sure to give your

                files unique names. (Everyone has an Interface file!) We use

                (CompanyInitials)_FileName.fmp12, etc.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                --

                • 5. Re: Cloud Hosting
                  beverly

                  I was just going to ask, Jay....

                   

                  What do people think is different from "cloud hosting" and the fine services PointInSpace and all the other FMS hosting companies have been doing for years?!

                  I think a discussion on that would be helpful, along with more details on the differences of "shared" and "dedicated" and (perhaps) co-location (if that's considered more than "dedicated").

                  I've dealt with all these terms for years (my own hosting company and working with other hosting companies). But I think it's time we enlightened the developers out there that are not familiar.

                   

                  Beverly

                  • 6. Re: Cloud Hosting
                    datastride

                    Beverly,

                     

                     

                     

                    Could it be that “cloud hosting” might refer to one’s rental of a dedicated or virtual server (think hardware, with or without an OS provided by the cloud vendor) from Amazon, 1&1, etc. …  onto which one would install one’s own FileMaker Server license and then manage as one’s own server? This option eliminates the need to buy hardware or repair or replace any failing components, but leaves the responsibility for administering the FileMaker Server software to the renter. This is what I think of when I hear the term. Certainly this is a different kettle of fish from utilizing a FileMaker hosting provider who supplies hardware plus the requisite FileMaker Server license (and sometimes licenses for plug-ins), along with a pre-defined backup scheme and loads of FileMaker Server administrative expertise …

                     

                     

                     

                    And then there’s co-location, where one installs one’s own hardware (and one’s own software) in a data center that provides high-speed connectivity, air conditioning, redundant power, etc. As with “cloud hosting”, one would then manage the server hardware and the FileMaker Server software  as one’s own.

                     

                     

                     

                    All 3 options are interesting … each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

                     

                     

                     

                    Peace, love & brown rice,

                     

                    Morgan Jones

                     

                     

                     

                    FileMaker + Web:  Design, Develop & Deploy

                     

                    Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12

                     

                    Member: FileMaker Business Alliance

                     

                    One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>  

                     

                    Austin, Texas • USA

                     

                    512-422-0611

                    • 7. Re: Cloud Hosting
                      beverly

                      That would be MY definition, too, Morgan. But I'm afraid there's confusion for the masses. My hosting company was really a co-location (my servers in our rack) at a big data center (ISP). We owned the machines, we maintained the machines, we controlled the backups, etc. And then we setup many websites & databases & email hosting for clients and these were 'shared' space on the servers. These were maintained mostly by us and some clients had access via FTP. We offered "dedicated", but never got any clients for it. The "cloud" would be virtual servers in my mind: "shared-with-the-appearance-of-dedicated".

                       

                      Beverly

                      • 8. Re: Cloud Hosting
                        datastride

                        I currently co-locate the servers on which I host my FileMaker clients within a local data center. This approach has worked well for years, but I’m thinking about moving to rented dedicated servers in the same data center. (I’ve experimented with virtual servers, but I haven’t been entirely pleased with the reliability nor the performance.) Using rented dedicated servers, I would manage the software, databases, and backups, but I wouldn’t have to be responsible for maintaining the hardware. The server vendor would provide an alternate machine in case of a hardware failure, so I wouldn’t have to buy (and pay to co-locate) redundant hardware as I do currently. And I could move up to more powerful hardware at any time without purchasing additional machines.

                         

                         

                         

                        I’m not sure what to call this model …  “cloud light”?  

                         

                                                                         

                         

                        Peace, love & brown rice,

                         

                        Morgan Jones

                         

                         

                         

                        FileMaker + Web:  Design, Develop & Deploy

                         

                        Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12

                         

                        Member: FileMaker Business Alliance

                         

                        One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>  

                         

                        Austin, Texas • USA

                         

                        512-422-0611

                        • 9. Re: Cloud Hosting
                          CICT

                          At the risk of piperanselmi's posting being hijacked, but hoping that this is adding to the information requested, Beverley and Morgan have raised an interesting point. What is running in the cloud? The purist's definition would be very different from what appears here, but our take on it is that no actual processing is carried out on the user's computer, only video, keyboard, mouse and audio (OK, printing, import/export, etc.).

                           

                          We've taken a slightly different route to some by only using Rackspace hosted virtual servers that we've built and manage every aspect of these, so our clients don't have to worry anything about FileMaker server or any technical issues - all they need to do is use their databases.  No copies of FileMaker run on any client computer, everything is accessed from a web browser and delivered via Citrix XenApp, providing 2 levels of security - Citrix's and FileMaker's. The FileMaker licenses can be part of this package, or the customer's own licenses can be used.

                           

                          Morgan's definitions above are very valid and there will be many, many variations that will still be defined as 'cloud based'.

                           

                          Also as indicated above: reliability, peformance, support and backup/disaster recovery are the main issues to consider. 

                           

                          One of our clients took a month's free FileMaker trial out with one larger provider, but by the time he'd received his access details his credit card was already having money deducted. This was why we jumped from Amazon Web Services to Rackspace for our hosting service, so we could talk to human beings by phone or go visit them rather than relying on web forms. We're trying to take the fear factor out of cloud hosting for smaller organisation by providing a hands on managed service from checking databases are cloud ready (if they are integrating heavily with their computer's OS, our service may not be appropriate) to uploading the files to the server to ensuring that a scheduled backed up copy of the databases are returned to the client's computer system.

                           

                          We'd also recommend that you don't get locked into a lengthy contract. If the provider you choose isn't supplying the appropriate service - get out and use someone who will.

                           

                          Andy

                          • 10. Re: Cloud Hosting
                            beverly

                            Thanks, Andy. I think it does provide insight to those lured by 'the cloud' buzz phrase. Best to be informed before hosting elsewhere. One's requirements and skills may be deciding factors to what services are needed. It's all out in the ether!

                             

                            What say you FMP hosting providers?

                             

                            -- sent from my iPhone4 --

                            Beverly Voth

                            --

                            • 11. Re: Cloud Hosting
                              fmpros

                              Andy,

                               

                              We've done pretty much the same thing.  We use a Terminal Services server as the front end with "X" number of customers per machine with the FMS machine behind that.  Rackspace has been fantastic at setting up and maintaining this for us.  All the customer needs is an internet connection.  We manage our subscriptions through TS licenses and FMP licenses.   Minimal investment/hassle for customer, maximum access by us for admin, upgrade, etc., the comfort/safety net of Rackspace management, AND the customers receive incredible speed.  Using PocketCloud on my iPhone and iPad and tethering with my phone I offer practically 24/7 support; actually made a change to a customer's layout at 80 mph through west Texas on my iPhone.... they called, I delivered.... right then.  It's all about customer service.  I don't know the technical difference between the different methods but this is working great for us.

                               

                              I use Point in Space for development testing and plan on using that configuration commercially for a couple of upcoming apps that have different needs.  Service is great, no hardware or software worries and John is always right back at 'cha when you need sujpport.

                               

                              William

                              • 12. Re: Cloud Hosting
                                beverly

                                +1

                                John is always right back at 'cha

                                 

                                • 13. Re: Cloud Hosting
                                  LyndsayHowarth

                                  Beverly Voth wrote:

                                   

                                  It's all out in the ether!

                                   

                                  It certainly is...

                                  • 14. Re: Cloud Hosting

                                    WOW.  What a great thread!  I am glad it popped up!  Thank you everyone for this!