14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 28, 2015 10:29 AM by user19174

    Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question

    user19174

      My hardware/network guy is in the process of getting me setup with a new server and has asked a question that I am clueless about.  Hopefully the collective wisdom here can provide some guidance.  Here is the question:

       

      Please confirm that FileMaker performs better with more threads at a lower clock speed (2.2GHz) or less threads and a higher clock speed (2.8GHz). There is also the option to go to 12 threads at 2.5GHz.

       

      1. 12 threads: Intel® Xeon® E5-2420 v2 2.20GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo, 6C, 80W, Max Mem 1600MHz
      2. 8 threads: Intel® Xeon® E5-1410 v2 2.80GHz, 10M Cache, Turbo, 4C, 80W, Max Mem 1333MHz
      3. 12 threads: Intel® Xeon® E5-2430 v2 2.50GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo, 6C, 80W, Max Mem 1600MHz

       

      Any insight on this?  The server will be Windows server 2012 with 48gb RAM running 2 virtual servers - 1 dedicated to filemaker and the other as our file server for everything else.

       

      Cheers,

      JJ

        • 1. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
          mikebeargie

          What are the details of your FileMaker environment? Users? DB size? traffic expectation? I'm willing to bet you're probably not going to see much of a difference between any of the options listed.

           

          More cores vs. more speed is almost always better in database server applications, so I'd go with option 1 or 3. FMS is multi-thread capable, but it does not split the processes across cores. More cores = more performance capacity as a result.

           

          More important than good hardware (in my experience, almost always), is good filemaker development. A well developed file will always perform better regardless of the driving hardware.

          • 2. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
            user19174

            The DB is around 30 tables with up to 200k records - file size is 1gb.

            99% of access is LAN from FMP desktops.

            Max concurrent users at this time is 10.

            The system is a point of sale/inventory management system for a single location retail store.

             

            I hear you about the design part.  This was my first big system and as it now sits uses a lot of calculations and summary fields.  Worked well enough at the beginning, but as the data grew started getting slower and slower.

             

            I am currently planning v2 of our solution and am planning to use much more stored numbers that are updated via script trigger instead of all the various calculations we have been using to date. 

            • 3. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
              justinc

              Probably more critical than the processor selection is to install a fast SSD drive to host your files on.  Get the cheaper CPU option and go with a faster disk.

              • 4. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                wimdecorte

                Don't agree on this.  Of the 4 typical bottlenecks (processing power / memory / disk i/o /  network throughput ), the two most critical ones are disk i/o and processing power.  Traditionally disk i/o has been singled out as the most important one but with more and more tasks being sent to FMS processing power is quickly taking over.  In the last two years I've been rectifying more deployments on processing power alone than on disk i/o

                • 5. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                  wimdecorte

                  John Atkinson wrote:

                   

                   

                   

                  Please confirm that FileMaker performs better with more threads at a lower clock speed (2.2GHz) or less threads and a higher clock speed (2.8GHz).

                   

                  That is hard to answer without seeing the current performance baseline and reviewing the design of the database.

                   

                  In general I would go for more cores (threads) even it means less speed per processor.  FMS is multi-threaded so the more cores it has to work with the more work it can do at the same time.  Ideally of course I would go for max cores at max speed.  So based on your current baseline you have to decide where your bottlenecks are.

                  • 6. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                    justinc

                    With PSOS now available to us out of the box, I can see how the load might get shifted to the CPU.  I would assume that the new processor is a large step up from the old one, so hopefully gains will be made there regardless.

                     

                    But if you are moving from a spinning disk environment wouldn't an SSD and the least expensive CPU in this scenario still be a better gain than a spinning disk with the most expensive CPU?  (Of course, without benchmarking the four different setups it would be hard to say for certain.)

                     

                    Of course, what's the cost difference here in the CPUs?  I would guess it isn't much.  (If you have an IT guy, you probably have the budget for a hundred dollars here or there.     A quick check of these two processors, on the open market anyway, as only $140 difference.)  If the question isn't at all about cost, then just get the most threads at the fastest speeds, along with an SSD, and you have it all covered.

                     

                    Front side bus for the memory is also higher on the slower 12-core processors, too.  That's always a bonus.

                     

                    --  Justin

                    • 7. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                      wimdecorte

                      justinc wrote:

                       

                      With PSOS now available to us out of the box, I can see how the load might get shifted to the CPU.  I would assume that the new processor is a large step up from the old one, so hopefully gains will be made there regardless.

                       

                      But if you are moving from a spinning disk environment wouldn't an SSD and the least expensive CPU in this scenario still be a better gain than a spinning disk with the most expensive CPU?

                       

                      Not necessarily.  You can't make blanket statements like that without knowing what the performance bottlenecks are in the first place.  No use throwing money at disk i/o when you need more processing power.  And no use wasting money on CPUs when you are starved for disk performance.

                       

                      Measure what is hurting then tackle that.  All the tools are there to get a good baseline for what each of the four potential bottlenecks are doing.  THEN make a decision.  If you are not measuring then you're just guessing.

                      • 9. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                        mikebeargie

                        That will make a far greater impact on your performance than any difference between the three specs you outlined. For instance, if the majority of your 200k records assumably are not changing, then why bother redoing calcs and summaries in realtime? Your amount of data (tables, records, size) doesn't seem more than a basic database with maybe a few extra records.

                         

                        I would focus a lot more on optimizing your database to remove realtime summaries and calculations than worrying about hardware. Take the basic suggestions here (more cores vs. higher clock) back to the IT guy to get him started, and get that V2 rev out as soon as you can.

                        • 10. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                          gdurniak

                          We went thru this

                           

                          At some point, FileMaker just hits a wall, and more hardware makes little difference

                           

                          Calculations and Summaries are killers, especially if they use Related Data, or un-stored values

                           

                          Keep in mind that FileMaker can not crunch numbers. Period. A SQL Database is exponentially faster ( try it ). We ended up using both

                           

                          greg

                           

                          > The DB is around 30 tables with up to 200k records - file size is 1gb.

                          99% of access is LAN from FMP desktops.

                          Max concurrent users at this time is 10.

                           

                          > This was my first big system and as it now sits uses a lot of calculations and summary fields.  Worked well enough at the beginning, but as the data grew started getting slower and slower.

                          • 11. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                            wimdecorte

                            John Atkinson wrote:

                             

                            I am currently planning v2 of our solution and am planning to use much more stored numbers that are updated via script trigger instead of all the various calculations we have been using to date.

                             

                            One more note of caution here: not everything needs to be a script trigger.  Make sure you have a solid understanding of the exact sequence in which triggers fire and makes them trigger.

                            Script Triggers in FileMaker 13

                             

                            More of than not you can have a scripted workflow that sets the totals and summaries without having to rely on triggered events.

                            Also investigate the Transactional model to keep relevant groups of totals and summaries in sync (they all update or none does)

                            http://www.modularfilemaker.org/module/transactions/

                            • 12. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                              wimdecorte

                              gdurniak wrote:

                               

                              We went thru this

                               

                              At some point, FileMaker just hits a wall, and more hardware makes little difference

                               

                               

                              No doubt. So does everything else.  BUT with just 200k records and 10 concurrent users, that point is very very very far off.  I've seen well-designed FM solutions with close to 200 concurrent users and millions of records that can still get a new lease on life with updated hardware

                              • 13. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                                gdurniak

                                Not so far off. He sees the "problem" even now  :-)

                                 

                                greg

                                 

                                > with just 200k records and 10 concurrent users, that point is very very very far off

                                • 14. Re: Setting up a new server for FMS13 - specs question
                                  user19174

                                  Thanks for all the input.  I will get the more cores option, fast disks were already specified.

                                   

                                  Now it is up to me to rework the system to make sure it runs efficiently.  I suspect I may check back if I hit any roadblocks.

                                   

                                  Cheers,

                                  JJ