Going to Claris Cloud, Initial Impressions = Cumbersome to move from server to cloud

Just wanted to share. I have a client who went with Claris Cloud because their procurement process is crap and it was easier to just buy everything in one place on a PO. I figured it was just Filemaker server so why not.

I set them up on one of my servers while waiting for the PO to clear and now that I'm ready to move them it turns out the conversion is a bit more work than expected.

All users have to be converted to Claris Cloud users, and permissions are handled differently, which changes workflows.

I was going to give up and just get a 3rd party host, and Claris let me know that it's non-refundable and that the licenses they have don't work anywhere except Claris Cloud, so we're sort of stuck. I either need to charge them a couple thousand to move everything over, go onsite and get their machines logged in, and set it up, or they have to pay again for licensing and hosting somewhere else.

My Claris rep keeps painting me sunshine and rainbows, but the reality is it's going to take staff time from them and budget. For some of my clients this wouldn't be a problem, but I'm regretting giving it a go now. If I'd built it in Claris Cloud from the start it probably wouldn't have been a problem, but the conversion isn't straight-forward.

Also, I could be wrong, but I think the server license is for concurrent users, while Claris Cloud is for total users, so the cost can be more for some people.

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Claris clutches the money and you got the problem. Great partnership.
On-premise and Cloud have once been touted as ‘one ecosystem’. Reality looks quite different.


I think many could have chimed in if you had asked here before giving your approval for the purchase. Something along the lines of "It seems easier to get a customer to purchase Claris Cloud instead of using FileMaker on-prem. I have never used Claris Cloud before, is there anything I should be watching for?"

Everything you mention is well documented.

If you make a purchase for a brand-new car, the second you drive it off the car dealer's lot, it becomes a used car and if there are some particularities that do not fit your specific use case, even if it looks and behaves like most other cars, you still don't get to turn around and trade it for another car that is a closer match to what you need.

So don't buy something over something else because it lets you make a deposit with your credit card, and you get air-miles. Make sure you buy what you need. Do not "shoot from the hip", measure twice and cut once. And keep in mind that if there are 2 distinct offerings, that probably means they have distinctions between them.

Even if some items had been smoother, it seems your preparation for this type of shift was not adequate. I'm truly sorry to hear about the situation you are now in. I can only believe this will turn into a learning experience that will lead you towards taking a deeper look at things you are using for the first time or not quite as familiar as with the rest of the items you tend to rely on for your typical deployments.

Thank you for sharing so that others can learn from your experience.

Another "gotcha" that can bite hard when overlooked is that Claris FileMaker Cloud does not support server-side plugins.

For anyone who is interested in some distinctions, this kb article is a good place to start.

Finally, also to note, setting a client up on your own servers is likely not in compliance with your own licence agreement.

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Sorry for your experiences.

I hope you can just buy another server for your client.
And use the Claris Cloud one for some other customer or project.

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I don't know what internet points you think you just won by talking down to me like that.

The nuances I ran into are subtle and are not clear in the KB article you shared (which I did review before purchasing) or in the other articles I read. I searched this site as well as Claris Forums, and didn't find anything that would be a showstopper for me.

I also did post to The Soup BEFORE making this purchase (as you so condescendingly suggested), and asked "Has anyone used it? Is it Filemaker light, or full Filemaker? Can it do things like run nightly imports and send emails from the server? Is it worth doing?"

None of the comments mentioned these issues.

It happens, it's a drag, but I thought it could possibly be helpful to others to post here so they aren't surprised by the same things. If this information isn't helpful to you, maybe just ignore my post and don't feel compelled to point out how many mistakes I made that you wouldn't have made.


Published yesterday:


Not customer’s fault.

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Thanks for sharing your experience.

One note:

There are many licensing options for server: user; concurrency; site. There is only one licensing option for cloud: user.

User licensing is priced according to the number of named users that will be using the licensed software. It doesn't require that all of an organization's employees be named users, however those that aren't will be unable to use the software. Named users must use Claris ID, "an integrated sign-on system for authenticating users of Claris products and services" (per this description from Claris).

Concurrency licensing is priced according to the number of users that will simultaneously be using the licensed software. Users need not to be named (although they could) nor is it a requirement that users be employees of the organization that obtains the license.

Site licensing is priced according to the number of employees of the organization that obtains the license. Customers of the organization can access the organization's solutions (for example: to access a customer portal)… only these customers must use their own software (customer-licensed FileMaker client, FileMaker Go, WebDirect, etc). The server will limit the number of simultaneous connections to the number of organization employees.

Hope this helps.

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Ouch! That's more prevalent than I thought.

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Thank you. I wish they put that in their comparisons. In this case it's not a huge issue since they only have 10 staff members, but for other clients of mine that would be a problem.

The difference in authentication is a hurdle and the offical documents do not discuss the real practical implications of moving users in this way.

My first move to Claris Cloud was painful too. I felt like it was not what they had advertised.

I’m now very pleased with the service. I do agree that Claris could do to be more open about the issues for developers. Publishing a checklist for people planning on moving would be useful.


I haven't dug deep into it, are users able to keep their account names (i.e. jsmith) or when you Get ( AccountName ) is everyone now their Claris ID? I'm sort of expecting have to go in and retroactively convert all my past "created by" and "last modified by" and such...

The account names are now Claris IDs. It's a completely different authentication system. You should treat this like a low doorway, that you will hit your head on until you learn to duck as you walk through it.

Open up the data viewer when you are logged in and have a look at what comes back for all of these things.

If you have hardcoded any names you'll need to handle that. For example, you may need to pull the database down periodically, e.g., for snapshots, and you want users to be able to open local copies in FMP. So, at that point, you want all the current authentication stuff to continue working.

As the user base isn't large, the simplest band-aid may be to create a function that you call with the hard-coded name, so the name becomes a parameter. You can call a function everywhere that you can assert a hard-coded string, and the function can handle all the messy stuff.

Instead of Get( AccountName ) = "jsmith" you could replace it with something like this: IsAccountName( "jsmith" )

The CF can simply be a big case statement:

Case (

accName = "jsmith" 
; Get( AccountName ) = "jsmith" or Get(AccountName) = "jsmith@big.test"

accName = "pvasque"
; Get( AccountName ) = "pvasque" or Get(AccountName) = "pvasque"

; 0 

Here are two of the documents that I needed when I was making the change.




Thanks that’s what I was afraid of. How do you handle all of the data where created by a modified is tagged to one of the old IDs and you want to be able to display that and report on that? It seems like the simplest thing would be to go in and change the modified by in every table to be the new usernames, but that’ll change last modification date on everything

Well that's a situation where the custom function I suggested would help.

Two options for changing the data.

  1. Export the data that you want to modify, make the changes on the external copy, then import the changes. Ensure that the checkbox for "update fields" is not checked.

  2. Export the modification dates. Make the changes in FMP, then import the modification dates. Again, do not update.

Ok thanks. I’ll check them out when I’m back on a computer (on phone now).