13 Replies Latest reply on Mar 22, 2016 9:51 AM by siplus

    VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced


      Hello everyone,


      Please have patience with me, this will be my first time diving into using a VPN. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.


      Currently, I have filemaker pro server and filemaker pro advanced. I would like to set up a VPN "server" and VPN "client".


      The "client" will access my LAN remotely to access my the Filemaker hosted on my local machine as he will be part of our homogeneous network.


      Now this operation only includes my LAN and two client workstations so we are not looking at a big project and my "client" does not need a VPN of himself.



      Filemaker Questions:


      My intentions are to purchase a mac mini server but as of now I need to put filemaker server on my mac workstation.


      Am I opening a can of worms by allowing a VPN "client" to access my Filemaker server on my mac workstation?


      Will it be easy transferring filemaker server from the workstation to the mac mini server?




      I am open to suggestions.


      I spoke to my Professor at my university and he threw up router configuration, IPsec, port forwarding, and firewall configuration.


      But, I understand mac has different paid VPN resources available.


      Honestly, I want to choose the most secure, excuse the pun, "route".






        • 1. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

          I seriously advise against you plans. You may be opening the door for intruders. Wait for the Mac Mini server setup.


          There is no such things as transferring FileMaker Server. Depending upon the license you purchased, if you only own a single user license, you uninstall FileMaker Server from one device

          and reinstall that same Server onto the other device.

          • 2. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

            Once I have my mac mini server what is the best method of allowing access to Filemaker server?


            Are there any services you suggest? Should I contact my ISP?

            • 3. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

              You need Apple Remote Desktop. This is a screen sharing application and will allow you to access the desktop on your Mac Mini and to FileMaker Server. You can find ARD in the app store.


              If you need remote access to the hosted files on FileMaker Server, you only need to have your user(s) use FileMaker's Open Remote. (via File>Open Remote), and your user inputs the

              IP address provided by FMS.

              • 4. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                I recommend purchasing one VPN Tracker license, it costs $ but it's so easy to setup it's well worth it. This is if you need a VPN connection. Each client will have to their own Filemaker application to connect to the server local and from wan.



                • 5. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                  Hello DChabot,


                  This looks excellent! Now, would  you happen to know if this is a yearly, monthly, or one time fee?


                  Thank you

                  • 6. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced



                    It's a onetime fee, you purchase and download the software. You also add the free upgrade

                    option for the next year. They have great manuals to configure most routers



                    • 7. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                      If you using Macs, turn on Remote Management Services and use the Screen Sharing app in the Core Services to connect to the server with a secure connection.  You don't need to spend money on ARD to accomplish what you want.  ARD is useful for managing a lot of machines and a few other things, but just allowing someone who already has admin access to make a secure connection with the Screen Share app is easier and cheaper. 


                      Remote Management Services is in System Preferences under Sharing. 


                      Screen Share app is in [hard drive name]/System/Library/CoreServices/Screen Sharing.app


                      FYI, in Yosemite, the Screen Share app is moved into a CoreServices subfolder called something like Application or Application support.  I don't know since I don't have it yet. 

                      • 8. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                        Pretty close, Taylor :-)


                        On Yosemite, Screen Sharing is in [hard drive name]/System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Screen Sharing.app


                        I'm glad you posted that, otherwise I might have had to waste some time searching for it myself.




                        • 9. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                          True, but it's nothing like the VPN Tracker where you are actually running the app just like you were local! I have Apple Remote, where I can control multiple computers and the screen sharing part is no comparison! Just my 2 cents.

                          • 10. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                            The Screen Share.app by Apple can go into full monitor mode too as if you are actually on the same machine.  Its an option available if you turn it on, but it is not on by default.  There are some features and benefits to apps like VPN Tracker and ARD, but I'm not sure they are needed in the question posted above.  Screen Share.app event handles drag and drop file transfers and screen scaling very nicely and all at not additional cost.  Screen Share does not work as well with Windows.  Needing a multiplatform solution can be a reason to look at other apps. 

                            • 11. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                              Remember, if you use you Mac workstation or a Mac Mini Server for remote desktop sharing, you will only be allowed one session, so if you intend you use your workstation, you will not be able to use it at the same time as the remote user.


                              Also, by allowing access via a VPN to you internal network, the user will have access to other resources your may not wish them to have access to. This of course will depend on how you setup your network security and what public folders you make available to all network users.


                              Depending on the size of your datbase and the bandwidth available between you and your slient, you could use port 5003, which is the port FileMaker host is broadcaast on. You can map this port through your router, but you can "hide" port 5003 by mapping another port (such as 9999) through to port 5003 on your FileMaker host machine.


                              There is a great deal more to this than meets the eye and you really need to talk to someone perhaps locally, who can explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of connection.


                              If you need multi-session connection with a narrow bandwidth, then you may be looking at the provision of a WIndows 2008 / 2012 Server with Remote Desktop Services, This Operating System is designed to provide high performance remote connectivity for muilti-user scenarios.


                              Believe me, there are so many permutations for remote access, it will depend on your security needs, database usage, database size and user counts.

                              • 12. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                                Gary has some good points. 


                                Generally on a Mac Server I try to avoid using screen sharing.  You should be able to configure FMS with the Admin Console remotely as well as configure the OS X Services with the Server.app.  Both of these configuration apps will allow changes of the server with much less bandwidth.  There are a handful of times you might need to screen share in like to change an IP.  But most things you should be able to use a configuration app.  I run into a lot of people who screen share into their server to run the FM Admin Console and that is a poor way to do things.  You should be able to configure it externally in your local browser without having to screen share. 


                                Apple has a fairly good Server for small to medium sized needs.  But it not near as robust as the Microsoft Servers.  Multi-user screen sharing is one of many features it handles much better.  Also, there are a lot more optimization tools and analysis tools it seems on Windows Servers than you can find for Mac Servers.  Or if you can find it for the Mac Server, it is in X11 and not so user friendly.  I love working on Mac Servers, but when size and bandwidth get bigger, I often move them to beefier Windows servers in the cloud in a server farm with lots of network bandwidth. 


                                As you can see there are a lot of screen sharing and configuration apps for working with your server.  My recommendation was for an inexpensive solution (Screen Share.app) that is quick and easy, but not as full featured as some of the alternatives. 

                                • 13. Re: VPN setup - Filemaker Server & Filemaker Pro Advanced

                                  If you are regular users of VPN Tracker 8, like we are, and you update to OS X 10.11.4 (just released), you can throw VPN Tracker 8 in the trash - it will not work any more and you will have to fork out dough for their VPN 365 product, which is sold with an annual fee.