FileMaker Server 9 - Snapshot 2

From Dwayne Wright -

FileMaker Server 9 can be deployed on a single machine or multiple machines. Depending upon your needs and budget, you can select the implementation that works out best for you. A general rule of thumb is, if you are NOT web publishing your FileMaker solution information, you will deploy FileMaker 9 Server on a single machine.

The logic in a multiple machine deployment is centered around the primary FileMaker 9 Server components of the DATABASE SERVER, the WEB SERVER and the WEB PUBLISHING ENGINE. As you can see, two of the components are web publishing focused. If that is not your goal in the immediate future, a single machine can be utilized for the Database Server component you will be using.

As you might have guessed, the database server is the component that hosts the FileMaker files for you solution. It will be the core component in FileMaker 9 Server. It can be controlled by the Admin Console, that can run on the server itself and/or remotely with any client machine that has access. In most cases, you will have security authentication in place to insure that only those authorized will be available to make changes to server settings.

Now, we can begin to discuss some of the web publishing options of FileMaker 9 Server. Although not part of FileMaker Server 9, web publishing will also require a web server such as the Apache Web Server or Windows IIs. So your FileMaker web specific components will be passing information back and forth from FileMaker Database Server and the Web Server. The FileMaker 9 Server components that do this are the FileMaker Web Server (consisting of a web server module and the PHP Engine) and the Web Publishing Engine.

So we have your DATABASE SERVER, that will talk to your WEB PUBLISHING ENGINE and that will talk to the WEB SERVER. So in a one machine deployment, all of the following will take place within the same machine. If you are NOT web publishing, the other two components are installed but not enabled. If you are web publishing, the single machine configuration is the most straight forward implementation and most cost effective from a hardware point of view. As you might imagine, one machine doing so much is going to have an upper limit to what it can handle. So if your web publishing needs become more intense, then you may need to consider your multiple machine deployment options.

Now you middle component is always your Web Publishing Engine. This is the component that translates Database Server communication to something the Web Server can use and vice versa. So in a two machine implementation, the Web Publishing engine is going to be paired with either the Database Server or the Web Server. In most cases, it will be paired with the Web Server. This way you have your database needs on one machine and your web needs on another machine. However, there is nothing stopping you from the other possible configuration and your needs might make that the best choice for you.

As with any time you have such critical information passing between two machines, you may have a firewall in place and the ports for communication between them have to be open.

The three machine implementation means you have the three main components on their own individual machines. This is the most challenging to set up, the most expensive from a hardware perspective and provides the greatest opportunity for performance. Although it is the most difficult, FileMaker 9 installation setup does a good job of making the task less of a headache. However, do yourself a favor and make sure each machine is ready for this and allow yourself a considerable amount of time to install and test your configuration. Multiple machine configurations is not something you want to do on a lark. I'd recommend doing a test install on machines that are not actively producing information to your workgroup.
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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright -

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