If you are not using FileMaker Pro on its own, using FileMaker Server is usually the next step. It has always been an integral part of the platform, and that is more the case now than ever.
There are also very good reasons you would want a dedicated FileMaker Server to leverage the FileMaker platform to get the most out of it. Server Scheduled scripts, perform script on server functionality, Web Direct and connection access licensing all have an impact on a FileMaker Server. If you want complete control over all these variables, it is best to have your own dedicated server.
Recently, FileMaker has updated their FAQ for commercial hosting. You can read the entire FAQ here:
There are several notable takeaways, here are a few excerpts:
“If I use FileMaker Server for commercial hosting, can I support multiple customers at a time using a single license of FileMaker Server?”
“FileMaker strongly recommends that hosting companies do not support multiple customers at a time using a single license of FileMaker Server. In future versions released after FileMaker Server 14, the FileMaker Server End User License Agreement (EULA) will require commercial hosting providers to acquire a dedicated license for each customer, so please plan accordingly.”
That means, in upcoming versions, to use FileMaker Server, you will need a license for it instead of using the license of a hosting provider. It is also not recommended in the current version, 14. This is further reinforced with the next bit.
“Can I license FileMaker Pro in my name for commercial hosting for my end customers?”
“No. FileMaker Pro needs to be licensed by end user customers who use the FileMaker Pro software. FileMaker Pro licenses prohibit the transfer of the licenses without FileMaker’s consent.”
While the product named is Pro and not Server, the license should be obtained directly from FileMaker. There is good reasons for doing so, including eligibility for future upgrades.
I am confident that many of the reputable FileMaker hosting companies that are around will adapt and continue to provide the excellent service that they currently offer. I have personally worked with several of these over the years and found most to be responsive and provide good service for the costs involved.
You may also choose to create and maintain your own FileMaker Server, which is still the best option in many circumstances. Having a robust and well configured server on your Local Area Network (LAN) is valuable in and of itself. This is also a good option if you only have one office location without much need for web hosting or WAN access.
In a previous post I wrote a Quick Start Guide about using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host your FileMaker Server and this is still a great option. In fact, I would argue that by investing in Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS) that you have options available that you would not otherwise.
AWS is not your only option, there are competing offerings from other vendors, but the ones that come up the most are AWS and Azure. Azure is Microsoft’s IAAS offering and looks to be very promising as well, albeit at a higher cost at the moment.
Getting Creative with AWS: Load Balancing FileMaker Server
Just for fun, let us explore some of what can be possible by taking advantage of some of the offerings of AWS to demonstrate how FileMaker Server can be extended.
Of course, there are plenty of other services to explore. The idea is that you can get very creative with the existing services. There are plenty of ways to use these tools together to provide a very customized, robust, highly available and cost effective solution.
In my opinion, this is a game changer for how we look at infrastructure. Since the costs associated are so low, it is possible to test and explore options that would have previously been prohibitive.
In much the same way that digital photography changed photography, virtual infrastructure can allow you to model network architecture. Before digital photography, you had to buy expensive film, and then either process it yourself in a dark room or have it sent to a lab before seeing the results. Learning if you used the correct film with your camera settings for the shot you were trying to get was very time consuming and expensive.
With a digital camera, you can adjust settings, take a shot and review results immediately.
Similarly, instead of purchasing hardware for servers, networking gear and software licenses, you can test in a virtual lab with immediate feedback. By lowering or eliminating the barriers for entry, learning this skillset is approachable to just about anyone.
Soliant Consulting employs the largest FileMaker development team in the world. We have a deep bench of talent starting with our CEO, Bob Bowers: he's co-authored seven books, led the team that has written six editions of the Authorized Training Series for FileMaker, Inc., spoken at more than a dozen FileMaker Developer Conferences, and has taught literally thousands of students spanning two decades of leadership in the field. Certified Expertise Soliant's team is certified in every version of FileMaker Pro and are specialists in building high-performance databases, hybrid web-FileMaker applications, integrations with a range of technologies including SQL, and conversions from prior versions. We work with your solution as is or can build from scratch. Find out how we can take your FileMaker databases to the next level.Website: www.soliantconsulting.com/filemaker