Hopefully you'll get plenty of reported experiences here, but we'll add our two-penneth here.
As with all performance questions there are so many variables involved including available bandwidth, number of users, complexity of solutions, amongst others. Developers have changed the way they are developing solutions, attempting to remove overheads from the database structure and put the majority of intelligence into the interface. For example, these days we hardly use calculation or summary fields and try to maximise script triggers and ExcecuteSQL.
Another major factor is what your expectations are by opting for a cloud hosted solution. If you have a FileMaker Go or Pro client wanting to send a simple update, then this can be quite quick, even over 3G. However, if you are running complex reports or processing routines (order processing with bill of material breakdowns, etc.), then it can be almost unsuable even with a fast Internet connection.
We've specialised in providing FileMaker solutions using Citrix XenApp over the cloud, which provides virtually office LAN speeds via the Internet but of course is more expensive than the traditional 'local copy of Pro/Go connecting to hosted server' configuration.
We have a few web pages that you might find interesting based on some comparisons of using FileMaker v11, v12 and our own Citrix XenApp based cloud solution at http://www.filemakerdatabases.co.uk/pages/videodemos.html where you'll see that once a layout has initially been cached there is very little difference in speed between hosting types, whereas a 'Replace Field' test varied between 5 seconds and and nearly 25 minutes to complete.
We have customers spread between Burma, South Africa, Europe and the US using FileMaker 11 and 12 via XenApp and have to date not received a complaint relating to speed.
I hope this helps and that you'll receive comparisons of people using the more traditional client/server hosting model.
Hello all, I would like to know some REAL WORLD experience with solutions hosted with FileMaker Server both via the web and also via FileMaker Go.
If a solution is hosted with FM Server 12 and there are 100s or even 1000s of users accessing the system, is it bound to break or be painfully slow.
It's all about the user's network connection.
We have 100s of users accessing multiple databases on our FMP12 server based in Sydney NSW via FMP client, IWP, CWP and FMGo. We have intermittent complaints from a client who is comparatively close to our servers but a long way from the exchange. They have a bad connection. I connect remotely everyday via ADSL2 and don't even think about it. Users a further 1500km away on fatter connections can't believe how responsive the service is. We've just hosted an IWP database for a special function in Malaysia and they were completely happy with performance.
Malcom and CICT covered most things. But I will also remind you that database performance is also based on how well you design your database. Schema, relationships, stored/unstored calculations, indexed/unindexed fields, allowing large container documents, complex portals with filters/sorts, etc, all can significantly impact performance. I can make a 5 user database have poor performance. A well designed database can support hundreds of users just fine. But this is not unique to FileMaker and a poorly designed big iron SQL database can behave badly if not designed well. Many users are used to FileMaker just taking care of things in the background for you. This is great for small databases and a handful of users. But the bigger you get, the more important you understand what is going on under the hood and properly design and optimize the database and the network it is on.
One comment is that FileMaker says there are no licensing limits to numbers of users beyond 250. However, they only state that they test adequate performance based on a maximum of 250 users. I personally feel that FileMaker's sweet spot is 5-150 users. When you get a lot of users and simultaneous transactions occurring, Oracle and MS SQL Server become better solutions, albeit with much more complexity and expense. Sometimes bigger solutions work well as an integrated solution where the biggest tables and data are managed by the IT staff in MS SQL Server or Oracle and FileMaker uses Extended SQL Services to access that data. This can give the IT staff the control they want to make a very stable SQL database while giving smaller departments the flexibility of FileMaker without loosing access to the large data.