10 Replies Latest reply on Jun 14, 2013 7:58 PM by LyndsayHowarth

    Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?

    DEC

      Hi there!

       

      I'm planning to lease a Mac Mini and load OSX server onto it for the purpose of creating a remote file server for my home/mobile office. The file-sharing will be limited largely to myself; I plan to occasionally grant limited access to my clients, who will log in from time to time to access my work product. The files are largely comprised of Word docs and scanned pdf documents. I'm the only one who will be dipping into it every day.

       

      The Filemaker Server is for no one to use but myself (strictly as a testing environment for the various databases I develop).

       

      I'm not going to serve web pages, email, or anything else from this server; all the other OSX Server functions will be shut off. I hope to have Time Machine backing up the various files to an external drive, but I'll be careful to program it to bypass backing up Filemaker and its files, and will use Filemaker Server's scheduled backups for that.

       

      I understand that Filemaker Server prefers to be on its own machine, but do you think it'd be permissible for me to have the server perform both of these functions with no material drawbacks? It's got plenty of hard drive space, and 12 gigs of RAM.

       

      Thank you!

       

      J

        • 1. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
          LyndsayHowarth

          I have 2 machines configured with both FMS and OSX Server. for the limited use you have for the server I don't think you will have any issues (after you get FMS installed and configured)

           

          - Lyndsay

          • 2. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
            sporobolus

            on 2013-06-12 18:28 DEC wrote

            I understand that Filemaker Server prefers to be on its own machine, but do you think it'd be permissible for me to have the server perform both of these functions with no material drawbacks?  It's got plenty of hard drive space, and 12 gigs of RAM.

             

            i have done this for years on plain old OS X client (currently 10.7.5); for

            managing external access i think OS X Server would be good; my server at the

            moment is a dual i5 Mini; it hosts:

             

            FMS

            iTunes library (audio & video served to several home devices)

            file server with a small farm of external drives

            ScanSnap scanner

            Airprint

            Dropbox

            Screen Sharing

            built-in webserver (LAN only)

             

            and i've had no complications

             

            previously i used an old Mac laptop; laptops are nice because they have a

            built-in UPS

            • 3. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
              RonSmithMD

              We only use OS X server on our machines and ou client hosts.

               

              Sent from my iPad

              • 4. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                taylorsharpe

                The MC OS X Server is a full Unix certified server (unlike others like IBM's Linux that are not certified).  It can handle many services all at the same time.  FileMaker Server prefers a Mac OS X Server over the regular Mac OS X client because the Server version has the additional services ready to configure (e.g., Apache, PHP, Tomcat, DNS, etc.).  FileMaker Server is a Service designed to run on a Server.  Servers are more optimized to run Services than Applications and why best practices are to only run services on production servers and no applications.  Server grade processors like Xeon cpus have been better optimized for services and that is why the Mac Mini Server comes with an i7 processor. 

                 

                I have run numerous small business servers with FileMaker Server, web services, email and File Sharing very successfully when the Mac Mini is combined with a fast hard drive (I prefer the Pegasus Thunderbolt RAIDs).  I have successfully done this with offices with up to about 30 simultaneous users.  However, all services will tell you that they run best dedicated to a server with no other services.  Ideally you get a server for FileMaker Server, one for Web Services, one for Email, etc, etc.  But that is not practical for development machines and small businesses because it is too expensive and not necessary.  OS's designed as servers can handle multiple services just fine.  If you want to push a Mac Mini with more than say 30 FileMaker users, I would not want to run other services on the same server.  Nothing is black and white and often you have to test the performance. A poorly designed database can perform horribly with just a single useer on the most poweful server.  But a well designed database should be able to support many users even on a small server like a Mac Mini. 

                 

                Your 12 Gigs of RAM is good (but unbalanced).  The internetal drives on a Mac Mini a very generic consumer grade 2.5" spinning drives.  They are your weakest link.  If this is just a development machine and you have good backups, it will work.  Using a fast external RAID will increase performance a lot because databases really prefer fast hard drives.  The speed of your drive can often be more of a factor than the cpu in database performance. 

                • 5. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                  DEC

                  Thanks for your help, everyone; much appreciated!!

                   

                  That's great info regarding the hard drive, Taylor...  For a small additional charge, I can get the drive on the Mac Mini upgraded to the Samsung 840 series SSD; in that instance, the RAM will also be upgraded to a balanced 16 gigs.  Assuming the 840 performs well (it seems to get decent ratings among the budget SSDs?), I'm thinking the additional charge might be worth it, as the alternative is to go through the pain of swapping everything after the server is set up.

                   

                  Again, thanks for your help everyone!

                  • 6. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                    sporobolus

                    on 2013-06-13 5:49 taylorsharpe wrote

                    The MC OS X Server is a full Unix certified server (unlike others like IBM's Linux that are not certified).  It can handle many services all at the same time.  FileMaker Server prefers a Mac OS X Server over the regular Mac OS X client because the Server version has the additional services ready to configure (e.g., Apache, PHP, Tomcat, DNS, etc.).  FileMaker Server is a Service designed to run on a Server.  Servers are more optimized to run Services than Applications and why best practices are to only run services on production servers and no applications.  Server grade processors like Xeon cpus have been better optimized for services and that is why the Mac Mini Server comes with an i7 processor.

                     

                    this seems to be a response to my incidental statement that i run FMS on OS X

                    client, along with other services; note that i suggested OS X Server would

                    benefit the OP (it would ease configuring the external-facing services); the

                    main question the OP was asking seemed to concern the running of multiple

                    services in a light duty situation; i only mentioned OS X client because it

                    shows FMS runs fine in an even more "casual" environment, with many shared

                    services, when the load is light

                     

                    OS X Server is good, but there's nothing magical about it; all of the services

                    are already there, OS X Server just adds more of an admin interface and changes

                    the configuration a bit; the fact is, OS X client out of the box is a

                    surprisingly powerful server and not a huge compromise for running FMS

                     

                    some specific points in case someone takes your post and runs with it:

                     

                    • OS X Server does not include Tomcat (starting with 10.7)

                    • OS X client & OS X Server both include PHP, but not a version that FMS

                    supports, so FMS installs and uses its own supported version

                    • OS X client includes Apache & BIND (DNS)

                    • OS X client & OS X Server are both UNIX certified and fully POSIX-compliant

                     

                    • 7. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                      taylorsharpe

                      The Client has the underlying services that Mac OS X Server does, but they are not setup and there is not a configuration tool to manage them.  If you are good as a Unix administrator, then that should not be a problem.  But few people in the FileMaker target audience are Unix administrators.  Years ago to get the upgrade to the server version of the Mac cost $1000 and that gave you financial incentive to configure it manually in Terminal.  Now it costs $30.  Since there are so many things I like about the server version such as managing ACL's, I don't run client machines anymore.  $30 is just so inexpensive, it is hard to see not using it for a server situation.  One thing that is really nice is that, true to the nature of many Unix servers, there is no set license limit on number of network users than can connect to the server like with all of the Microsoft Servers.  You can add as many as you like, with the caveat being that at some point, the system performance lags.  But there is no financial penalty for adding more users for file sharing, emails, etc.  Granted you can add some services that do have a per user cost such as FileMaker server.  But the general OS supported services have no per user cost and that is pretty slick when you think what it costs to run a Windows server with a lot of connections.  Additionall, I will point out that users that want to install FileMaker server on a client version of the Mac OS should not expect Instant Web Publishing to work without a lot of manual configuration in terminal.  If you have the server version of the Mac OS, all you have to do is turn on Apache in the Server app and run the FileMaker server install and you're good to go without any additional configuration.  Pretty slick when you think about it!

                      • 8. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                        wolfo

                        Hi there

                         

                        I have got a very similar setup as you intend to do, so maybe that helps. I've got a mac mini with mountain lion OSX server. I used to run FMS on the same machine which basically worked. However I had the problem that each time FMS would make a backup it went off and shut down. I did not manage to find the reason. So I moved the FMS on an own mac mini and now it works without problems. I therefore support the opinion to install FMS on a separate machin that is not serving files.

                         

                        Cheers, Oliver

                        • 9. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                          sporobolus

                          on 2013-06-13 20:11 taylorsharpe wrote

                          The Client has the underlying services that Mac OS X Server does, but they are not setup and there is not a configuration tool to manage them.  If you are good as a Unix administrator, then that should not be a problem.  But few people in the FileMaker target audience are Unix administrators.

                           

                          for me, the shell and config files are such tools, but OS X Server does make

                          some tasks simpler

                           

                           

                          $30 is just so inexpensive, it is hard to see not using it for a server situation.

                           

                          and i recommended Server for the OP because there was a specific reason it

                          would help him; i think you are reacting to a non-essential side point in my post

                           

                          but there can be valid incidental reasons not to run OS X Server; in my case

                          it's mainly because it would add nothing for what my server does; i'm also

                          running FMS on OS X 10.7 (a supported environment), and 10.7 server is no

                          longer available; upgrade to 10.8 you say? i would if the Mini weren't also a

                          hot spare of a tested environment for a critical (non-FMP) client; if i were in

                          a position to upgrade to 10.8, the time spent getting everything reconfigured

                          would be a more significant obstacle than the $30 …

                           

                          again, this is a light duty multi-purpose server, only accessed from one

                          laptop, a handful of iOS devices & an AppleTV, and i am a decent Unix admin;

                          using OS X client is not harmful

                          • 10. Re: Filemaker Server 12 on an OSX Server?
                            LyndsayHowarth

                            Well... I must say that configuring OSX Server 10.8 was a different 'kettle of fish' than its predecessors... But ultimately the Admin interface was the reason I moved to Apache. Since then I have learnt a lot more Unix and can do the same things now on regular server... But it did take a while :-)