1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 1, 2015 10:19 PM by crish

    Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server

    crish

      I have a Filemaker Contact database (that I just converted from NOW Contacts), and work throughout the week in two places: my office and my art studio at weekends (where I keep my laptop). They are connected via wifi in the same house. We have a Mac Server where myself and my husband keep our shared photographs and stock footage.

       

      In the past, with NOW Contacts, I would keep my Contact database on the server, and just remember to Close it when I was done getting some info or adding to it (the second computer would complain that it was "already open"). So I could add to or edit it from whatever computer I was currently working at.

       

      I also kept a local copy on each computer for "read only" use (I didn't edit or add to it), as it was faster than spinning up the server just to get a phone number etc.

       

      I'm confused about why how to set up the FM database. I was hoping I could put it on the server and even have both my Mac and laptop looking at the file at the same time and keep the files open all the time. But when I put the DB on the server, and opened it from my Mac, I get a warning that I should open it from the computer where the file resides (not possible) and then open it in "remote" mode. But since whatever machine I'm not using will be in Sleep mode, I really need to put it on the server or I will have to run back and forth waking up the other Mac!

       

      Is there a danger with putting it on the Server?

      And if not, can I turn off the warning that I get every time I open the file?!

       

      I don't understand why I can open any other file format with other programs and not get warnings like this. Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
          electon

          Possibly you're trying to open the remote file via file sharing from the Server. If so this is bad idea!

          What you need to do is have Filemaker running on the server with the file open and Network Sharing enabled for that file.

          Then connect other clients to that file via open remote dialog in a peer-to-peer manner. You can find more info here:

          Accessing a solution - Local and remote | FileMaker

          • 2. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
            techt

            What you are attempting to do is not recommended. You should never use file sharing to host a database (what you're trying to do).

             

            You have a few options. 1. copy the database to the computer you want to use, and copy the file back when done. 2. purchase an additional FMP license, install that on your server and open the file there, then share from FMP. 3. purchase a copy of FileMaker Server, install that on your server, and the host (serve) the file properly. 4. pay a FileMaker hosting service to host your file for you.

             

            I wouldn't recommend #2 as there are no backups and if someone shuts the server down (or it goes to sleep), you've just lost access. #3 or #4 would provide automated backups to keep your data secure. With #4, you'd have access to your data anywhere.

             

            Databases are different than the files created with other programs. Databases are designed to allow simultaneous access from multiple people, something files typically don't support.

             

            Hope this helps,

             

            TT

            • 3. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
              keywords

              Re: "I get a warning that I should open it from the computer where the file resides (not possible) and then open it in "remote" mode."

               

              If you are getting that warning, I suspect you are not using FMServer at all, but attempting to share using peer to peer sharing. (With peer to peer sharing the first computer to open the DB is the host, regardless of where the file actually resides, and for good reason the recommended approach is that the host should be on the same machine.) You can proceed in spite of the warning, but just be aware that there could be performance issues and potential dangers (e.g the remote computer on which lives the file that you are using is shut down either deliberately or accidentally; any user on the remote computer having no way of know that you are accessing it; a user opening the DB on that computer and becoming a guest to a remote host; etc).

               

              Far better is to buy FMServer and host the DB properly.

              • 4. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                crish

                Thanks for all the replies. I guess I wasn't clear that I am only using Filemaker Pro. Buying Filemaker Server would cost $1000+ so that's not going to happen(!). It seems FM is used by companies a bit larger than me and my laptop...

                 

                Is there a way to change the file to NOT be a shared file? That way, it would as dumb as NOW Contacts and tell me it's "already open", but at least I won't corrupt it by opening it twice.

                 

                I just realized that what I call our "server" is just a headless computer, a Mac Mini with a RAID (I never think of it as a computer, just a set of extra drives). So I installed FM Pro on the Mac Mini, opened the app across the network, and when I opened the file is say "Cannot Share File, FM Sharing turned off".  (The Mac Mini is not running the same Mac OS, not sure if that matters.)

                 

                I found this page Sharing databases on a network

                "If your computer is connected to a network, you and other Windows and OS X FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go users can use the same database file simultaneously."

                 

                Am thinking that there has to be a way to figure out some solution that doesn't cost another grand! And doesn't have me running from room to room!

                 

                I also have access to our VPS website server on Hostgator and a pretty reliable internet connection, if that is a solution.

                 

                Thanks for any clues.

                • 5. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                  crish

                  As it happens, I can't open the file twice anyway. Gives me a warning; probably because I only have one licence. So I think I'll just put the master on the server, and then copy local versions over to each computer so I grab a number or password quickly.

                   

                  worked this way for years with NOW Contact; was hoping FM was going to save a step but not if it means a lot of extra expense.

                  • 6. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                    vavo

                    Hi,

                     

                    All the answers above are correct. You don't need to buy Filemakerr Server, your regular Filemaker Pro will happily share with 5 (?) clients.

                    What that translates to for you is:

                     

                    On your mac mini (Server/ Host):

                    1. Open your database

                    2. Go to File > Sharing > Share with Filemaker ClientsScreenshot 2015-01-31 21.22.17.png

                    3. Set "Network Sharing" to on

                    Screenshot 2015-01-31 21.22.35.png

                    4. Select your file in "Currently open Files" and make sure "Network Access": on the right is set to "All users" (or the ones you want)

                    5. Confirm this and leave Filemaker and your database open. You probably want to make sure the Mac mini does not go to sleep.

                     

                    On the other computers (Clients):

                    1. Make sure you are on the same network

                    2. Select File > Open Remote

                    3. In the "view" dropdown select "Local Hosts"

                    4. Your mac mini should show up, if not enter the IP address manually in the favorites

                    5. Select your database and one it.

                     

                    Now you have a system where all the data is on the server and all the clients are always up to date, they will actually update in real time. Hope this helps!

                    • 7. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                      wimdecorte

                      In all of what Vavo describes, it is crucial that you completely disable all OS-level network sharing of the folders where the live FM file is kept.  Nobody on the network should be able to navigate the network shares and see the FM files.  The only way someone can get to the file should be through "open remote"

                       

                      There are severe disadvantages to using the kind of peer-to-peer sharing that Vavo describes:

                      1. the host machine (let's not call it server, it isn't) needs to have FMP launched with the file open.  Nobody else should be using that machine otherwise all activity on that host machine is going to affect performance for all connected guests
                      2. there is not a graceful way to do backups in the way that FMS does
                      3. there is no admin console and no way to configure schedules through that
                      • 8. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                        crish

                        Thank you Vavo for your excellent reply (with pics!). I had found those steps on the FM Help files, but unfortunately it doesn't work for someone with one license (yes, five people can connect but they each have to have a license).

                         

                        When I open the file remotely, I get an error that the maximum number of licenses is being used. So to open it on the Mac mini, then open it remotely on my Mac and my laptop, I would need 3 licenses. So I'll muddle along with my system, and just open it from the Server when I need to make changes.

                         

                        Thanks again!

                        • 9. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                          crish

                          I appreciate the info. As it happens, I can't do anything fancy with one license anyway!

                           

                          At least with the Mac Mini, it's always on, and it's rarely being used. It's just a headless storage for our shared photo libraries. Plus, my database is a simple Contact database with a few hundred entries, but I need something better than Apple Contacts.

                           

                          Thanks again.

                          • 10. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                            keywords

                            You can manage with FM installed on separate machines with one licence as long as you don't open two copies on the same network at the same time. Can you not set up remote access to your Mac Mini and use the copy of FM there?

                            • 11. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                              crish

                              Just one clarification if I may:

                              I only have one license, so trying to open the master database from two computers (or remotely) etc, doesn't work at all. (As in, no one else could open it at this point, even me, without getting an error.)

                               

                              Someone earlier mentioned that I should not open the db across a network, but instead, I should copy it to my local drive, update it, and put it back on the server.


                              Do I really risk corruption by simply opening the master db across the network?  Or is it that there could be a problem if the Mac Mini drive winds down? Or my husband opens some photos at the same time and the hard drive is busy?


                              (I'm not worried about backups, as the Mac Mini has Time Machine backing it up, and I would have local copies on two other machines.)


                              Thanks again.

                              • 12. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                                keywords

                                If you are able to access your Mac Mini remotely, as raised in my recent post, you do not use FM sharing, nor do you need a copy of FM on your remote machine. You just access the Mini and use the already running copy of FM on that machine.

                                • 13. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                                  crish

                                  "You can manage with FM installed on separate machines with one licence as long as you don't open two copies on the same network at the same time. Can you not set up remote access to your Mac Mini and use the copy of FM there?"


                                  I can open the headless Mac Mini "server" and click Share Screen, and open the FM installed on the Mac Mini, and then the master file that is there.


                                  Are you saying this is "safer" than just double-clicking it on the Mac Mini across the network?


                                  I can open FM on both the Mac Mini and my Mac without it complaining that two copies of the app are open. I just can't log in remotely to the same file (as detailed above by Vavo).

                                  • 14. Re: Confused about opening DB from my Mac Server
                                    crish

                                    Thanks! Believe it or not, I didn't realize this was possible until just now as I never used the "Share Screen" feature before. But hubbie just showed me how he manages it.  It's a bit clunky, but definately worth a shot! Thanks.

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