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FileMaker Hosting – What Plan is Right for You?

November 22nd, 2017

When it comes to hosting your FileMaker solution, there are a lot of options out there. You can host it yourself onsite, you can host with a service, or you can explore FileMaker Cloud. Let’s assume that you’ve decided the hassle and costs associated with hosting your solution yourself are too prohibitive and you’ve decided to host with a service.

Now you’re looking at plans. There is shared hosting and dedicated hosting and concierge services for FileMaker Cloud (not discussed in this blog, but follow this link for more info).

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Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most economical option available on the market and very appealing to a lot of people looking to host their FileMaker solution.

In order to figure out if shared hosting is the right option for you and to help you choose between our Starter or Professional Plan, let’s start with a few questions:

First: What version of FileMaker Pro is your solution currently running on? What version of FileMaker Server are you currently using and what version of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server do you want or need to be on?

Okay, that was technically three questions, but they are all important.

Our shared hosting plans support FileMaker Server 11-14 and FileMaker Pro (client) 7-16. The compatibility chart below details what FileMaker Pro versions are available on the different FileMaker Server versions.

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If don’t want to or don’t need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 15 or above, a shared hosting plan could be perfect for your needs.

Second: How many files do you want to host (and how big are your files)?

The Starter plan is ideal for one file and up to 1 GB of data. If you need to host more than one file, the Professional plan supports up to five database files and 5 GBs of storage.

Third: Do you need FileMaker WebDirect or FileMaker Go connections?

If yes, you need to go with the Professional plan. Our Starter plan does not support WebDirect or Go connections.

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Dedicated Hosting
If you want or need to be on FileMaker Server 15 or higher, you need to go with dedicated hosting.
We offer four plans (Micro Team, Small Team, Medium Team, and Large Team – henceforth referred to as Micro, Small, Medium, and Large) designed to cover, accommodate, and service a wide variety of needs and requirements.

Let’s review some of the factors that go into deciding which plan is the best fit for you.

1. File size

Each plan allows you to upload up to 125 database files, but the size of your files is a determining factor in deciding which plan is right for you.

Our dedicated hosting plans offer varying quantities of disk space to accommodate the overall size of your files. Our Micro and Small plans have limited storage. If the files being hosted are too large, it becomes difficult to provide redundant backups without incurring additional costs.

If your files’ total sizes are less than 5 GB, you are probably okay going with the Micro plan. With 60 GB of disk space available, anything larger than 5 GB becomes too big for the standard backup routines that are included with the plan.

What if your FileMaker files are just a little too big for the Micro plan? Then the Small plan should work for you since it can host files up to 10 GB. With either of these plans, you can also purchase additional blocks of 100 GB for $20 a month.

If you have files over 10 GB, then you may want to consider a Medium or Large plan. These servers can hold files up to 150 GB – giving you lots of room for your FileMaker file and even external data too.

2. Performance
What kind of performance do you need and what do you intend to do on your server? If you plan to run continuous routines or regular audit systems, you are going to want to opt for the Medium or Large plan. With more RAM available, these plans are better equipped to handle complex processes that won’t result in lag.

Interested in learning more about FileMaker performance when hosting? Check out this video Marc Larochelle, our CEO, did:

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3. Bandwidth
Depending upon how you use your solution, you may need a lot of bandwidth. Several things can determine if you need unlimited bandwidth:

A. if you work with a lot of interactive containers
B. if you plan to regularly download data to your local machine
C. if you use custom web publishing
D. your backup is going to Dropbox

All of these use a lot of bandwidth, so we’d suggest our Medium or Large plan.

If you use your solution more for regular data entry and as storage for historical documents that you are not downloading daily – you’ll be fine with a Small plan (or maybe even a Micro).

4. Number of FileMaker users / WebDirect access
Here are two more things to consider.

Do you have less than 10 FileMaker Pro users? Look at the Micro Plan. Anything over 10 users, your options are wide open with the Small, Medium or Large plans.

While all plans support FileMaker Go access, only the Small, Medium, and Large Team plans support FileMaker WebDirect access. If you intend to have more than 10 users connecting to your solution via FileMaker Go or you want to use WebDirect, also stay with any plan above the Micro plan. The Small, Medium and Large plans come with 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM, respectively – which is needed if you intend to have a larger number of users connecting remotely.

5. Backups
Each of our dedicated plans have a robust backup schedule. Your ideal plan will depend on your backup needs.

The Micro and Small plans keep a daily backup for 7 days. At any point, your oldest backup will be from one week ago. Additional backups or DropBox storage (for archive purposes) may be requested for an added cost.

If you need more longevity on your backups, you can consider a Medium or Large plan. These plans hold backups for up to one year.

Both plans (Medium and Large) include twice daily backups completed at 12:30 pm and 1:00 am. These daily backups are kept for one (1) week. We then run weekly backups that are kept for one (1) month and monthly backups that are kept for up to one (1) year. For redundancy and disaster recovery, all backups are stored on a 1 TB external drive and a daily backup is uploaded to a dedicated folder on Dropbox (see #6).

If you are considering creating your own backup schedules, we highly recommend the Medium or Large plan. Additional backups can be costly on the Micro or Small plan, due to the fact both are running on AWS. AWS charges per GB of space, as well as bandwidth usage.

6. Dropbox
Do you want your backups available via Dropbox and do you want the ability to access a Dropbox backup up to 365 days later?

Dropbox is automatically included with Medium and Large plans. Dropbox is available with our Micro and Small plans, but it does cost extra. With Dropbox, we can provide you with backups that are up to 365 days old. Dropbox also allows for more redundant storage of your backups.

7. SSL Certificates
We include a wildcard SSL certificate with all of our plans. If you would like a customized SSL cert for a custom domain name or other requirements, this options is available for an additional fee.

One last piece of advice. Before contacting a hosting provider, you should know:
1. How many users you will have using FileMaker Pro, Go, and WebDirect.
2. How many files you want to host, as well as the size of those files.
3. What version of FileMaker Pro and Server you plan to use.

If you’re interested in hosting your solution with us, give us a call today (760-510-1200) and talk to one of our hosting engineers. We’ll discuss your requirements and specifications and get you on track with exactly what you need.

Our First FileMaker Cloud Compatible Plug-in – FM Books Connector Online Edition

August 8th, 2017

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With the advent of FileMaker Cloud (FMC), we took a close look at our list of plug-ins and selected the one we felt was the best candidate for Linux compatibility. As any business owner knows – most business decisions come down to time and resources. We knew making a plug-in Linux compatible was not necessarily going to be a small investment on the part of our plug-in developer’s time and talent.

We needed to choose the plug-in that we felt would be most attractive to FMC users and we decided that our FM Books Connector Online Edition plug-in was the best choice. We felt the customer profile for this plug-in was a good fit. Given the fact that QuickBooks Online users are already hosting their QuickBooks files in the cloud, they may be more likely to host their FileMaker solution in the cloud, as well.

With the FMC compatible version of the FM Books Connector Online Edition plug-in clients can now host their FileMaker solutions in the cloud, giving their staff access to pertinent customer information and the ability to push and pull customers, invoices, and other transaction information from anywhere and on any device.

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What is the difference between a single user (client-side) and server-side plug-in?

A client-side plug-in needs to be installed on a user’s computer for them to run any push and pull scripts between FileMaker and QuickBooks. If you plan on having multiple users, integrating with a client-side plug-in requires that you purchase multiple users and install the plug-in on multiple computers. Additionally, users will only be able to push or pull data between FileMaker and QuickBooks when running the solution in FileMaker Pro. With a client-side plug-in, there is no ability to update records or communicate with QuickBooks when using FileMaker Go or WebDirect.

Installing a server-side plug-in on your server allows unlimited users (per server) to push and pull data between FileMaker and QuickBooks. By utilizing the server-side plug-in to handle the processing, users on FileMaker Pro, iPad and iPhone (via FileMaker Go), and WebDirect have the ability to push and pull data between FileMaker and QuickBooks Online without having to install a client-side plug-in.

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Why FileMaker Cloud?

It is important that your solution is as mobile as your workforce. FileMaker Cloud runs on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform and is considered to be an affordable and easily scalable hosting option for FileMaker users.

If you are interested in hosting your solution, but are unfamiliar with AWS, we offer setup and consultation services that cover the initial setup of your FileMaker Cloud account on AWS. This service can also include training if you intend to manage the server yourself. For those not interested in managing their FileMaker Cloud account, we offer monthly managed services that include all labor associated with maintaining your server – so you can be as hands on or hands off as you want.

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Why Integrate FileMaker with QuickBooks?

Does your sales team spend time filling out orders that your accountant then has to spend additional time re-typing into QuickBooks to create an invoice? With a FileMaker and QuickBooks integration, your sales team can create an order in FileMaker and push it to QuickBooks, where it is automatically turned into an invoice.

In your office, is your bookkeeper the only person with access to customer data in QuickBooks? If this is the case, something as simple as following up on a recent payment or invoice balance can require a call or email from a sales team member to the accounting department and then a subsequent QuickBooks search and a return call or email from accounting with the answer. This workflow not only interrupts and distracts your team, it causes delays when a sales team member is trying to follow up with a client.

A potential workaround would be for the accountant to send out weekly or monthly spreadsheets with all clients and corresponding outstanding balances. However, these spreadsheets take time to create and become out of date and inaccurate the moment a new payment is received.

Another workaround to this situation is buying multiple QuickBooks licenses and giving your sales team access to QuickBooks, but that can result in too many people accessing your sensitive QuickBooks file.

Integrating FileMaker and QuickBooks can solve these issues and help avoid workarounds, giving your sales team access to customer balances and payment information directly in FileMaker – ensuring the information is always readily available and up-to-date.

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.

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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.

Introducing BYO Cloud Setup, Consultation, and Account Management Services

October 13th, 2016

 

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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 (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.