1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Mar 27, 2013 6:37 AM by taylorsharpe

    Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11

    JimBrear

      Our development work is almost exclusively done in the Wndows environment and it is 15 years since I have had much to do with Macs.

       

      However the need to set up an economical server solution for a client, serving 15 databases to 12 Users has made me have a closer look at the Mac Mini.

       

      Currently the FMPro 11 files are served ond an aging Windows 2003 sever than is doing other things as well. I wish to set the Mini up as a dedicated FM server.

       

      I need some Mac guru advice before I proceed further. Filemaker 12 is a horror in the Windows environment at the moment and I would prefer to keep everything in 11 until Filemaker fixes the problems.

       

      My question - will Filemaker 11 server work OK on the latest Mac Mini Server. If so will I have problems obtaining a Mac VLA copy of Filemaker Server to apply their existing Licence to. I have never had need to download a Mac Server VLA master in the past and hope I have not missed the boat.

       

      The Mac Mini appears to be amazing value. The whole package for not much more than a Windows Server Licence!

       

      Thanks for your Help

       

      Jim Brear

      Armidale

      Australia.

        • 1. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
          Lemmtech

          I haven't tried it with the server OS but I just did set up last December a Mac Mini with FMS11 on ML and it works fine. You just need to install the lastest update for FMS 11 and you should be fine. Getting a downgrade license for 11 on your VLA isn't really an issue they just charge you $5 for the link to download it. Just ask for the downgrade should be no problem.

           

          I'm just curious since I too have been avoiding 12 myself for a number of reasons what do you see as it's biggest issues at the moment on Windows becasue I considering (against my better judgement perhaps) starting a new project on 12 under windows since the customer wants to do some iOS stuff.

           

          Thanks,

           

          Mark

          • 2. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11

            Hi Jim,

             

            I've taken the route of a used MacPro for our FMServer boxes (both FMS 11 & FMS 12). The price might be a bit higher than with the Mini but the MacPro Power Supply has a rock solid reputation and the drives, which are the other most vulnerable component of an FMserver, are much easier to access, provide for a separate location for your backups and, if necessary, replace with an SSD if you want top notch Sever performance. I've not considered Mac OS X Server to be necessary.

             

            I guess it all depends upon how much importance you place upon the proven reliability of various components. I would not have been making this suggesstion two months ago with the Java hiatus on Mac OS X but that issue now appears to have been resolved.

             

            It's obvious, however, that your familiarity with the OS is also a consideration.

             

            John

            • 3. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
              LyndsayHowarth

              I've done work on 2 new Mac mini 12x servers with no issues. I've done 12 with windows 2008 with only IiS problems. I haven't tried server 11 on the new minis....but I'd give it a go...

               

              The new minis are fantastic. It makes my 4th mini server since they were first introduced and all but one are still chugging. New software is the only reason the old one is not deployed. I am bias but they are shockingly simple to install and configure....

               

              Sent from my iPad

              Lyndsay Howarth

              11th Hour Group Pty Ltd

              • 4. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                RonSmithMD

                Here's my experience with Mac Mini Servers.

                 

                We have two of the newest Mac Mini Servers (OS 10.8.3 and FMS12) with SSD/Hard drive running PaperCutPro. My practice and another customer are each on them and only file service is running on them from the server perspective. I have an older Intel Mac Pro (about 4 or 5 years old and running OS 10.7.5 and FMS 11) as well, which has an SSD for the primary (an OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI SSD) and three backup drives. Everything is rack mounted and I have another Mac Mini Server (OS 10.8.3) with a backup Thunderbolt drive attached.

                 

                I have two practices, our first two customers, who access the Mac Minis through our fibre optic network connection. Both do just fine and really are only limited by their local internet connection.

                 

                My copy of PaperCutPro is about 76 gb total with data collected from patient care since 2000. It used to be on the Mac Pro but I moved it to the Mac Mini Server in the last 6 months or so.

                 

                The Mac Mini Server runs circles around the old Mac Pro with my copy of PaperCutPro even with the PCI SSD. It takes about thirteen minutes to backup the 76 gb from the internal platter drive on the Mac Mini Server where my copy of PaperCutPro is hosted over ethernet to the backup Thunderbolt drive on the other Mac Mini Server.

                 

                The only problem is that I have had some issues with Java. I truly hate Java. It is worse than Flash in my opinion and I have had until recent OS/Java Upgrades. I have seen kernel panics strictly caused by Java. Someone mentioned that they were afraid to go to FileMaker Server 12 from 11. However the progressive backup feature of 12 is absolutely astounding. These few kernel panics caused no problems for FileMaker Server 12 and the PaperCutPro came up verified within about 5 to 10 minutes automatically. Kudos to FileMaker for progressive backups and to Apple for the Mac Mini Servers. I love the combination personally and the only thing better would be if FileMaker would cut the cord with Java. Java is just too unreliable to be associated with FileMaker in my opinion.

                 

                To be honest, I can't wait to see what Apple will do with the Thunderbolt and the newest hardware that will replace the aging Mac Pro. I'll be first in line to purchase to replace that aging Mac Pro I have now.

                 

                Just my opinion and others experience might be different.

                 

                Ron

                http://www.papercutpro.com

                http://www.ronsmithmd.com

                 

                Ron Smith, MD, 'The Pediatric Guide For Parents'

                 

                Want to know more about me and my family? Take a look at the free ebook about my daughter below.

                 

                Forever And A Day For Laura Michelle

                • 5. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                  JimBrear

                  Thanks for the feedback Mark.

                   

                   

                   

                  The Mini is looking promising.

                   

                   

                   

                  Filemaker 12 was such a major redesign (particularly the new graphic elements), that I think the developers overstretched themselves a bit.

                   

                   

                   

                  The same thing happened with the introduction of Filemaker 7.  I did not convert any clients to that due to areas that did not feel right.  By the release of Filemaker 8 the product was feeling like a unified whole. I have no doubt the developers are aware of all the problems in 12 and are working to fix them in the next release.

                   

                   

                   

                  My issues with 12? Let me count the ways.

                   

                   

                   

                  For every nice feature in the new graphics system there are some really frustrating downsides.

                   

                   

                   

                  Layout and design

                   

                  -          The selection of objects works the opposite of how it did in 11.  Unless you use the Ctrl key everything touched by the cursor is selected. The undo facility gets a real workout.

                   

                  -          Even when you remember to use the control key, the selection process is not consistent resulting in more undos.

                   

                  -          I find the lines to indicate something has been selected really difficult to see which leads to more confusion.

                   

                  -          The object selection process is very sensitive and will often move the items a point or 2 on the layout – more undos.

                   

                  -          Changing the text on a button causes the button to resize – you know it is going to happen but cannot stop it (any hints gratefully received)

                   

                  -          12v3 on Windows screws up the appearance of portals. Once reasonable looking layouts look very ordinary.

                   

                  -          I love the middle selection square on objects that allow you to adjust the width easily, and the way it tries to align to other objects.

                   

                   

                   

                  Containers and external storage

                   

                  -          I have spent many hours experimenting with this on my internal databases and my humble opinion is it is half baked. I can get it working OK with photos.  Most of my solutions use containers to store source documents relating to client notes. In Filemaker 11 the user could double click on a container field and the document would open. You cannot do that in 12 using external storage (although it still works using mapped locations). As many of my clients have weird network setups, dictated by their IT departments, I had seen external storage as a real opportunity to handle the document storage properly within Filemaker and allow the introduction of content managenet where it is not possible now..  A real disappointment. To see what I mean try storing a few PDFs on the Content Management Template.

                   

                  -          I find the encrypted external storage too scary to even contemplate.

                   

                   

                   

                  Speed

                   

                  -          There has been a heap of discussion about this on the list. I had not noticed too much difference. We have a rostering solution which uses Seedcode Calendar to provide drag and drop capability to the Roster overviews.  This is pretty intensive processing.  We are working on a solution to give the rostered workers iPads to download their Rosters and instructions to. FMGo 12 was the natural choice, but when I tested a converted version of the main system, the drag and drop capabilities ran about half the speed as in FM 11. I could not inflict this on the users so we have reverted to using FM Go 11 until those issues are addressed.

                   

                   

                   

                  I think FM12 with go down as FileMaker’s version of Windows Vista.  Great ideas, but not quite ready for prime time. I eagerly await the next release and the improvements it will bring.

                   

                   

                   

                  I think you are safer starting new projects, as you can make the adjustments needed as you go. I have converted a couple of Clients to 12, but the effort involved does not give any real benefit  (just layouts that look worse than they did).

                   

                   

                   

                  That was good to get off my chest!

                   

                   

                   

                  Best Wishes

                   

                   

                   

                  Jim Brear

                   

                  COAMAS Services

                   

                  PO Box 1542 Armidale NSW 2350

                   

                  Mobile Phone: 0429 428 700

                   

                  Home Office Phone: (02) 6772 3933

                   

                  Fax: (02) 6771 3666

                   

                  email: jbrear@coamas.com.au <mailto:jbrear@coamas.com.au>

                   

                  Web  http://www.coamas.com.au <http://www.coamas.com.au/

                   

                  COAMAS - Community Options, Advocacy, Management and Accounting Software

                  • 6. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                    JimBrear

                    Thanks John

                     

                     

                     

                    I agree with your sentiments, but will need to weight up the risk, especially as I can set up an emergency copy of FMServer on their windows server for instances of failure.

                     

                     

                     

                    I think the Java situation will not be completely fixed until Filemaker get rid of it completely.  It has been a pox on FM Server since it was introduced withFMS9.

                     

                     

                     

                    Best Wishes

                     

                     

                     

                    Jim Brear

                     

                    COAMAS Services

                     

                    PO Box 1542 Armidale NSW 2350

                     

                    Mobile Phone: 0429 428 700

                     

                    Home Office Phone: (02) 6772 3933

                     

                    Fax: (02) 6771 3666

                     

                    email: jbrear@coamas.com.au <mailto:jbrear@coamas.com.au>

                     

                    Web  http://www.coamas.com.au <http://www.coamas.com.au/

                     

                    COAMAS - Community Options, Advocacy, Management and Accounting Software

                    • 7. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                      JimBrear

                      Great feedback thanks Lindsay

                       

                       

                       

                      The ease of setup is important.  Plan is to set it up here in Armidale and send it to Kempsey for a plug it in install and remote setup.  Sounds like that might be possible.

                       

                       

                       

                      Saves a 7 hour return drive .

                       

                       

                       

                      Best Wishes

                       

                       

                       

                      Jim Brear

                       

                      COAMAS Services

                       

                      PO Box 1542 Armidale NSW 2350

                       

                      Mobile Phone: 0429 428 700

                       

                      Home Office Phone: (02) 6772 3933

                       

                      Fax: (02) 6771 3666

                       

                      email: jbrear@coamas.com.au <mailto:jbrear@coamas.com.au>

                       

                      Web  http://www.coamas.com.au <http://www.coamas.com.au/

                       

                      COAMAS - Community Options, Advocacy, Management and Accounting Software

                      • 8. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                        JimBrear

                        Thanks Ron

                         

                         

                         

                        All the feedback has made me start thinking the Mac might make a great server platform.

                         

                         

                         

                        I am hoping I can convince the client so I get a chance to have a play with a Mac Mini.

                         

                         

                         

                        I think we all hope that the next FMS release will see the end of the Java based console. It cannot happen quick enough.

                         

                         

                         

                        Best Wishes

                         

                         

                         

                        Jim Brear

                         

                        COAMAS Services

                         

                        PO Box 1542 Armidale NSW 2350

                         

                        Mobile Phone: 0429 428 700

                         

                        Home Office Phone: (02) 6772 3933

                         

                        Fax: (02) 6771 3666

                         

                        email: jbrear@coamas.com.au <mailto:jbrear@coamas.com.au>

                         

                        Web  http://www.coamas.com.au <http://www.coamas.com.au/

                         

                        COAMAS - Community Options, Advocacy, Management and Accounting Software

                        • 9. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                          MartinCrosman

                          I have been using the Mac Mini as a FileMaker server with great success to date. FileMaker 11 so far but I just puchase a new Mac Mini Server that will be my FileMaker 12 server starting next week. I have both of these colocated at a hosting facility. The FM 11 mac mini is just using ML as OS and it has been rock solid for about 2 years now.

                           

                          I appreciate your concerns with Filemaker 12 but I have done quite a few large development projects and to me there is no looking back. I would not start a new project using anything else.

                           

                          Like you I was excited to see the new container features particularly as they relate to hosting large pdf collections. I had been using file plug in and open url commands to manage these for years. I find the new container features rock. There are some new "work arounds" that need to be applied in the solutions I have provided, but the interactive features, external storage and back ups just can't be dismissed. Especially if you have clients also accessing this via ipads.

                           

                          Thanks for starting this discussion and I hope this helps,

                           

                          Martin

                          • 10. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                            JimBrear

                            Hi Martin

                             

                             

                             

                            Thanks for your feedback re the Mac Mini. Looks like a good solution.

                             

                             

                             

                            I have been using FM12 internally since it was first released and besides having to adjust every portal in my solutions, they work pretty much the same as they did in in 11.

                             

                             

                             

                            I have done some new projects in 12 and they have gone well. The themes allow the creation of great looking layouts in pretty quick time although I find the object selection problems etc make the layout design slower than in 11.

                             

                             

                             

                            The most promising feature in 12 for me was the external storage.  I immediately assumed that this would allow me to leverage the content management in our solutions to the next level. Many days of testing however have left me totally disillusioned. In our current solution Users open a client note.  The note will contain text and has container fields linking to source documents on mapped drives. Documents can be opened by double clicking on them. Setting it up and maintaining integrity requires real discipline but it as simple to use.

                             

                             

                             

                            I have not been able to achieve this functionality with FM12. The only way I can get the documents to display is by exporting them. Not a solution as most of the documents contain sensitive information that we do want copies of scattered around users computers.

                             

                             

                             

                            I gave up trying to find a workaround. I will keep my clients on 11 until Filemaker fix the very obvious holes in the system.

                             

                             

                             

                            If you have discovered a way of achieving what I am trying to achieve above I would be very appreciative of a few hints.

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            Best Wishes

                             

                             

                             

                            Jim Brear

                             

                            COAMAS Services

                             

                            PO Box 1542 Armidale NSW 2350

                             

                            Mobile Phone: 0429 428 700

                             

                            Home Office Phone: (02) 6772 3933

                             

                            Fax: (02) 6771 3666

                             

                            email: jbrear@coamas.com.au <mailto:jbrear@coamas.com.au>

                             

                            Web  http://www.coamas.com.au <http://www.coamas.com.au/

                             

                            COAMAS - Community Options, Advocacy, Management and Accounting Software

                            • 11. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                              taylorsharpe

                              First, before addressing Jim, I want to say the Mac Mini Server with i7 processor and 8 or 16 Gigs of RAM is an awesome an inexpensive little server not only for FileMaker, but the other server features it includes.  The achiles heel is that the drive choices (2.5" hard drives or SSDs) are not up to commercial grade performance at all.  That is why I have paired mine with the Pegasus RAIDs over Thunderbolt for better performance and commercial reliability.  I have done this a number of times very successfully and highly recommend it as an inexpensive server for small to medium sized businesses. 

                               

                              Jim, container fields were redone in FM12.  As you know, FileMaker does not open and edit binary documents.  There are some situations in either referened files or OLE documents that when you double click on them, open them in their native application.  12 dropped support for OLE documents and OLE has been something on the way out for quite a while.  But I have run into several people who have done documents that way and it is a difficult process getting them converted to work the way FileMaker wants container fields to work.  However, the way FileMaker wants to work is not how you want it to work.  So you are out of luck there. 

                               

                              You can do like many applications do and have the container field export to a temporary directory on that users account and periodically do cleanup (erase all the temp files when you open or close that FileMaker file, etc.) with a plugin.  Ultimately, another app cannot open a file stored in a FileMaker container field and it will have to be exported to be used, which I know is not what you wanted to hear. 

                              • 12. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                                rickfry

                                I am looking to host fm12 server to support 80 concurrent fmgo connections from ipads. Does anyone have any idea what the server memory requirements will be ?

                                • 13. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                                  taylorsharpe

                                  I would use a server with at least 8 Gigs of RAM, preferably one with 16.  FM cache can only use half of the total memory of the machine.  So if you have 8 Gigs of RAM, FM will only use 4.  More is really good for concurrent connections.  But probably more important will be your network connection.  I am going to assuming these are WAN and not LAN connections.  So that means making sure you have good bandwidth and low latency.  Latency is actually very important to a database even though most people only evaluate overall bandwidth.  What kind of WAN internet connection do you have?

                                  • 14. Re: Mac Mini Server and Filemaker 11
                                    rickfry

                                    Thanks for the advice I was going to run on 4 gig but will upgrade the spec to 8

                                     

                                    We will be running this through 3 wireless n access points each connected to a switch and then gigabit hardwire connection to the server. This will all run on a lan no internet access will be available.


                                    Rick

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