2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 19, 2013 3:03 PM by worldcloud

    What's WebDirect and/or FileMaker Go worth on an 'hourly basis'? Feedback needed...


      We have been offering ‘free’ FileMaker Server 13 hosting for the past several weeks, not to mention we have built several tools to parse FileMaker Usage logs and both WebDirect and FileMaker Go users do not spend ‘hours’ per session the way many users may in FileMaker Pro. We have had over 400 users connect to that server with over 15 solutions on it and we have yet to see more than eight concurrent Go/WebDirect users.


      This is a ‘truly free’ server for anyone to test with in December, so the cost is not the issue. If this type of use remains typical, then the ‘real-world’ cost of WebDirect is not nearly as crazy as people are fearing. The fact is that every solution is different, but we are a hosting provider we ‘have to’ determine ‘averages’ over a large number of solutions.


      As of the first of the year, we are releasing ‘Pay as you Go’ pricing and our initial math tells us that we can charge as little as the following:


      $.03/hr for WebDirect

      $.02/hr for FileMaker Go (less hardware)

      $.01/hr for FileMaker Pro/ Pro Advanced (less expensive licensing)



      We are considering a number of different options, and we are looking for feedback on what the FileMaker community feels WebDirect, Go, and/or Pro access should cost on an hourly basis- pay as you go, pay for what you use, metered access...


      It is easier to have this discussion now, than trying to adjust plans aftervalue for FileMaker services is compared to the cost of licensing, hardware resources, and bandwidth.


      In an al la carte model what is your feeling about the following types of charges:


      • Production HD space, per GB per month- separate rates for SSD or SAS
      • Backup drives are typically slower, cheaper drives; but there is bandwidth invovled
      • Per Session fees- allows for us to still make money with sync and other 'quick access' solutions
      • Per hour that the Server has your files open- closed files don't cost you


      Our feeling is that 'lower use' solutions or 'sporadic use' solutions will benefit from utility pricing; however some users will find 'traditional' plans to be a better value. We will continue to offer both...


      Thoughts? Comments? Ideas?

        • 1. Re: What's WebDirect and/or FileMaker Go worth on an 'hourly basis'? Feedback needed...

          I find your outlined pricing to be unreasonably reasonable. Are you sure your math is right?


          With regards to the other stuff...

          -I don't know much about drive types. My db size is generally small enough (< 1 GB) to not matter. Except...

          -Unless I'm storing images. I never moved from SuperContainer to External Containers. I don't think they can be on a separate drive right? But SC file storage can also be on the cheaper drives, though. Foxtail charges $1 per GB (per month) for SC storage which I find very reasonable. I Could you explain how bandwidth costs you? Or is it just another profit avenue (no judgement here)? I've gotten burned a couple times when uploading or downloading a set of stored files or some other  unusual bandwidth activity (not with you) and I just don't understand why a 10 GB transfer costs $20.

          -Not much of an opnion on Session Fees. It's not my model. I have a mix of "always on" and CWP and each CWP request would be a session, right? How would FM Go fmreauthenticate re-connects work in a session model?

          -I don't see a per hour "open file" model being worthwhile. Do people close their files? I never do, intentionally.


          I really like that you're exploring options. It seems a good role for a hosting company, to find the middle ground between FMI and actual users. Good luck.

          • 2. Re: What's WebDirect and/or FileMaker Go worth on an 'hourly basis'? Feedback needed...

            The prices above are for 'client access'. Our current plans is to charge separately for 'hosting services', so drive space/ number of files/ etc would all be metered. We aggree that bandwidth is a bad way to meter FileMaker. Our experaince is that most solutions are not bandwidth heavy- it's the initial loads and the backups. Since backups are typically late at night the bandwidth honestly that expensive at the datacenter level.


            Session Fees

            Session fees seem to be a reasonable way for us to address 'quick-use' and/or sync solutions. If a user syncs twice a day and it takes 30 seconds, then there is no money in hositng. If we 'ditch' session fees, then we would have to raise hourly rates and/or we are considering 'tiered plans' so that low-volume users pay more than those who are logged on all day, everyday; however, that added complexity to the billing system and you couldn't detemine what a session costs until the end of the month- we like users being able to have a 'running total'- this concept is not so different to Amazon Cloud Services or Azure.


            Opening/ Closing Files

            The reason we are looking at open file pricing is that our portal would allow you to schedule your database access, so if your database supports a 9 to 5 business and is never needed after hours, then it could be scheduled to be 'shut down'. We have also found that developers like to have several versions of the file hosted at the same time- often with only one file being open at a time. If makes sense that the 'old version' that's not being used cost less than the 'real' file.



            Big Picture


            I'm not permitted to quote FBA pricing here, but we'll say that WebDirect is less than $50 per user per year. If we double that number for 'hardware resources' then that's only $100/user/year as rough cost. If we figure 20% profit margin, and a 60% utilization of licensing; then these numbers seems plausible and we feel very reasonable. We are not factoring in vmWare or Microsoft licensing costs, as those costs are already factored into the 'server hosting' and should be repeated in a 'client service'. Heavy users will end up paying more as they will likely use more hard drive space and other services.


            Our goal is not to 'get rich' from any client, but instead provide good, solid hosting for a fair price. Like everyone on this site, we are trying to figure 'real costs' of this new pricing and trying to see if we can come up with pricing that makes sense. Many people are very upset with FileMaker, Inc. right now; but as factor out these numbers it appears that this prcing seems to be 'workable' and dare I say 'reasonable'.


            With all the hate going around, we wanted to get other opinions.