FileMaker Server Mentality

From Dwayne Wright
Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com

Practically every FileMaker developer comes across the time they setup a FileMaker Server for the first time. Many of us setup our last FileMaker Server much different than we did the first time. Although the setup of a FileMaker Server is not too intense (particularly with FileMaker 9 Server), there are still a number of things you learn over the years that become a part of your “best practices” for server setup. Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter...

- The faster and more reliable your network, the better performance you will see from your FileMaker server. Take some time to investigate the little and big things you can do to get your best network performance.

- The better the machine running the software, the better performance you can expect from the server. Depending on your requirements, you may not need a top of the time machine but that is better than a machine ill equipped. In particular, fast processors, fast hard drives, fast network connections and make sure the machine is from a name brand manufacturer. This is not the time to experiment with “build your own” computer ambitions.

- Dedicate the machine to running the FileMaker Server software as much as you can. Other applications running on the machine can affect its speed and reliability. If possible, reformat the hard drive, install a fresh operating system and install only the elements needed for a smooth operating system experience.

- Once FileMaker Server is installed, make it a point to view its operating statistics and logs on a regular basis. Do not wait until a problem seems to surface. You normally don’t need to review statistics / logs every day but create a reminder system to ping you to check your server occasionally.

- Create a robust backup routine and monitor it from time to time. You will not want to rely upon one backup and setting up multiple backup schedules is quite easy with FileMaker server. You will want to have backups at more than one location. That is to say more than one drive has a recent backup and some backups are stored in a building other than the server.

- Do not allow third party backup software to backup the production database files hosted by FileMaker Server. Instead, have third party backup software backup the backups created by the FileMaker Server schedules.

- Perform a restore from each of your backups from time to time to check how effective the restore process works for you. If you backup to the same location for years, it may have gone awry somehow. You don’t want the occasion to arise that you really need that backup, to find out they are not something you can use.

- Before doing any maintenance on a server or installing updates, make sure the entire machine has a backup performed. It is debatable if you should install OS updates the moment they come out. It is always possible that an update may have an aspect to it that harms your servers performance. This is a judgment call that has to be done by you if/when to install OS updates. You, most likely, don’t want to wait too long to install OS updates.
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

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