1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2015 3:39 PM by jwmickelson

    Standby server experiences?

    johnnyb

      What have been some of your experiences with the new standby server facility?

       

      I'm developing a disaster readiness proposal, and I'm trying to get a sense of what so far is working well and what should be avoided.

       

      In particular, I'm interested in how well the standby server feature might work over a WAN link (if at all), mainly in terms of bandwidth. I gather it's using something like its progressive backups mechanism; would the bandwidth requirements be comparable?

        • 1. Re: Standby server experiences?
          AlanStirling

          Hi Johnny

           

          Having attended Wim Decorte's excellent presentation regarding Standby Server at the recent DevCon in Las Vegas, I can now warn you that Standby Server is unlikely to be flexible enough to be of help in your situation.

           

          Specifically, the two server machines MUST be on the same subnet - there is no WAN option. You may be able to find further details of Wim's presentation, called 'Mind if I Change the Server?' On the Internet. I understand that this feature is also described in the help file for FileMaker Server 14.

           

          Sorry to bring you bad news, but it is better to find out now than find your plans fail later once you are committed.

           

          Best wishes - Alan Stirling, London UK.

          • 2. Re: Standby server experiences?
            johnnyb

            What is the nature of the subnet restriction? Do the servers discover one another via Bonjour, or some other multicast, or what?

            • 3. Re: Standby server experiences?
              wimdecorte

              Not sure what the exact requirements are in that area, but regardless; I'd be very weary about trying to do this over a WAN connection:

               

              - the mechanism does work off the progressive backups and that does require a short pause at the tail end of it.  A WAN connection is going to prolong that and may affect the users

              - the longer the path the bigger the changes of things not arriving in good order.  Kinda defeats the DR purpose a bit.

               

              You may be better served with an approach where:

              - the FMS box runs an OS-level script to grab the most recent progressive and puts it on a RAM disk (fast, minimal impact on the normal FMS usage)

              - the remote box that from the RAM disk

              • 4. Re: Standby server experiences?
                steveromig

                John Burwell wrote:

                 

                What have been some of your experiences with the new standby server facility?

                 

                I'm developing a disaster readiness proposal, and I'm trying to get a sense of what so far is working well and what should be avoided.

                 

                In particular, I'm interested in how well the standby server feature might work over a WAN link (if at all), mainly in terms of bandwidth. I gather it's using something like its progressive backups mechanism; would the bandwidth requirements be comparable?

                 

                Like many on this thread have mentioned, using a Standby Server over a WAN is not recommended.

                 

                Check out the dos and don'ts when it comes to using the Standby Server in Chapter 9 of the FileMaker Server Getting Started Guide.  You can see it here...

                 

                https://fmhelp.filemaker.com/docs/14/en/fms14_getting_started.pdf

                 

                Steve Romig

                FileMaker, Inc.

                • 5. Re: Standby server experiences?
                  johnnyb

                  No sense of adventure, eh?

                   

                  But all right. While I will plan on making use of standby server, it sounds like it's not designed with WAN in mind, so I will not pursue that in production. I'll keep primary and standby at the same site.

                   

                  From the notes, it looks like the standby server can disappear for a while without disrupting the primary server. Is that right? If that's the case, then I should be able to pause or shutdown the standby server for offsite replication, then resume it and have it pick back up where it left off, no?

                  • 6. Re: Standby server experiences?
                    wimdecorte

                    johnnyb wrote:

                     

                    No sense of adventure, eh?

                     

                    Adventure and DR procedures in the same sentence?  I think not

                     

                    johnnyb wrote:

                    te.

                     

                    From the notes, it looks like the standby server can disappear for a while without disrupting the primary server. Is that right?

                     

                    Yes it is.

                     

                    johnnyb wrote:

                    If that's the case, then I should be able to pause or shutdown the standby server for offsite replication, then resume it and have it pick back up where it left off, no?

                     

                    Not sure what you have in mind with pausing or shutdown.  The Standby server has the files closed at all times.  FMS on the standby server applies the same change logs to the files like it does for the progressive backups.  So there is still the possibility that you'll do something to that process that can be bad.

                     

                    You could OS-level snapshot the standby server but you'd have to do it in the non-active progressive backup interval:

                    - which you can only get from the Primary server

                    - and which timing is unpredictable because unlike a regular backup schedule, progressive backups start ticking when the db engine starts, so the exact timing would depend on when the db engine start last was...

                     

                    Can all be scripted of course but it's a bit of work.

                    • 7. Re: Standby server experiences?
                      johnnyb

                      Then I guess I'd need to shut down the standby server completely before sending an incremental snapshot of the VM image from the main host to the offsite host and then restarting the standby server on the main host. I suppose there's no good in pausing anything.

                      • 8. Re: Standby server experiences?
                        Markus Schneider

                        should not be a problem - since the files on the stand-by server are closed according to Wim's answer. From the principle of the 'stand-by', the stand-by server has to be up during the times the main server is running, IMHO

                        • 9. Re: Standby server experiences?
                          CarstenLevin

                          Hi Johnny,

                           

                          We have tested a lot, but so far have not had a business case with a customer where we could set up a Stand By Server, but one day we will have.

                           

                          But so far we do have one important question/problem holding us back:

                           

                          Be aware that, if I did not get everything wrong, that external folder for external storage will not be included in the sync to the standby server.

                           

                          Best regards

                           

                          Carsten

                          • 10. Re: Standby server experiences?
                            wimdecorte

                            Markus Schneider wrote:

                             

                            should not be a problem - since the files on the stand-by server are closed according to Wim's answer. From the principle of the 'stand-by', the stand-by server has to be up during the times the main server is running, IMHO

                            I'm not sure it is ok.  FMS on the Standby server still has to manipulate the files at the end of the progressive backup interval when it receives the change logs from the Primary.  While the files are closed (not hosted) and FMS' db engine is not running the files still have to be updated.  I would not want a snapshot to take the files at the moment that FMS is updating them...

                            • 11. Re: Standby server experiences?
                              wimdecorte

                              Carsten Levin wrote:

                               

                               

                              But so far we do have one important question/problem holding us back:

                               

                              Be aware that, if I did not get everything wrong, that external folder for external storage will not be included in the sync to the standby server.

                               

                               

                               

                              Can you expand, Carsten?

                               

                              As part of the normal FMS setup, when you use an additional folder you can choose to not have the storage folder backed up.  That applies to regular backups and progressive backups, and because of that by extension to the Primary-to-Standby syncing.

                              But you have to explicitly turn that on.

                               

                              The normal scenario is that the RC folder does get backed up and synced.

                              • 12. Re: Standby server experiences?
                                CarstenLevin

                                Hi Wim,

                                 

                                I attended a FileMaker seminar in Amsterdam where we where told that the external storage files was not included in the sync. Are you sure that they are taken with to the Stand By server if they are not specific excluded?

                                 

                                Best regards

                                 

                                Carsten

                                • 13. Re: Standby server experiences?
                                  wimdecorte

                                  That's right.  RC data is included unless you explicitly configured FMS to exclude it from the backups.

                                  • 14. Re: Standby server experiences?
                                    electon

                                    A bit off topic but...

                                    Was this the same one we were told you need a separate license for standby server?

                                     

                                    Otherwise I'd love to know where to subscribe for seminars happening in the Nederlands.

                                    1 2 Previous Next