10 Replies Latest reply on May 19, 2015 3:53 PM by NickLightbody

    webdirect viable?

    malachydevlin

      I hope the title doesn't put you off but I really have a very specific set of queries.

      I haven't tested it with v14 but if webdirect is acceptable in its performance then the only reasons it wouldn't be suitable for my solution are the ones below. so I had hoped there may be some specific answers.

       

      1 - previewing and exporting to excel, I know this is one that has been mentioned 100's of times but is there a viable workaround to this one yet? can a PDF be generated via script, saved then opened?

      (I am considering using SQL reporting services for this, assuming I use a SQL back end.)

      2 - holding dialog for long running scripts, I use a dialog progress bar in fm pro and it works well. Any alternative in web direct.

      3 - lastly, has anyone see it perform well enough to replace FM pro on the desktop (considering all the best design techniques are in place).

        • 1. Re: webdirect viable?
          eric

          Your concerns can be partially addressed with Perform Script on Server.

          Also version 14 is reportedly much improved.

          1. There's no previewing, and I don't think view as table works on WebDirect even in 14. I get around the other export limitations with Perform Script on Server and e-mailing the output to the user.
          2. You'd have to experiment with this one. If it's going to be a very long wait, I just notify or send results by e-mail.
          3. I found version 13 WebDirect kind of clunky, but usable. The performance of 14 is reportedly much better than the "25%" FMI is advertising.
          • 2. Re: webdirect viable?
            NickLightbody

            I have done extensive testing on FMS14 in general and have done some more limited research on WebDirect 14.

             

            You will remember that FMI recommended 256mb RAM on server per WD13 user session. Based on my analysis, which accords with what I believe that FMI expects, each WD user session now requires about 32mb RAM, thus 30 users per GB of spare RAM on Server.

             

            It is very important to think of Server RAM split in two, the part allocated to FMS cache and the rest. The rest is then split several ways, first the OS requires enough, then File Maker server needs sufficient for its services and then you need to add WebDirect's requirements on top of that.

             

            I attach a screen shot of the key FMS stats and the machine's activity monitor for a recent load test. You will see that FMS services and two java processes called by FMS are 5 of the 6 processes using the most memory. This has 16 WebDirect users logged on and active on the server, which is about 200 miles distant from my office.

             

            This is on a  machine with 8GB RAM and FMS Cache set to 1GB. It is very important NOT to set your FMS cache TOO big. Performance may reduce with a larger cache setting because key processes re being starved of RAM. One can commonly improve performance by reducing cache.

             

            Generally our clients seem very pleased with WD14 performance on mobile devices over WAN, it is generally significantly faster than FMGo, which is logical as it is not a remote client hence network traffic is far far smaller.

             

            So yes, in my view WedDirect is entirely viable, but you do need to design your system for it and not expect that old legacy highly inefficient LAN system to run fast over WAN on anything, because it won't.

             

            I would be interested to hear what results you get with what settings both hardware and the FMS cache setting.

             

            Cheers, Nick

            • 3. Re: webdirect viable?
              eric

              It is very important NOT to set your FMS cache TOO big. Performance may reduce with a larger cache setting because key processes re being starved of RAM. One can commonly improve performance by reducing cache.

               

              This should not be an issue on a two-server configuration, correct?

              • 4. Re: webdirect viable?
                DavidJondreau

                Printing with a robot machine:

                 

                Proper Printing in WebDirect [Updated]

                • 5. Re: webdirect viable?
                  NickLightbody

                  I haven't tested two machine configs yet. Anywhere FMS Cache is set it is restricting the RAM available for everything else. On a 2 machine setup, if the cache is too big on the server box that will restrict performance, which would I guess feed on the Web box?

                   

                  Suggest you try it and see and tell us all what you observe?

                   

                  Cheers, Nick

                  • 6. Re: webdirect viable?
                    intex

                    We do all the printing and much of the exporting by generating HTML files. They can be much better printed than one might think. And Excel can import HTML tables.

                    • 7. Re: webdirect viable?
                      wimdecorte

                      eric wrote:

                       

                      It is very important NOT to set your FMS cache TOO big. Performance may reduce with a larger cache setting because key processes re being starved of RAM. One can commonly improve performance by reducing cache.

                       

                      This should not be an issue on a two-server configuration, correct?

                       

                      Even on a 2-machine server, don't set your FMS cache too high.  There is some evidence that it adversely affects performance.  Do some monitoring of your FMS stats and set the cache to where it needs to, not higher, not lower.

                      • 8. Re: webdirect viable?
                        eric

                        What a pain! I figured the reason it limited us to only half the available RAM was to account for such things, and if it's not that simple, then how hard would it be for FileMaker server to calculate the optimal setting for us?

                        Also, is there an update to this guide that would be less misleading?

                        FileMaker Server 12 Configuration Guide

                        A common misconception regarding caching is that one can tune the cache for best performance by reducing the cache size to some optimal number. In reality, setting the cache to the maximum makes that amount available to FileMaker Server when it needs it. In low usage situations the cache is unused. There is no performance loss associated with a large cache setting, especially when compared to the performance loss associated with too small a setting.


                        Another misconception is that higher cache settings lead to a higher risk of data corruption. Even though the cache size can be quite large, especially with FileMaker Server’s support of 64-bit systems, the only data in cache that is at risk is unsaved data. This portion of cache consists of changes to data that have yet to be written to disk. The two major factors that affect the amount of unsaved data are the frequency and size of data changes and the speed of the disk subsystem. FileMaker tracks all changed blocks in the cache and writes changes to disk once every second. If the disk subsystem cannot keep up with the amount of changed data, then consider using faster hard drives or a faster RAID system. The amount of unsaved cache can be monitored in FileMaker Server’s Statistics as “Unsaved Cache %”. More information on Statistics can be found later in this section.

                        • 9. Re: webdirect viable?
                          wimdecorte

                          eric wrote:

                           

                          how hard would it be for FileMaker server to calculate the optimal setting for us?

                           

                           

                          I don't think it could.  It's a product of too many variables including your design and the user load...

                           

                          eric wrote:

                           

                          Also, is there an update to this guide that would be less misleading?

                          FileMaker Server 12 Configuration Guide

                          A common misconception regarding caching is that one can tune the cache for best performance by reducing the cache size to some optimal number

                           

                          The guide was written from the point-of-view of the engineers I think and how they intend the feature to work.  In real-life we've had a number of situations where reducing the cache size resulted in a more stable deployment.

                          • 10. Re: webdirect viable?
                            NickLightbody

                            And bear in mind that 12 is pre Web Direct?