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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
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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 (progressives, 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:

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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.

Don’t Live in Fear of Computer Gremlins – 10 Reasons to Host with a Service Rather Than Yourself

October 22nd, 2015

Computer-gremlin

There’s nothing scarier than having your computer crash. Whether it is the result of computer gremlins or your computer simply internally combusts, it’s never a good feeling to see that blue screen of death. And it’s even worse if you don’t have your files backed up in a secure and reliable location.

Don’t wait until you need a backup to worry about having a backup.

If you’re thinking, “I’m covered, I host my own files, and I think I have a backup.” You’re right — you MIGHT be covered in the event your computer melts down, but you’re short changing yourself in other ways.
 

Here’s 10 reasons to host with a service versus goin’ it alone.
 

1. Affordability. Hosting with a service reduces your IT costs. You don’t have to purchase any equipment or software, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of maintaining an internal server.
 

2. Flexibility. If you host your files, you can create a virtual workshop from anywhere and on any device. This means you can set up in your favorite coffee shop and sip on a pumpkin spice latte while you get to takin’ care of business.

But I can obtain flexibility and create a virtual desktop if I host it myself. True, and that leads us to reason Number 3…
 

3. Speed. PCI has multiple data centers across the continental United States, so your system will be close and fast. Hosting services offer faster bandwidth than typical in-house systems.
 

4. Security. PCI’s Hosting Service provides you with secured server facilities, and encrypts all of your files, so no one but you and “The Invisible Man” standing over your shoulder can see them.
 
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5. Expertise. As Platinum Partners, we can work hand in hand with FileMaker to resolve any server issues beyond the basics.
 

6. Value. When you or someone on your team needs help getting connected to your hosted solution, we are here to help. We provide the links to your system via email, and we’ll even step it up a notch and provide you with a no-cost, hands-on remote meeting directly with you or your users, if that’s what it takes to get you started or back on track.
 

7. Backups. We have a wide variety of backups available, including hourly progressives, daily, nightly, weekly, and even monthly. So “28 Days Later” you can request a copy of your files. In the event we experience some Hollywood disaster and are suddenly flooded, engulfed by “The Blob”, catch fire, or get crushed by The 50 Foot Woman, you’ll always have a backup of your data sitting in your Dropbox.

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8. Real-Time Monitoring. We provide constant monitoring of our servers and have live server status updates online.
 

9. After Hours Restarts. We do our best to keep server restarts to an absolute minimum. But if the situation is inevitable, we do everything humanly possible to do it at a time that is most convenient for you, which means we are restarting during the witching hour and mixin’ it up with the ghosts and goblins.

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10. Support. Last but not least, you will have access to professional and proven FileMaker experts to answer any of your questions and assist you with tech issues.
 
Okay, so we said we’d save you money, but how much?
 
Well, first off, all plans include a 30 day free trial, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Second, plans start at $30 a month or $324 a year. You can check out pricing here and then call (760) 510-1200 for a free consultation and quote.

Contact sales@productivecomputing.com or give us a call at 760-510-1200.

Thirty Minutes with PCI Execs Marc and Keith

October 2nd, 2015

Fm_Consulting_logoPCI Founders Marc and Keith were recently interview by Donald Clark, FileMaker Developer and Owner of FM Database Consulting.

Check out the interview in its entirety here.

If you don’t have thirty minutes right now to watch from start to finish, we invite you to take a look at some of the highlights you might find of interest:

1:00: How Marc got his start working with FileMaker while interning at the National Association of Music Merchants.

2:08: Marc shares how he worked with Patti Page!

Patti

3:45: How PCI started in a small apartment in Carlsbad, CA.

5:25: Keith discusses the key components to PCI’s success: “Marc is the dreamer. He cuts the path, and then I figure out a way how to pave it.”

7:45: PCI’s secrets to success.

10:23: Hear about PCI’s most challenging project(s).

12:12: Marc discusses the makeup of PCI’s client base, and how it has evolved over the years.

13:10: PCI plug-in announcements!

16:30: Marc discusses DevCon, and his thoughts on the future of FileMaker.

18:00: Marc discusses Vessel Service Solutions as a perfect example of the exciting things which can be done with FMGo.

20:33: Marc and Keith share what they do in their spare time. (Top: Keith. Bottom: Marc.)

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22:24: Keith discusses his music career in the Army National Guard and Air Force.

23:25: Marc talks about his music career in high school and present day.

24:05: Marc and Keith discuss their multi-faceted roles at DevCon.

25:25: PCI premieres SalesPal at DevCon.

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28:48: Keith discusses PCI’s company culture and the importance of work-life balance.