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Danial, one of problems would be if your wife would need to reboot the computer.
One scenario: You startup the computer, login as yourself start FMSA 12 and once you finish booting you fast user switch to the login screen where your wife can sign in. At this point your FMSA 12 should still be running in the background. your wife logs in and does her computing and then would need to reboot the computer! What happens now?? I know that when you select reboot with other users logged on the system will ask for a Admin username and password and then force logout the other users. The computer restarts and FMSA 12 is no longer running. Also I know it is a "BAD" thing to have the surver quit in this manner.
Having said all this, you could make this situation work but... there are a lot of possible pitfalls.
Is it right for a production environment? No. But could it work in a development environment where you're the only developer? Sure. You train your wife to never reboot the computer. You already know not to shut it down without shutting down FMS first. You keep hourly or every 15 minute or progressive backups. FMS 12 is so solid and so stable that I anticipate it would do just fine for you.
Ann Arbor, MI
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Mac Mini boxes are quite cheap and are increasingly being used for SOHO FMS hosts. Get one for your development box so you can practice deploying and maintaining a Mac Mini server.
Last year's models can be purchased refurbished from Apple with full warranty if you want to save. some dollars.
I've been keeping my eye open for Mac Mini's on our local craigslist. I'm having a little trouble installing on the iMac so I may end up going that route.
As it turns out, my simple evening task was not so simple. Installation appeared fine until I clicked the start page. Then I received this message:
"The FileMaker Server Admin Console Start page is not available."
I went throught the Getting Started manual. I looked at the Activity Monitor - doesn't look like FMS is running. I ran the Terminal command, then back to the Activity Monitor - still no server.
First, I would upgrade from 4 to 8 Gigs of RAM... or maybe even 16 (FMS 12 can only use half of whatever you have). Second, FMS is designed to work with Mac OS X Server.... and not the client version. Yes, you can use just Mac OS X, but FileMaker is looking for services like Apache and Open Directory that are supported in Mac OS X Server. And since for Mountain Lion, it only costs like $30, it is not an expensive upgrade.
Servers are most stable when only services run and not applications. Client applications will take away RAM and slow the server down. And client applications are much more likely to muck up the OS than a service ever is. That being said, yes, you can have a user on the same machine as FMS as long as you realize it is not a best practice.
As said above, it probably would work better as a development machine, but not so well as a production server. I probably would not give my wife an Admin level account unless she really is tech savvy.
Clearly the Mac Mini was not designed to be a Server, but it actually does pretty well as one and I've used it as a production machine at quite a number of clients. The achiles heel are the hard drives. If you want to make it a better production machine, add an external RAID. I've been singing the praises of the Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAIDs because they are so fast. But more and more Thunderbolt external drives are coming out. I usually leave the OS on one internal drive, Time Machine it to the other drive, and put all of my data on the external RAID.
GIve it a go and it is good as long as the performance meets your needs!
Oh, one more warning.... once you convert a Mac OS X machine to Mac OS X Server, you are NOT to change the Hard Drive name of the OS because Mac OS X Server hard codes many of the service references. Unfortunately, it is very easy for a user to just click on the hard drive name and change it. So warn you wife to leave the hard drive name alone.