In today’s world, businesses of all sizes are seeking cloud applications to minimize their in-house IT footprint. Currently, FileMaker does not offer a true cloud-based solution. However, it is possible to have your FileMaker solution hosted, but it is important to consider a few options so the hosting company and product you choose will serve your company now and into the future.
Shared hosting is the most cost effective way to get started with FileMaker Server. With this option, the service provider hosts your FileMaker solution along with those of other companies. The price of this service usually depends on the number of files that will be hosted and the bandwidth consumed.
Some of the advantages of shared hosting include: low prices ($12.99 and up per month), vendors that manage FileMaker Server and backups for you, and vendors that also manage OS updates and the maintenance of the physical machine.
There are some disadvantages to hosting your files on the same server as others. Because many companies may be sharing the FileMaker Server, the server resources may be consumed by other solutions, degrading the performance for your solution. You are also reliant on the vendor if there are any issues using their self-help utilities to upload a copy of your solution, add changes to the application, and download copies of your solution for development.
For this option, the vendor creates and manages virtual OS instances upon which FileMaker Server is installed. Clients purchase their own FileMaker license for the server (some vendors will charge a monthly fee on top of the virtual hosting fee to “rent” the server software to you and install and manage FileMaker server) and install and manage the server and backups themselves.
Virtual Servers are a great way to have more control and better performance for your solution. Your solution is not impacted by the performance of any other FileMaker applications, and you can shut down/restart the server if necessary. Virtual servers are also great if you need to use web-based technologies outside of Web Direct.
Virtual servers are a little pricey, starting at $99 a month. Depending on the vendor you choose, you may also have to purchase, install and administer FileMaker Server yourself. This includes managing backups for your solution.
For larger, more intensive FileMaker solutions, you may need a dedicated server. Vendors may “rent” a server, operating system, and FileMaker Server software, or you may be required to provide these and the Vendor will provide a range of services, typically managing the hardware and operating system on the server.
Dedicated servers generally start in the $500 per month range and you will have the additional expense of FileMaker Server, the Operating System, and hardware. Revolution11 recommends that you carefully think about this investment if you purchase hardware or software. FileMaker will eventually have to produce a “true” cloud offering (We have no advance knowledge of such a product, but this is certainly an unstoppable industry trend); unless you can re-purpose the server, you may be very unhappy with the investment.
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