Recommendations for Managed Hosting Filemaker Cloud or other?

For the record, FileMaker Cloud (Claris) is the product you're calling "Cloud". Our fmcloud.fm is completely different and we support all FileMaker Server features, and more :wink: (sorry, we've been using the name for 11 years)

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Thanks for clarifying. It took me a minute to catch the difference, but got it now. :slight_smile:

A quick input. Can we refrain from referring to Claris’s FileMaker Cloud as ‘Cloud’. This is a bit like referring to BMW’s 5 Series as ‘Car’.

There are many options and vendors available to run FileMaker in the ‘cloud’ and it is becoming more of an issue having to explain to customers that they can run plugins, CWP, etc. in the ‘cloud after they have already decided that this isn’t possible.

Many thanks
Andy

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Thank you @AndyHibbs, @FabriceN for drawing attention to the fact that there are as many different cloud offerings as there are vendors. Each one has its own technical capabilities and advantages.
Someone who looks for a 'cloud' solution may take a look at each vendor's offering and discuss their needs with vendors in order to get the best available solution.

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You have:

  • FileMaker Cloud 2
  • FMS MacOS or Windows on a self hosted server at a hosting company
  • FMS Windows or Linux on a AWS EC2 instance
  • FMS Linux via Docker
  • FMS Linux in some VPS

Different things with different pros and cons.

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not so sure about it - in the past was some incident where the auto performed update on claris fm cloud first edition locked users out - some of them for days and claris tech support had to support individual instances to get them back up and running - if I remember correctly - I think happened from 1.15 to 1.16 cloud update ..

I read and heard about other experiences than 'always-up'. All infrastructure can fail. Important questions to answer: how long can your company sustain a system-down period. What is the fallback in case of prolonged 'cloud' system-down.

@Torsten, when we were offering to host clients’ own systems and were registering as a cloud/hosting supplier on FileMaker Inc’s web site I refused to tick the box ‘guaranteed 24/365 uptime’. It was a check box ticking exercise and in reality an impossible promise.

We had problems yesterday due to a massive DDoS attack. It was affecting all our servers, but not taking them down. We had a few contacts reporting problems and identified the source quickly. All key client contacts were immediately emailed regarding the situation. Later, a second message was sent with a status update before the impact of the attack subsided.

The key to this is not about false promises, but keeping our clients informed. Instead of receiving many complaints about interruption to service, we have received countless messages thanking us for the information provided and our efforts to resolve the problem. In turn our clients were able to inform their clients and staff.

It is how companies act when things go wrong that shows their true worth, not when everything is going right.

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That's not the infrastructure's fault. That problem was caused by the Claris team. They should have paid more attention to my next point, "The "don't touch the OS" policy is very good for stability." :smile:

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We need a shorthand reference that is unambiguous. I've just posted a straw poll with a bunch of geeky abbreviations for anyone who cares to express an opinion.

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@JasonMark, apologies if your original post has gone off track and thank you to @Malcolm for intervening by creating a new thread.

Speed problems are always the hardest to resolve. We’ve found that the majority of these tend to be with either the route to the hosted server, with the slowest part usually being the customer’s own Internet connection, or the design of the database not being optimised for use over the slower bandwidth of the Internet when compared to an Ethernet based LAN.

Speed aside, I’d recommend you establish how vendors help with the constantly changing system requirements. At the moment, we don’t know when tech specs are likely to change for FileMaker 19, but historically the annual updates have impacted on the local computer’s OS, primarily if you’re using Macs, Windows not so much.

As I understand it, Claris/FileMaker have forced a server upgrade on their customers each year and, with 1 version back compatibility, ultimately forces a FileMaker Pro update on each user’s computer. If running Macs, the very poor legacy OS support, could mean annual (or at least bi-annual) OS updates and eventually replacement hardware.

Another thing to watch out for is stability. Claris Cloud (AWS) was released in 2016, but 3-years later it was relaunched as Claris Cloud 2. My understanding is that the original Claris Cloud is now deprecated and that the responsibility of moving from this to the new cloud is with the customer. The Apple corporation has no idea that businesses require stability (Microsoft gets it, but that is their market) and that constant change is both a diversion and expense that businesses could do without.

The final thing worth considering is support and assistance in setting up or making changes, which will be dependent on your own skills and time you have available.

As mentioned, we are no longer taking on new hosting customers, as we are focussing on our FileMaker SaaS products, hence we have no axe to grind as far as your potential decision.

Kind regards
Andy

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Thanks Andy. Speed is definitely an issue, and my current host suggested they switch us to Linux, which from what I've seen here is much faster. At first I was concerned, but since OS X and Linux are pretty closely related and since I've seen some data on the speed improvements I think this will be a big boon for us (fingers crossed).

The bigger issue I'm facing is the frequent disconnects. I'm having 3 of the 8 staff I surveyed who have the problem "a few times a day" where they lose their Filemaker connection while working on it. I've run speed tests and they're reasonable (40Mbps-110Mbps depending on the person) and they don't loose their connection to their Zoom calls (for example). They are running older versions of 19.x, not the latest and I'm working with the school district IT department to try to fix that as that could be the problem, but that could be a month or two out before we get permission to roll that out to our staff.
It sounds like Filemaker Cloud 2 isn't going to give me what I need, in terms of dependability, so I'm probably going to either stay with my current host or flip to one of the recommended ones here. I'm not the person to manage it myself. It's well worth a couple of grand a year to have someone who KNOWS Filemaker server keeping it patched and running for me, and having a phone number that can be called in case of emergency.

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