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FileMaker Server 16 Dedicated Hosting Now Available

May 19th, 2017

FileMaker Server 16 was released on May 9, 2017, and with it came an impressive increase in capacity. This optimization (see image below) will make it even easier for companies to scale their solutions and deal with increased user connections.

FMS_16_Connections Chart

To accompany these capacity increases, there are a number of new features as well – enough to sway even the most resistant of adapters.

New to FileMaker Server 16:

1. FileMaker Data API Trial: From now until September 27, 2018, you can use your FileMaker data in other applications and services with REST-based FileMaker Data API. For more information, check out this forum thread: https://community.filemaker.com/thread/173693

2. Tableau Web Data Connector for FileMaker: Tableau makes it easier to visualize your FileMaker Data. According to FileMaker’s website, the connector is a FileMaker Data API that provides integration with Tableau Desktop.

3. PDF Support: You can run automated reports and save PDFs using scripts performed on FileMaker Server.

4. OAuth 2.0 Support for Accounts: FileMaker Server is all about security. Simplify your credential management by specifying OAuth 2.0 third party authentication providers – such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft Azure.
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For each FileMaker release, we work hard to prepare and ensure that our clients can utilize the new features available. To accommodate the increase in system requirement necessary to run FileMaker Server 15 and 16, we have doubled the RAM on our Small Team Plan from 4GB to 8GB. Clients can now get up and running with the latest technologies on their own dedicated server for $149/mo.

Every PCI Dedicated Hosting plan includes:
Free personalized setup – we talk with you about your requirements and then we do all the work necessary to get you hosted – giving you more time to focus on your priorities.

Fully managed dedicated server – just another perk of hosting with a third party, we handle ALL labor associated with operating and proactively managing your server.

SSL Certificate – included. That’s one less cost and hassle that you need to worry about.

FileMaker Server Admin Console access – in the event you want to manage or upload files – or set scheduled backups or scheduled scripts.

Unlimited users – scalability! As long as you have the licenses, you can have as many users as you want ( FMS 16 limits you to 500 concurrent connection – so unlimited is a relative term).

Regular automatic backups – schedules and redundancy vary based upon your plan, but if something should happen to your solution, we have you covered with a recent backup.

Dropbox availability – Dropbox is included with our Medium Workgroup and Large Department plans, but a little extra for our Small Team plan ($10/mo).

Access to FileMaker certified developers – we are just a call or email away. With support available almost 24/7, you’ll get the assistance you need in a timely manner.

Secure uploads, downloads and connections – utilizing the latest technologies and the strictest practices ensures your data is safe and secure from prying eyes and that your system itself is running like a fortress – constantly monitored by our experts.

PHP/ CWP/ ODBC/ JDBC/ XML access – integrate your solution and server with a variety of technologies.

Upload speeds of up to 100 MB/s – because no one likes waiting.

Clients can bring their own FileMaker Server license or purchase a license from Productive Computing at a discount. For more information, please visit www.filemakerhostingservice.com or call 760-510-1200.

Inspiring a New Generation of FileMaker Developers – PCI Focuses on Hiring Local Talent

March 17th, 2017

CSUSM
Back in February, Productive Computing’s CEO, Marc Larochelle, was invited to speak to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) club at California State University San Marcos.

During his talk, Marc showcased the FileMaker platform, including the numerous connection points to other database systems, technologies, and plug-ins. He also explored the new FileMaker Cloud hosting option that is available through Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As a live demonstration of the capability of FileMaker, Marc created a database that would track a list of member names and the group attendance across the school year. The database featured a dashboard that displayed the data – complete with graphs and charts. Marc accessed this database on a desktop, iPad, and via the web – showcasing the variety of access points available with FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and FileMaker WebDirect and just how quick it is to create and deploy an app.

The president of the ACM club, Omid Azodi, remarked, “After taking a database course, I can see how powerful FileMaker is, how visual it is, and that it is low on the coding side for queries, etc. All the students I talked to really enjoyed the demo and learned a lot from it.”

One of the goals of the speaking engagement was not only to expose students to FileMaker, but also to expose them to Productive Computing as a potential employer. Productive Computing has hired over half their staff from local universities. Five of their current 15 employees were hired from Cal State San Marcos.

When asked why he enjoys these types of presentations, Marc said, “As a resident of North County for over 25 years, I love this place and I want to give back in any way that I can. We work hard to hire local talent from our universities, and we make a point to do these kinds of presentations – because it not only showcases the FileMaker platform to a new generation of developers, but it also demonstrates to students that the skills they are learning in their classes have a very real, direct application once they graduate. Productive Computing believes in investing in its community and supporting the strong economy in North County.”

Former Cal State San Marcos students and current Productive Computing employees include: Francis (hosting and tech support), Jeff (hosting and solution development), Chris (plug-in development), William (developer), and Stephanie (marketing and product coordination).

“When I was going to school back in 2012, I had the opportunity to see Marc present on FileMaker. I was really intrigued and approached him after the presentation to inquire about employment opportunities. Productive Computing allowed me to work part-time while I was in school and then I had a full-time job waiting for me when I graduated.” Chris, plug-in developer.

The transition from school life to the “real world” can be difficult for students, many wonder what a typical day in the life of a career professional looks like or if they will be able to apply the skills they have learned in school to their daily jobs. Francis, who graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Computer Science, reflected that many of the classes he took at California State San Marcos have helped him perform his job at Productive Computing. “Intro to Networking helped me with basic troubleshooting techniques and my Database Management Systems class taught me about working with general database systems and how to develop ERDs (entity-relationship diagrams) to plan out and design databases – especially FileMaker and SQL.”

“While the classes I took at Cal State provided me with a great ground work of valuable knowledge, the one real takeaway from CSUSM was that my classes always put an emphasis on working as a team to accomplish something.” Francis remarked. “That’s something that I find is a big part about working here at Productive Computing. You will hear everyone in the office asking each other questions and tapping into one another’s knowledge and experience to help come up with the best possible solution for a given issue.”

Our solutions architect and main hosting engineer, Jeff, was an active member and officer of the ACM club during his time at CSUSM and attended two presentations by Marc Larochelle during his four years there. “I was pretty amazed by the capabilities of FileMaker 12 when I attended Marc’s first presentation. Then, a year later, Marc and Chris returned to present the latest features of FileMaker 13 and demonstrated how quickly a developer could create and deploy a solution that was accessible via FileMaker Go. When the ACM club hosted a job fair for the Computer Science community, Productive Computing was the first company that I gave a resume to. Within my first month working with FileMaker, I was working on client solutions doing custom development for desktop and mobile environments. FileMaker, in my opinion, is a simple to learn platform with great scalability and almost endless opportunity.”

Reflecting on his education at CSUSM, Jeff commented, “While I was a student, I took a job as a learning assistant and grader for the Data Structures course. Reviewing code written by other students was an eye-opening experience. I graded so many different solutions for a single problem that it made me realize there are always new ways to improve existing code, schema, or design. This realization drives me to solve problems and build solutions that bring Productive Computing’s products to the next level. Efficiency is key and I’m always looking for better ways to process data, enhance user interfaces, and strengthen workflows.”

When asked about his hiring practices, Marc said, “Keith and I are so proud and lucky to be in a position to offer career opportunities for computer science graduates from universities right in our own backyard. It has been so satisfying to watch these candidates go from being a college student to a first-time career employee in a job that is in-line with their degree. Our training program, which gives new developers the ability to learn FileMaker quickly, allows us to offer full-time positions to graduates right out of college, whereas other high-tech employers are typically only able to provide an internship to the same college grad.

“There’s really nothing more rewarding than seeing the next generation of FileMaker developers come alive with the same enthusiasm and inspiration I first had when I learned FileMaker back in 1991.”

Introducing BYO Cloud Setup, Consultation, and Account Management Services

October 13th, 2016

 

FMCloud_logo_website

FileMaker’s newest offering, FileMaker Cloud, is available through the Amazon Web Services Marketplace and provides reliable access to custom apps in the cloud. Users can get the simplicity, performance, and reliability they’ve come to expect from the FileMaker Platform without having to spend time and resources deploying and maintaining a traditional on-site server. With FileMaker Cloud you’ll get low up-front costs, speedy deployment, minimal administrative overhead, instant scalability, and more.

In order to help our customer’s get started with FileMaker Cloud, we have two new services available.

1. BYO Cloud Setup and Consultation – To someone unfamiliar with AWS, setting up a server may seem daunting and could take more time than you have available. Our FileMaker certified developers and Amazon Web Services experts will set up and configure your entire FileMaker Cloud and AWS account for you.

Licensing: We can help you purchase your licensing through the Amazon Marketplace or you can bring your own license. FileMaker Cloud requires FileMaker Licensing for Teams: hourly or annual. It is possible to convert existing FLT licenses to FileMaker Cloud. FileMaker allows a 30 day transitionary period for these conversions.

Instance Type Selection: Depending on your needs, usage, and computing power we will help you choose what type of instance (t2.small, t2.medium, m4.xlarge, etc.) you will want to purchase.

Storage Space Requirements: Based upon the size of your FileMaker solution and desired backup disk space, we can help you ensure that you’re only paying for the space you need.

SSL Certificate Installation: FileMaker Cloud accounts come with a free 90 day trail of a Comodo SSL certificate. If you intend to bring your own SSL certificate, we can install that for you.

FileMaker Cloud Dashboard Review: If you would like to monitor your AWS account going forward, we can walk you through the details and explain each metric on the dashboard.

Backup Process Explanation: It is important to understand how you can access your backups. We’ll show you how to preserve a specific backup and how to restore your solution back to a specific point.

ESS / ODBC / JDBC Access: Stands for External SQL Data Sources, Open Database Connectivity, Java Database Connectivity and deals with data transfer and database accessibility.

Plug-in Installation: FileMaker Cloud supports Linux based plug-ins. It is a good idea to check with your plug-in provider for availability of Linux plug-ins.

FileMaker Database Upload: Once your server is up and running, we’ll make sure your solution is correctly migrated and ready to be accessed.

Hosted File Connection Instructions: In order to take full advantage of the remote access features available with hosting, we’ll provide connection instructions on how to access your database from FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and FileMaker WebDirect.

Consultation for FileMaker Cloud and AWS: Our Setup and Consultation package includes consultation services to train you how to manage your FileMaker Cloud account yourself. We can instruct you in FileMaker Cloud management, AWS navigation, and FileMaker Cloud billing.

2. The BYO Cloud Managed Service plan includes all labor associated with maintaining your server.  Our AWS experts and FileMaker certified developers will monitor and maintain your FileMaker Cloud so you don’t have to.

Maintenance of your Server – We will handle all coordination and “rollout” of OS and FileMaker Cloud updates.

FileMaker Cloud License Management – If you need to “scale up” and add connections, we can provide assistance adding connections and updating your licenses.

Instance Adjustments – As your organization and hosting requirements grow, we can upgrade you to a larger instance, giving you more file space and faster computing power.

Storage Space Expansions – Is your solution growing? Upgrade your disk space to accommodate for larger file sizes and backup space requirements. Our staff can assess your hosting needs to ensure you’re not paying for something you don’t need.

SSL Certificate Installation – FileMaker Cloud comes with a free 90 day trial of a Comodo SSL. If you intend to use your own certificate, we can handle all installations of new, updated, or renewed SSL certificates.

FileMaker Cloud Dashboard Monitoring – We proactively monitor and review all dashboard metrics to ensure you’re operating at optimal capacity.

Backup Preservation and Restoration – We’ll manage on-demand backup preservation and restoration of your FM Cloud.

ESS / ODBC / JDBC Access – If you have changes in how you access and transfer your data, we’ll update your configuration.

Plug-in Installation – Expanding your solution’s capabilities with a server side plug-in? Let us know and we’ll handle the installation for you.

FileMaker Database Upload – Have updates to your database that you want to make live? Need to add another file to your solution? We can assist with database management – we’ll upload the file and make sure you can easily connect.

Hosted File Connection Assistance – If you lose your link, delete your shortcut, or need help connecting a new employee to your database, we can provide connection assistance to your database for FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and FileMaker WebDirect.

General Support for FileMaker Cloud and AWS – We’re always here to offer support and assistance and answer questions on basic usability and best practices.

BYO Cloud is one of multiple hosting options we offer. Check out www.filemakerhosting.com for more information on our FileMaker Cloud services, as well as Shared and Dedicated hosting plans. Want to figure out what type of hosting is best for you- shared, dedicated, cloud, AWS, FileMaker Server? Call us at 760-510-1200. Email us at sales@productivecomputing.com.

PCI is Now Offering Dedicated Hosting Plans for FileMaker Server 15

July 18th, 2016
Comments Off on PCI is Now Offering Dedicated Hosting Plans for FileMaker Server 15

FileMaker Hosting

 

 

 

 

PCI is Now Offering Dedicated Hosting Plans for FileMaker Server 15

With the release of FileMaker Pro 15, a new End User License Agreement was introduced requiring a dedicated server for each customer.  This new requirement inspired us to develop a new series of hosting plans to accommodate our customers on this new platform.  Using a combination of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our existing infrastructure we developed three affordable options for FileMaker 15 users.

These new plans allow users to host their solutions in a secure environment taking advantage of the benefits of FileMaker Server 15 with the peace of mind and convenience of having experienced and certified professionals manage and monitor their server.

 

Dedicated Hosting

PCI’s new dedicated hosting plans will offer the same benefits as our shared hosting plans:  free setup, robust backup schedule (daily, weekly, monthly), and SSL Certificates.

– Fully Managed Dedicated Server maintained by PCI so you don’t have to

– FileMaker Server Licensing conveniently purchased through PCI at a discount

– Amazon (AWS) Certified Engineer offers expertise for secure and scalable options

– FileMaker Certified Developers at your service

PCI is your outsourced hosting team!

 

Shared Hosting

Productive Computing will continue to offer shared hosting for those customers that do not need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 15.

 

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FileMaker Server Licensing

If you are choosing a Dedicated Hosting plan, a FileMaker Server license is required. You may provide your own server license or order FileMaker Server through Productive Computing at a discount.  FileMaker Licensing for Teams provides an affordable option to purchase or rent the server software along with access to FileMaker Pro.

 

Need more information about hosting?  Have a look at our overview video:

YouTube Preview Image

 

Please visit www.filemakerhostingservice.com for a complete list of plans and hosting service details.

What You Need To Know about PCI’s Dedicated Hosting Plans

May 2nd, 2016

The Dedicated Hosting Plan begins with a personal consultation to review your specific needs and requirements. We will review the basic hardware requirements, determine if any additional hardware is necessary based on your processes and provide you with a written estimate.

In addition to the hardware, we can provide you discounted pricing on FileMaker Server licensing. If you already own a copy of FileMaker Server, we can install your license on the dedicated server (FileMaker Server 13 and above).
 
Dedicated Hosting Specifications and Minimum Requirements
Server Hardware Requirements
• Apple Mac Mini: 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
• 16 GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
• 512 GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

Additional Hardware Requirements
• 2TB USB3 Hard Drive (required for OS and FileMaker backup procedures)
• HDMI Headless Adapter (required for improved remote connection performance)

Server Software Requirements
• FileMaker Server 13-14 (use your own license or purchase from PCI)
• FileMaker Go or WebDirect Concurrency Connections (if applicable)
• SSL Certificate (an annual SSL certificate is required to maintain secure connections)
 
Dedicated Hosting Features
• 125 Database Files
• 500GB SSD Storage Space
• Unlimited Users
• FileMaker Go or WebDirect Connections
• FileMaker Server Admin Console Access
• Dropbox Backup Access (on demand, daily and weekly routines)
• Personalized Setup
• Automatic Backups
• Multi-Version Support for FileMaker client (FileMaker 7 through 13 Mac or Windows)
• PHP Publishing API
• Secure Uploads, Downloads and Connections
• Non-virtualized (PCI-owned) FileMaker Servers
• Solid State Drives for Ultimate Performance
• Unlimited Bandwidth
• Upload Speeds up to 100 Mb/s
• Customer Service from PCI’s Expert Team
 
Managed Services for Dedicated Hosting
Managed Services
Our dedicated managed server plans offer the highest level of hosting services PCI provides. PCI becomes your hosting expert and maintains your server using the same proprietary systems and standards we use to maintain all our other hosting servers.

Our dedicated managed server plans include ALL labor associated with operating and proactively maintaining your server to include operating system patches and updates, web server installations and updates, FileMaker Server patches and upgrades, plug-in installations, SSL certificates, ODBC configurations, backup schedules, script schedules and anything else the server needs to run your FileMaker solution.

Managed Services Fees
• One-time initial server setup
• Monthly hosting service and support
• Monthly data center service fee billed through PCI
• Tier 2 technical support provided by the data center will be billed through PCI if needed

Turnaround Times for Customer Requests
Often customer requests are handled on the spot when you call in during regular office hours. Occasionally, you may need to leave a message and we’ll get the request done the same business day. On rare occasions, requests will spill over to the next business day. Our office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Data Center Locations
We have three (3) data center locations (Las Vegas, Atlanta and Milwaukee) and our proposal would be to put you in whichever data center is closest to the greatest number of your end users. We have done extensive testing and determined that latency, specifically how far the user’s computer is physically from the FileMaker server, has the biggest impact on WAN solution performance for users who are connecting directly to the server with the FileMaker Pro client.

Customer Connection Speed
Connection to your data on the server is also relative to how your FileMaker solution is programmed and the speeds provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). We generally recommend using internet connection speeds at a minimum of 10MB download and 3MB upload. However, we also recommend that customers purchases the fastest speeds they can reasonably afford above those minimums.

Data Center Upload/Download Speeds and Bandwidth Limitations
The data centers provide maximum upload/download speeds up to 100Mb up and down.

Bandwidth usage is determined by how much data is transmitted between you and the server. For most customers, bandwidth limitations are rarely exceeded.  Actual bandwidth limitations vary depending on the data center your server is located at.

Tier 2 Technical Support
Tier 2 support is a rare occurrence but a service that is occasionally necessary from the data center. For example, if an operating system needed to be reinstalled, we would need someone to be hands on at the data center itself so we would have to pay for that service on an hourly basis. In the event this level of support may be needed from the data center, you will be notified prior to work being performed and the billing with be processed through PCI.
 
Backup Information
Our system provides for multiple backups to keep your data safe in case you accidentally remove crucial data, or in the unlikely event of a main hard drive catastrophe.

Tier 1 Backup Schedules
Twice Daily – we do daily backups at 12:30 pm and again 1:00 am. This means that on a given business a day, your data is backed up twice and in a way that is easy for us to get to. These backups are done to a separate drive other than the main hard drive.

Tier 2 Backup Schedules
Weekly and Monthly Schedules – we keep backups daily for one (1) week, weekly for one (1) month, and monthly for up to two (2) years. These backups are also saved on a separate external drive.

Tier 3 Backup Protection
Cloud Protection and easy customer access – every client has what we call their personal daily backup. This backup copies the data from the main hard drive to a backup drive and this happens at 1:00 am every day. Every morning at 3:00 am, the latest backup is compressed and copied to your dedicated Dropbox account.

FileMaker 14 Server Progressive Backups
For FileMaker 14 hosting customers we take advantage of progressive backups, which means that data is never more than an hour out of date in the event of a main hard drive catastrophe. These progressive backups are stored on a different hard drive other than the main hard drive. They are rewritten every hour. This is something akin to an ongoing mirror style backup.

We can also set up a separate Dropbox backup for the purposes of you being able to run a backup on-the-fly at any time and having that backup available to you via Dropbox immediately.
 
Security
Utilizing the latest technologies and the strictest practices ensures that not only is your data safe and secure from prying eyes, but the system itself is run like a fortress and constantly monitored by our experts.

SSL Certificates
Data transfer is encrypted using SSL, direct server access is limited, only the necessary ports to run FileMaker Server (and IWP/PHP) are exposed (unlike other hosting companies), and the machines are Apple/Mac running Linux, which are not prone to the usual hacker environments of traditional Windows servers other hosting companies are plagued with. We also limit third party and other rogue services that add to the complexity and potential vulnerability of the machine.

Passwords and Accessing Data
Each customer’s data files are secured by a username and password authentication. Only Productive Computing, Inc. server administrators have access to where the files are stored, however they do not have the individual customer’s passwords to open the database files unless the hosting customer has provided those passwords to us. We require all hosting clients to maintain a password on the hosted file.
 
Other Hosting Service and Support Frequently Asked Questions
FileMaker Pro and Server Licensing
FileMaker Pro and Server licensing is priced separately from our hosting services.

As Platinum Partners in the FileMaker Business Alliance, we are able to provide our customers with preferred pricing on FileMaker Pro and Server licenses and in most cases can provide a best price guarantee.

Software Updates/Version Upgrades Included
Our dedicated managed server plans include ALL labor associated with software upgrades to include operating system patches and updates, Web Server installations and updates, FileMaker Server patches and upgrades, plug-in installations, SSL certificates, ODBC configurations and anything else the server needs to run your FileMaker solution. The only exception is that we don’t support other non-FileMaker Server related services (i.e. we won’t install a mail server, blog engine, FTP server, etc.).

FMS Admin Console Access
All customers will have access to the FMS Admin Console. Customers will also have access to remotely access the server itself upon request – although our managed server customers generally leave that to us.