Configuring FileMaker Server - File Maker

Once you’ve got your server set up and optimized as per the above, connected to the network, and have FileMaker Server installed, you are ready to optimize FileMaker Server’s settings to prepare for serving FileMaker databases to multiple guests. Here’s what to do under the various operating systems.

Use the configuration assistants in the FileMaker Server Console or the Properties dialog box. To access the configuration assistants, go to Start > Programs > FileMaker Server Console. Click any of the icons (Guests, Database Hosting, and so on) and you’ll be taken through wizards that set the preferences for that area. To get to the Properties dialog box, go to Action > Properties in the FileMaker Server Console, where you’ll find a tab for each area of preference, as shown in the following screenshot:

Configuring FileMaker Server

Mac OS Classic
Go to Edit > Preferences. You’ll see tabs similar to the screenshot above.

Mac OS X
Double-click the FileMaker Server Config icon to launch that application. Next select FileMaker Server Config > Preferences.

Server Preferences
Following is a discussion the different FileMaker Server preference areas.

Guests Preferences

Guests Preferences
Enter a number from 1 to 250 in the “Maximum number of simultaneously connected guests” field. Add about 15 percent to your current number of users, because you must restart the server to make changes like this to the configuration.

(You’ll receive an alert if you make preference changes that require a restart.) Still, set the number of users as low as possible because for each user a line of communication is reserved and kept open in FileMaker Server, which uses up resources.

Check “Disconnect Idle Guests” to automatically log off users who have been idle for the specified time period. If you choose to do so, set the maximum allowed time (some FileMaker databases take a while to boot up) and then specify whether to show these idle guests the default idle user message (shown in the dialog) or to display a “Custom message” which you would enter here. (This message displays for a bit before the user is actually kicked out.)

In Windows only, you can require any guest logging in to your databases to be a member of your network’s Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 domain; that is, they must use their Windows user name and password to get to databases in that FileMaker Server’s domain, thus adding an additional level of security. To set this up, check the “Require FileMaker Pro guests to log on to a Windows domain” checkbox in the above dialog under Windows.

Files Preferences
On the Files preferences tab (shown below), you set preferences for the databases being hosted. In the “Maximum number of files to host” field, set the maximum number of databases that can be hosted, from 1 to 125. The lower the number, the more memory is left for FileMaker Server. (This change that requires a restart of FileMaker Server.)

Files Preferences

Database Cache
In the Database Cache area, the “Amount of RAM to reserve for database cache” sets the amount of memory to allocate to FileMaker Server’s cache memory that FileMaker Server can use to process requests from users, write to the hard disk, and so on. Set this to twice FileMaker Server’s system requirements, if you can spare it; if you’re short on RAM, consider upgrading your server’s RAM. Or, if you don’t have tons of RAM to spare, consider using some of your system’s virtual memory, which is hard drive space that’s converted (temporarily) for use as RAM memory. Keep in mind that this slows performance a bit under Mac OS Classic.

The “Flush cache every” setting determines how often the cache is flushed to the hard disk. The lower this setting, the more often changes to data are saved to disk, and the safer (but slower) your system is. Do some speed testing and come up with a happy medium here.

If you check “Allow FileMaker Server to host Single User files”, you can put single-user “databases in progress” on your server and develop them without having a user accidentally log on. This is also a useful way to quickly turn off an active database while you make a small change to it (though everyone but you would need to log off that database first) and then turn it back on.

Check “Allow FileMaker Pro guests to download updates automatically” to automatically update FileMaker Pro on users’ machines with the latest plug-ins when they log in to your solution. You must also put the plug-ins in the AutoUpdate folder in the FileMaker Server folder and enable the Auto Update plug-in on each copy of FileMaker Pro, and your database solution must send a call to FileMaker Server upon launch to look for plug-ins needing an update.

File Types (Windows and Mac OS X Only)
In the FileMaker Server Properties dialog (shown below) you can allow FileMaker Server to share runtime solutions that have been created using the FileMaker Developer Tool. To do so, check the box at the top of the dialog, enter the custom file extensions you used on your bound solution (.cdk or .sos or whatever), and click Add after each. Now put the customextended runtime files in your FileMaker Server folder (or one subfolder down) and you can open, close, or administer them just as you would any .fp5 databases.

File Types (Windows and Mac OS X Only)

The Administration tab (shown below) is where you set up remote administration. First, determine whether remote administration should be disabled or enabled (always enable it with a password). When setting a password, choose one that’s not easy to guess

Configuring File Maker Server

Next, choose whether you want users to see the FileMaker Server in their Hosts dialog with the default (system) name or with a custom name (“Kubica’s House of Data” or something). Custom names are particularly useful in large companies where servers are given names like “AAAAQWE####EEEDED-DDLOTR”) because, when properly chosen, they convey more information.

The Networking tab (shown next) is where you choose settings having to do with how FileMaker Server serves data over the network. First, you select the networking protocol. TCP/IP is recommended for mixed networks (Macs and Windows PCs), though you may have to use AppleTalk if you’ve got an older Macbased network, Then you can select which IP address FileMaker Server will use if -its PC has multiple IP addresses.


The Logging tab (shown below) is where you control FileMaker Server’s logging of usage statistics (number of users, cache hits, and so on). Once this information has been logged to text files you can later analyze it to determine how FileMaker Server is performing (so that you know when it’s time to do some performance tuning). You can also set the size of the event log (for Mac operating systems).


To log usage statistics, check Log Usage Statistics. Then set how often the usage statistics will be captured (from one second to five minutes; five seconds is recommended) in the “Collect and update Usage Statistics every” field. Finally, specify the size of the log file (5MB should be more than adequate and should be sufficient to retain all logged activities over time, assuming you’re backing everything up). On a Mac, there’s also a box in which to set the size of the event log (which logs database openings and closings, logins and logouts, FileMaker Server settings changes, and so on).

Viewing a Log File
Log files are stored in text format and will be located in your root FileMaker Server folder. You can open them using any text editor.

The root FileMaker Server folder stores the previous log files, so you always have the current log and the last log at your disposal for your review.

In Windows NT and Windows 2000 you can use the operating system’s Event Viewer to view logs. In Windows NT, go to Start > Programs > Administrative Tools (Common) > Event Viewer. In Windows 2000, go to Start > Programs > FileMaker Server Console; choose Event Viewer, then double-click FileMaker Server.

Directory Service
Use the Directory Service tab (shown below) to determine how FileMaker Server will be registered on your network’s LDAP directory server so people can find it and see such useful information as the administrator’s name and contact info.

Directory Service

Choose whether to register the FileMaker Server with a directory service, then enter the LDAP server’s IP address or DNS name and then qualify it with its distinguished name. (Your network administrator should be able to make sense of this last field for you!)

In the bottom half of the window, you can specify whether you want users to be authenticated when attempting to access the LDAP server on which your FileMaker Server is listed. You can enter a specific user’s information to authenticate on (enter a specific account name) or allow people to log in anonymously.

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