1 2 Previous Next 20 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2014 12:37 PM by LSNOVER

    What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections

    Boutsy

      Hello,

       

      I want to buy new hardware so that I can host a Filemaker 13 solution with Webdirect. Since I want the possibility to have over 27 concurrent connections I know I have to invest in 2 new machines. At first I wanted to by Windows machines (4-core and 12-core). But, together with the windows server 2012 licence it would cost me about 8.000 Euros. I have always worked with windows machines, since the speed while using filemaker always seemed faster then on a MacOS machine.

      Now, I'm considering to go for an Apple sollution :

      Database server : Mac Mini Quad Core i7 (2,3 Ghz) / 8 GB DDR3 RAM / 1TB Fusion Drive / MacOS : (1.148 €)

      Web Publishing Server : Mac Pro : 12-core (2,7 Ghz) / 32 GB RAM / 512 GB PCIe-flash / MacOS : (7.749 €)

      This would give me a cost of about 9.000 Euro.

      Is this the best, fastest, most reliable configuration I could buy? Or, should I work with Windows servers?

      Do I need something else?

       

      Thank you in advance,

       

      Marc

        • 1. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
          Mike_Mitchell

          I'm not a server person per se (others on the board are and can probably give you better advice), but I can tell you you probably want to throw the heavy hardware at the database side rather than at the web side.

          • 2. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
            Boutsy

            I think yout are mistaking :

            http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-server/server-13-specifications.html

            Hardware Requirements DATABASE SERVER

            CPU: Dual Core
            RAM: 4 GB
            Hard Drive: 80 GB or more, dependent on file size, requires minimum 10 GB free space
            CPU: 4-Core
            RAM: 8 GB
            Hard Drive: 80 GB or more, dependent on file size, requires minimum 10 GB free space
            Recommended Hardware Configurations Web Publishing Server:

            FileMaker WebDirect may require a second machine to be configured as a Web Publishing Server. The number of concurrent users accessing your solution determines the server machine configuration.

            1-6Second machine is not required, install on database server
            7-168 GB4-Core
            16-2612 GB8-Core
            27-5016 GB12-Core
            • 3. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
              mikebeargie

              To answer your "Do I need something else" question. Yes, you need to thoroughly develop your solution to be optimized for webdirect. Don't think that throwing money at hardware is going to be the determining factor for how your filemaker solution performs. You can have great hardware and a poorly built solution, and it will perform poorly. Just a forewarning to make sure you are equally considering your solution as much as hardware.

              • 4. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                taylorsharpe

                As always, the size and how well developed the databases are matters a lot too because you can bring a server to its kneees with just 5 users if you really want to.  But you can also make it server hundreds of users simultaneously too if well designed. 

                 

                I installed my first Mac Pro installation this week with FileMaker Server.  It is a wonderful machine and fast.  But on individual instances, it really only had minor improvement speeds over what I was getting with a Mac Mini i7 server. 

                 

                Personally, I would try to Mac Mini Servers with maxed out RAM and SSDs and maybe a Promise Pegasus RAID before I would try a Mac Pro.  One advantage of the Mac Pro is that it is a build build of hardware than the Mac Mini, which really is a consumer designed machine.  Things like the Power Supply will be better, capable of adding much more RAM and the processors are underclocked to assure long term server performance.  But it sure costs a lot more. 

                 

                I agree with Mike that if you do buy a Mac Pro, you use it for FMS and put web services on the lesser machine (Mac Mini).  But if I were you and looking at only 27 connections, I would probably be looking at two Mac Mini's with maxed out RAM, SSDs and maybe a fast thunderbolt RAID for data. 

                 

                You may also want to look at hosting solutions too, particularly if not everyone is in the same office. 

                • 5. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                  wimdecorte

                   

                  Database server : Mac Mini Quad Core i7 (2,3 Ghz) / 8 GB DDR3 RAM / 1TB Fusion Drive / MacOS : (1.148 €)

                   

                   

                  Stay away from the fusion drive, you don't want the OS deciding where what files go.

                  I would go with more RAM for the database server and faster I/O

                   

                  And more cores too, this configuration will choke I think on the processing power (but that much depends on what users do in your solution).

                   

                  Nobody can tell whether this is the most reliable.  Too many variables there.

                   

                  Nobody is going to tell you to pick Mac over Windows or vice versa.  The best platform is the one that you are most comfortable with, can configure, maintain AND troubleshoot the easiest and the quickest.

                  • 6. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                    Boutsy

                    That, I understand, but it doesnt' answer my main question... What is de best hardare to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections?

                    My question "Do I need something else" concerns hardware.

                    Thank you anyway,

                    Marc

                    • 7. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                      datastride

                      Well, as much as I respect Wim (and that’s a lot!), I will tell you that I strongly recommend using a Windows box running a server edition OS for hosting your databases.

                       

                       

                       

                      Fewer OS related problems with a server-oriented OS, far more choices of hardware configurations that allow for matching your use patterns and upgrading components as these requirements evolve, lower cost for a given level of performance ….

                       

                       

                       

                      Now let the bashing begin!  

                       

                       

                       

                      #end

                       

                      Peace, love & brown rice,

                       

                      Morgan Jones

                       

                       

                       

                      FileMaker + Web:  Design, Develop & Deploy

                       

                      Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12

                       

                      Member: FileMaker Business Alliance

                       

                      One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>  

                       

                      Austin, Texas • USA

                       

                      512-422-0611

                      • 8. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                        taylorsharpe

                        I personally prefer the Mac Servers due to their lower profile on the virus front.  But if you want more in depth server monitoring, there are more utility monitoring applications on a Windows server. 

                         

                        If you have the budget, a Mac Pro is a much more commercial and beefier server.  And you can add much more memory which is quite useful now that FileMaker service is 64 bit.  If you want lots of growth room, I would get a Mac Pro with 32 Gigs of RAM for the FileMaker Service. 

                         

                        One real high priority for my databases is redundancy of storage in addition to speed.  I have been putting the FileMaker data on an external RAID storage.  Splitting the data and the OS onto separate volumes makes things go faster.  I personally recommend the Promise Thunderbolt RAIDs due to their fast performance (recommend RAID 10 for best database performance). 

                        • 9. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                          wimdecorte

                          Morgan Jones wrote:

                           

                          Well, as much as I respect Wim (and that’s a lot!), I will tell you that I strongly recommend using a Windows box running a server edition OS for hosting your databases.

                           

                           

                           

                          Thanks for the kind words, Morgan.  There will be no need for bashing.  I tend to prefer Windows servers myself.  I think they offer a lot more options for efficient troubleshooting and monitoring.

                          • 10. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                            datastride

                            If your databases are not HUGE, you may well find that you can buy a couple of SSDs (one for the OS and one for your databases) for less than a RAID that uses spinning disks. And the performance may well be even better. (You can stick with less expensive traditional hard drives for backup and maybe for remote containers, depending on usage patterns.)

                             

                             

                             

                            And personally, I just don’t see that Apple ever intended the Mac Pro as a server. I would look for some real-world performance comparisons of this new model vs. hardware specifically designed to be a server before acting. Yes, we all love all things Apple. But choosing the right configuration for the job is still the most important criterion.

                             

                             

                             

                            Above all, more cores ... And you can add memory as needed once you have a handle on actual usage.

                             

                             

                             

                            #end

                             

                            Peace, love & brown rice,

                             

                            Morgan Jones

                             

                             

                             

                            FileMaker + Web:  Design, Develop & Deploy

                             

                            Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12

                             

                            Member: FileMaker Business Alliance

                             

                            One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>  

                             

                            Austin, Texas • USA

                             

                            512-422-0611

                            • 11. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                              taylorsharpe

                              I agree with Morgan that you want a Server OS and if you do run a Mac OS, you get the Server version which only costs like $30 more.  I personally disagree that Windows servers at the OS level are more stable than a Unix OS.  But there are more application utilities for the Windows Servers for optimization, etc.  Most all of which can be done on Unix if you know the Unix commands, but that is why people use a Mac to keep it simple and such command line functionality is not useful. 

                               

                              As a Mac Developer, the clients that turn to me for server hardware choices are small to medium sized companies and the Mac Servers are easier to manage and run.  But easier also means less choices and variety. 

                               

                              When I work for larger clients, they usually have an IT department that has already choosen the hardware and Server OS and all I am doing is adding on the FileMaker service. 

                               

                              Many things like virtualization is readily available on Windows Servers and not Mac Servers. 

                               

                              Windows hardware has many more storage choices (RAIDs/SANs), but it sure is hard to beat a Thunderbolt connection to a fast RAID like the Pegasus and for which has very little configuration.  This is convenient in that you have a very fast solution that is easy to configure and pretty much plug and play.  But it also one of very few such Thunderbolt RAID choices available for the Mac. 

                               

                              I do not disagree with Morgan, I just say that there are office situations where a Mac is better and others where a more enterprise friendly Windows server is a better choice.  If you have a large integrated Windows server network, than the Mac is clearly out of step with the support you already have.  Maybe you have a large network SAN storage, then Windows is going to be a better choice.  Maybe you do a lot of virtualizations of servers, then Windows is a better choice.  But a small easy to manage stand alone server is a good option for many offices too and the Mac fit in those situations. 

                               

                              Knowing more about what servers and support you already have may help you make choices.  If you already have IT support that supports Windows servers and not Macs, then that is a no brainer.  But if you have little or no IT support and are going to have to run the server yourself, the Mac will be easier. 

                              • 12. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                                datastride

                                One more thought:

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                To handle a bunch of WebDirect connections, I think I might consider renting a dedicated server from a data center near your client. I’m not talking about a FileMaker hosting company, but rather renting the server hardware and OS and installing and managing the FileMaker Server software yourself.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                Five  advantages I can think of offhand:

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                1.       Choose a server configuration and you can be up and running in an hour (plus the time to install the FMS software, of course).

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                2.       Someone else has to deal with any hardware problems. You call. They fix it.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                3.       If the hardware turns out to be a poor fit, you can add memory, SSDs, etc, or you can just rent a different configuration, move everything, and cancel the first rental. Total flexibility,

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                4.       Good data centers provide VERY HIGH SPEED connections to the Internet, ensuring that this does not become a bottleneck and thus increasing response times for WebDirect users.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                5.       Plus you get great physical security, redundant backup generators, redundant connections to the Internet backbone …

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                You want to choose a data center close to the users, if possible. Your profile doesn’t indicate where you are located (and your client might be somewhere else anyway), but here’s a link to a data center we recommend in Texas for our clients in the Southwest. You can take a look at some sample configurations for dedicated severs (I’d stay away from virtual in your case) and costs to get an idea of what’s available and how much you would have to pay for a given configuration. (Note: Limestone is VERY competitive on price, so they make a good benchmark if you are negotiating with a data center closer to home.)

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                     www.limestonenetworks.com

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                #end

                                 

                                Peace, love & brown rice,

                                 

                                Morgan Jones

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                FileMaker + Web:  Design, Develop & Deploy

                                 

                                Certifications: FileMaker 9, 10, 11 & 12

                                 

                                Member: FileMaker Business Alliance

                                 

                                One Part Harmony <http://www.onepartharmony.com/>  

                                 

                                Austin, Texas • USA

                                 

                                512-422-0611

                                • 13. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                                  taylorsharpe

                                  You will note that one of the Apple marketing themes is never to tell people how to use the tools they provide and neither tells people to user the Mac Pro as a server or not.  But Apple does provide a Unix certified OS with Server app of all major OS services (web, DNS, email, file sharing, etc.) and the Mac Pro is built on the E5 processors that Intel's marketing specifically says is designed for servers in a data center. 

                                   

                                  Then again, you could argue it is not in the shape of a 1U or 2U rack and therefore is not designed as a server because its shape is not of a traditional rackmount server.  But form factor has not been a big factor for me since I have never had to support a whole rack of computers where the form factor is important. 

                                   

                                  My personal feeling is that Apple was thinking of two different target markets in the Mac Pro development:  video editng/processing and server services.  But I am not an insider and this is just a feeling. 

                                   

                                  The Thunderbolt 2 serial connection on these Mac Pros sure beats the pants off of serial connections on Windows hardware.  It is one real benefit when looking at connecting hard drives.  And since FileMaker does not support serving databases over networks, having the fastest available serial connections is a real benefit to the FileMaker service.  This is a real benefit when matched with a really capable storage device like the Pegasus 2's, outperforming most SSDs while also providing redundancy. 

                                  • 14. Re: What is the best Hardware to run FMPS 13 with over 27 concurrent connections
                                    taylorsharpe

                                    There is a post on Technet from back in January on Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) virtual dedicated servers.  Search for it for some good advice on the available servers, but be aware, you will want a beefy EC2 server for the FileMaker Service for good performance which won't be cheap (e.g., $300-400 a month). 

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