1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Jun 13, 2017 5:00 PM by bigtom

    Hosting FileMaker Files for Client

    EdwardMcPikeJr

      I just finished reading a related thread, Cloud Hosting, but didn't want to hijack it. I am in a quandry and am hoping to get some advice here:

       

      I have one client that needs to host their files over the WAN. He has an office in the Bahamas, an office in Washington DC, and I've now added FileMaker Go access for staff with iPads in the field and iPhones for the boss to grab some high level data.

       

      A few years ago I got an account with FMGateway. However, they had two major server crashes over the past couple of years (including data loss in the first), response to the issue wasn't that great the last time, and they just seemed to have faded off the map lately.

       

      So back in June I moved my client to Triple8.net and their 24/7 support. Yesterday their server or admin console went down (I can still see my file in their web interface, but it won't open after closing by itself on Saturday). I love the fact that they allow automatic FTP of backups to my FTP site, as I can now move this file pretty quickly to a new server.

       

      So, for starters, I'm looking into WorldCloud and PointInSpace for at least a temporary solution. But I would like to have better control over this. I'm just trying to figure out a good cost-effective solution:

       

      1 - I am going to price them on having their own server in their office, with FileMaker Server

       

      2 - I wouldn't mind looking into something along the shared server or dedicated server route, with my purchasing FileMaker Server and hosting for them. I'd like to put my own Project Management file on the WAN anyway, so it would get a bit more use. However, this isn't very cost effective since I only have one client that needs these services. All others own FMS for use within their one location.

       

      What do you do for your clients when they need hosting over the WAN? I'm trying to figure out the best solution that gives me more control, good backups, and obviously I need a great disaster recovery plan since everywhere I go things seem to fail.

       

      I'd love to hear what many of you do for your clients.

       

      Thank you in advance!

       

      Ed

        • 1. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client

          Hi Ed,

           

          I'm struggling to see why you are only considering PointinSpace as "a temporary solution." From my limited experience of their service, I think you'll get everything you need from them for this client, without the down time and lack of response that you've seen with the other providers.

           

          John

          • 2. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
            CICT

            Hi Ed

             

            I suspect you've been reading a post I've been contributing to, so I hope you don't mind me hopping across to your thread.

             

            Our standard service wouldn't be appropriate for you, as we manage all the technology including file uploads. Hopefully you'll get many options here, but here's one:

             

            You could consider having a dedicated virtual server built for you, which you could have complete control over. Once the (Windows 2008) server has been built the management of this could be handed over to you to load as many databases as appropriate for the server size. Virtual servers can always be dynamically increased in capacity if needed and backups can be configured to be sent to your FTP site or use Dropbox to have them synchronised with one/some of your own computers (also very useful for reference in the event of a broadband outage!).

             

            I don't know what other people would do, but our approach would be to build the server to your specifications (we harden cloud servers as much as possible, keeping services to a minimum with just enough to run FileMaker) and would keep the server within our Rackspace control to provide the cloud level service and ensure all backup/DRP and server images are maintained. However, all FileMaker maintenance and management could be put in your control to do as you wish.

             

            I look forward to viewing ideas here.

             

            Andy

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
              EdwardMcPikeJr

              Hi John:

               

              Thanks - good to hear you've had good experiences with PointInSpace.  I mentioned that I was looking into them for "at least" a temporary solution.  What I meant by that is that I am considering moving the solution to one of them to give them a try if I hear enough good feedback from folks in this list.  After my previous two experiences, I am not going to assume I can count on anybody.  Many companies say the right things on their website and/or over email - the first two did.

               

              The other side of it is this - it could just be a temporary solution if I decide to move to something closer to the dedicated side (which I know both of those companies do as well) or bring my hosting in-house.

               

              The point is, I want to consider all of my options.  The "temporary" part was to get my client's solution to a shared solution somebody with a more proven track record of good customer service and response time while I think about other more "dedicated" options.  Temporary can easily become permanent if I'm happy.

               

              Regards,


              Ed

              • 4. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                EdwardMcPikeJr

                Thanks Andy.  That's exactly something I'm considering, as I manage FileMaker Server software and files on mutliple Virtual Servers with Windows 2008 for my largest client and am very comfortable with it.  I just have to weight the cost since only one client can take advantage of it at this time.  I may be able to split the cost with the client until more need it, as I have my own uses for it.  Just one of the many things to weigh.

                 

                Regards,

                 

                Ed

                • 5. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                  PointInSpace

                  Note that we do also offer virtual dedicated servers, in addition to our

                  shared hosting accounts.  Please contact support@pointinspace.com for

                  complete details and pricing.

                   

                       - John

                   

                   

                  Hi John:

                   

                  Thanks - good to hear you've had good experiences with PointInSpace. I

                  mentioned that I was looking into them for "at least" a temporary

                  solution. What I meant by that is that I am considering moving the

                  solution to one of them to give them a try if I hear enough good

                  feedback from folks in this list. After my previous two experiences, I

                  am not going to assume I can count on anybody. Many companies say the

                  right things on their website and/or over email - the first two did.

                   

                  The other side of it is this - it could just be a temporary solution if

                  I decide to move to something closer to the dedicated side (which I know

                  both of those companies do as well) or bring my hosting in-house.

                   

                  The point is, I want to consider all of my options. The "temporary" part

                  was to get my client's solution to a shared solution somebody with a

                  more proven track record of good customer service and response time

                  while I think about other more "dedicated" options. Temporary can easily

                  become permanent if I'm happy.

                   

                  Regards,

                   

                  >

                  Ed

                   

                   

                   

                  --

                  • 6. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                    CICT

                    Ed, we do run multiple client solutions on our servers and, providing you're doing all the server management can ensure users can only see their own solutions by implementing the List only databases each user is authorised to access in FMS Security. We did once consider writing a control file to prevent 2 users with the same user name/password combination, but we know most of our clients well enough for this not to be an issue (so far!).

                     

                    As our servers fill, we tend to start with a new small server and increase the size as additional users and files are added. However, we normally don't exceed 40 to 50 users, as we've always tried to avoid single point of failure, so run a number of smaller virtual servers, rather than a few very large ones.

                     

                    We also do a lot of 'in cloud' development. This is partially due to our commitment to Citrix which allows us to do Windows development (on Macs) and use multiple monitors with proper floating windows, such as the Inspector, scripts, etc, which we can't do in Parallels. We've often experienced redraw problems using RDC, sometimes making layout design and TO configuration hard work, whereas these don't seem to happen with XenApp, which is normally at least as quick as Parallels.

                     

                    Good luck with your search.

                     

                    Andy

                    • 7. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                      s

                      At the risk of being black-balled or some equivalent, I must say that Point in Space has, in my opinion and experience, very high downtime. There's nothing worse than convincing a client to forego an in-house server in favor of a hosted solution, and then have the host unavailable 3 times in the first couple months. Or when you call and email, being told the problem must be at your end, then a day later getting an email from support saying they did indeed have a major failure of network components. This year alone, they have reported outages in January, March, April, June, July and September (and those are only the ones I know about). It's too bad there's not some downtime reporting requirement so we could compare hosting services.

                       

                      On the other hand, Point in Space does have the most flexible user interface for uploading, downloading, and backing up your databases. And their prices/features are very competitive.

                      • 8. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                        DavidJondreau

                        My Point in Space FMS 12 Virtual Machine is down right now and it's killing me. It's been 90 minutes and it's after an hour of downtime earlier this week.

                        • 9. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                          KeithLarochelle

                          Check Out: http://www.productivecomputing.com

                           

                          Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, is a full service FileMaker Pro hosting company. FileMaker hosting services allow customers to host their own FileMaker Pro solutions on Productive Computing servers in the cloud instead of purchasing and supporting the necessary server infrastructure themselves.

                           

                           

                          Try a 30-day FREE trial today!

                           

                          FileMaker Hosting Differences You Can Count On:

                          While there are many choices out there for hosting a FileMaker Pro database, keeping things focused and simple to efficiently accomplish your hosting needs is our philosophy. Here are some things that make Productive Computing, Inc.'s FileMaker Pro database hosting service different:

                          1. We are a large FileMaker Platinum development firm with extensive expert knowledge of all things FileMaker (not just a hosting company who may or may not know how FileMaker works under the hood).
                          2. We have physical servers with SSD drives (nothing virtual, nothing outdated) and as a result have read/write times faster than traditional hard drives.
                          3. We don’t overload our servers with too many files or customers and we always use the latest version of FileMaker Server and OS security patches after we have tested them.
                          4. We perform local backups, twice daily backups to a physical attached drive, and to the cloud. That gives us 3 points of redundancy for disaster recovery and up to 30 days of data as well as weekly and monthly snapshots.
                          5. We provide a weekly DropBox backup (more often if needed) for those customers who want the peace of mind to know their data is at their fingertips. No cumbersome FTP programs are required to get at your data should you need it.
                          6. We provide direct FileMaker Server admin console access for users on FileMaker 12 where they can close and open files, download files, etc. We can provide direct access to FileMaker 11 Server admin as well for developers who request it.
                          7. We provide a unique Instant Web Publishing (IWP) scenario that will auto redirect IWP users to a web page of your choosing upon IWP time out or IWP log out. We developed this technology here in-house and it’s truly one of a kind.
                          8. Distance from the server to the client is a big factor which is why we are continuing to invest in our infrastructure by putting servers in all corners of the country.
                          • 10. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                            LyndsayHowarth

                            HI Edward,

                             

                            I have hosted my own client files on my servers since 2002 after years earlier trying to use servers elsewhere including co-location I decided I wanted to manage things in-house. My main frustration was that I needed not only FileMaker but also web, mail, ftp etc. I suppose the big thing was being able to relay email as in those days ISPs were more restrictive.

                             

                            The only files I have hosted which I did not create myself were problematic and destabilise one server so I don't do it lightly. I encourage my clients to host themselves where possible and I maintain and update their databases and servers remotely.

                             

                            Some solutions are 15 years old now and they are still being hosted or have been upgraded and migrated and still running. I build things and can share with clients when they are being built and I can run demos for clients using my own servers. I love that side of it all... being in control.

                             

                            Managing your own servers can be a difficulty too. You are subject to any outages from your upstream providor or electricity outages etc. You are also responsible for the safety of the files and the data of your clients. You also have to invest and update regularly at a cost of time and money.

                             

                            Unless you can get up and running with a big pipe and powerful boxes and good customer interface for management and are well capitalised then you cannot expect to make a lot of money from your hosting. I have 24/7 attention to the servers and personal services and boutique tools so I have my niche.... but you would have to compete with the likes of Point in Space and Productive Computing for anything larger scale than mine.

                             

                            HTMS

                             

                            - Lyndsay

                            • 11. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                              PointInSpace

                              Please note that the downtimes mentioned here regarding September, 2012 were due to a very exceptional issue we had with our Fibre Channel SAN used with our virtual machines.  We worked non-stop with all involved hardware and software manufacturers, and had this issue resolved within 48 hours, although intermittent (but certainly not constant) outages did occur during said time frame.  Unfortunately, humans design and program the servers and issues like this are the nature of the business.  Providing quality hosting is not only about setting up servers, but even more about effectively and efficiently diagnosing and resolving problems when they occur.

                               

                              As for the comments by the poster named "s" regarding other downtimes, I can honestly say I do not know what he is referring to.  I show no outages on record here during the other months mentioned.  If he would like to step up with his real name and specific examples, I am more than willing to investigate and address such.

                               

                              We have been providing FileMaker hosting services since 1999, and pride ourselves as being one of the most reliable providers available.  We average *well* over 99% uptime, which is an accomplishment particularly with FileMaker.  I just wanted to be sure the record was set straight regarding some of the above statements.  Please feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions about this or anything else either here or off-list to jmay(at)pointinspace.com.  Thanks!

                               

                              - John

                              • 12. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                                taylorsharpe

                                I took a look at Productive Computing's hosting solution this past week.  I did it mostly because I have used and respect their plugins and they know FileMaker inside-out.  I think you would be hard pressed to find a better hosting company.  Of course that being said, I decided not to use them.  I decided not to use them because of their high per user cost.  I had a client that has a lot of customers that have to log in rarely (e.g., once every 6 months) through IWP and they priced these connections as a regular employee logging in with FMP every day.  It made their costs extremely expensive.  What we are probably going to do instead is just host a Mac Mini at Mac Mini Colo in Las Vegas and own our own machine and backup drive and web services.  Speaking of web services, this was another issue with Productive Computing, they will not put an SSL certificate on their server, so your IWP services are served on port 80 in the clear and we needed SSL encryption on port 443 for security.  Anyway, hosting a computer by itself on Mac Mini Colo was much less expensive than Productive Computing and gave us full control of the web server and unlimited client connections, all for the price of a Mac Mini, external hard drive and $75 a month.  So while I'll probably try Productive Computing for a smaller client not needing IWP, I had to forgo them for this situation. 

                                • 13. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                                  PointInSpace

                                  Have you had a look at our services?  We include a lot more connections, full featured web and email hosting (including SSL), and more advanced features such as external datasource connections, plug-in usage, etc. with *all* of our accounts - no additional cost.  Many hosting providers nickel and dime for these features to get their base account prices to look more favorable.

                                   

                                  We also offer virtual dedicated servers, starting at $99/month.  These include the server hardware - no need to purchase a Mini - and, unlike a Mini, these are hosted on enterprise-class hardware.

                                   

                                  Not to mention we have been providing FileMaker hosting since 1999, and it is the sole focus of our business.

                                   

                                  - John

                                   

                                  Point In Space Professional FileMaker Hosting

                                  http://www.pointinspace.com/

                                  • 14. Re: Hosting FileMaker Files for Client
                                    LyndsayHowarth

                                    Hi John,

                                     

                                    I empathise with your outage problem. I endured a week of outages on my own network which were entirely out of my control. I feared the worst...

                                     

                                    You and I have been in this business for a very long time. You have built an excellent reputation and I respect your contributions to the FIleMaker Community for many years. We both know these things can happen and even contingency plans can fail.. despite the best planning and attention.

                                     

                                    People expect the internet to be like a bricks and mortar store but open all the time. The fact is that even bricks and mortar can be subject to a flood or fire or a great big truck running thru the front door. While they would go to the aid of the Bricks & Mortar store owner, when dealing with online and telephony services they get abusive and critical.

                                     

                                    My outage was caused by floods after nearly a month of rain we had water spurting everywhere and our supplier was overwhelmed. There was nothing to do but wait.

                                     

                                    I hope S gets to be a bit more patient and get a long term view ... My long term clients just shrugged their shoulders and felt sorry for me... as i expect yours did.

                                     

                                    - Lyndsay

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