This past year I have really become impressed with the Mac Mini Servers mated with Pegasus RAIDs, and they are very inexpensive and a good solution if splitting into two machines. Separating them onto separate machines will usually make for better performance than keeping them together.
But there are issues about files not being on the same server because FileMaker Server can only see files on itself and not another FileMaker Server. A FileMaker client can see two servers, but a server cannot see another server's data. I hope that changes someday, but it is an issues to deal with for now.
Some things have to do with whether your performance is acceptable on a single server or not, and there are a lot of things you can do with a database to make it perform better. One thing is to user a Server where other services are not also being used (e.g., File sharing, web, email, etc.).
Without knowing more about the databases and assuming I don't need a FMS file to see another FMS file, I would go with two inexpensive Mac Mini Servers with really fast Pegasus RAID drives for the data.
One more thing, since FMS12 is 64 bit, lots of memory will help, especially if using a single machine. Be sure to assign as much memory as you can in the Admin Console. You can assign up to half of your total memory. If you have a Mac Mini with 16 Gigs of RAM, you can give FileMaker 8 Gigs! Not bad for a little work horse like that.
Thanks for the reply.
A bit more info (I deliberately left the original post vague to get an idea on the concept rather than the specifics)
At the moment, we run 25 files (25GB) with 50 users on an HP DL120. (Dual core Xeon // Win 2008 32bit // 4GB RAM // FM11)
He also have an Atto R380 Raid card in , with an external storage array of 2 x SSD in Raid 1 for data and 4 x HD's in Raid 10 for backup
We're finding that this limits what we can do , the Disk IO are ok now we have replaced the Sata Disks (which were raid 5 ) with 2 x SSD
The bottle neck now appears to be the CPU
The planned replacement server is
Windows 2012 server
FM 12 Advanced server
2 x Intel Xeon E5-2620 (12 cores total, 24 inc virtual cores)
2 x SSD for Windows (Raid 1)
4 x SSD for FM Data (Raid 10)
2 x SAS drives for backup (Raid 1)
The other option is buy 2 x R720 but with less in each, to pass the load amongst them
I personally would try the single beefy Dell R720 and only if performance legs, look at a dual system. FYI, RAID 10 is preferred by databases. You have lots of RAM and that will help a lot. I personally think that this is one beefy server and expect it should be quite a performer, especially with many users. The many cores really helps with many users.
The only thing I have not tried in your setup is running FileMaker Server 12 on a Windows 2012 Server. I would expect that not to be a problem, but the ones I have run have always been 2008 or earlier. There are a few disk options in Windows 2012 that might not work with FileMaker Servers' progressive backups. Just be aware that you could probably configure 2012 in a way that FileMaker Server 12 would not work. The technical sales information on FileMaker Server 12 does not include Windows 2012, but the FileMaker help says there are no incompatibilitiles:
ooo thats rather embarrasing isnt it! I hadnt noticed FM did not support Win 2012
Oh well, I know my way around 2008 really well so that will do me :-)
I guess it is really more of an issue that when FileMaker Server 12 came out, Windows Server 2012 had not yet been released, and that is why it is not part of the original specifications. But the devil is in the details sometimes and it is good to pay attention to such things and test them before going into production mode.
If you have a known problem with your solution, look into that first, since more CPU may not help
> The bottle neck now appears to be the CPU