Starting FileMaker Server - File Maker

Once you’ve configured FileMaker Server as just described, you’re ready to copy some databases into the FileMaker Server folder and fire it up. (Make sure FileMaker Server is not running until you’ve got the databases copied over properly.) Once the databases are copied over, you’ll try to log in to them and then log in to do some remote administration. You’ll need at least one FileMaker Server computer and one connected guest computer to test this all out.

Copy the Databases into the FileMaker Server Folder
Your FileMaker databases must be in a certain location on your FileMaker Server in order for the FileMaker Server software to host and share them. They may be anywhere in FileMaker Server’s root application folder or in a nested folder within that folder.

You might ask, “Well, if I’m supposed to never allow file sharing to my File- Maker Server, how am I going to copy the databases over there now or in the future?” There are a few options. One is to use removable media such as a CDRW or a Zip disk. Another is to turn file sharing on temporarily, but turn it off as soon as you’re through. A third option would be to set up your FileMaker Server for remote control with a product like Timbuktu, PCAnywhere or GoToMYPC. But remember that remote control software brings security issues with it, especially if requires that you punch holes in your firewall in order for it to operate.

Once you’ve made sure that the “Darn Good Security System” databases are set up to be shared (and FileMaker Pro has quit, if you’re checking for this on your FileMaker Server computer), copy the entire “Darn Good Security System” folder into your FileMaker Server folder on your server.

Starting FileMaker Server on Various Platforms
Here’s how to set up FileMaker Server for sharing on the various platforms as well as how to turn FileMaker Server off:

Mac OS Classic: Launch the FileMaker Server application by double-clicking its icon. To have FileMaker Server start when you restart the computer, add an alias to it in your Startup Items folder in the system folder. To stop the service, quit the FileMaker Server application.

Mac OS X: Two applications run FileMaker Server in Mac OS X: FileMaker Server Config and FileMaker Server. To start either application, click its icon, or add an alias, as for Mac OS Classic, to start the application automatically.

To start the sharing service in FileMaker Server, click the Start Server button in the FileMaker Server window. To quit FileMaker Server Config, go to the FMServer Config > Quit FMServer Config menu item; to quit FileMaker Server, click the Stop Server button in the FileMaker Server window.

Windows NT: Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel then double-click Services. Find FileMaker Server, highlight it, and press the Start button.Press the Startup button, then press Automatic to start FileMaker Server automatically when you restart the computer. To stop the service, highlight FileMaker Server and select Stop from the Action menu.

Windows 2000: Go to Start > Programs > FileMaker Server Console, then select Services in the Console Tree. Choose FileMaker Server in the detail windows, then select Start from the Action menu. To stop FileMaker Server, select Stop from the Action menu. If you double-click the FileMaker Server service, you’ll get a little dialog where you can set the start-up type to Automatic to have FileMaker Server start when your computer starts.

A Note on Stopping FileMaker Server
Stopping the FileMaker Server service can take several minutes. The reason is that if there are users logged in to any shared databases when you quit FileMaker Server, you will be asked to send them a message and specify how long each user has to exit the database before FileMaker Server auto-logs them off. That dialog looks like this:

A Note on Stopping FileMaker Server

Remote Administration
Now that the databases are set up on the server, return to your guest computer and fire up FileMaker Pro again. Go to File > Open Remote, then double-click the name of your FileMaker Server and enter the remote administration password you specified. Three FileMaker databases should open, which you’ll use to administer your FileMaker Server remotely (they are created temporarily every time you log in to FileMaker Server remotely). The main database, YourFMPServer_Admin (where the string, “YourFMPServer” equals the name of your FileMaker Server), looks like this:

Remote Administration

The Folders Tab
The Folders tab lists all folders in the FileMaker Server folder that contain the databases being served, as well as the number of databases in each folder. To sort the list click the column headings. The arrows to the right of each folder lets you expand and contract the view, showing and hiding the databases within that folder. The active buttons at the bottom are:

Open File Brings up a dialog where you can select a FileMaker database to open and share via FileMaker Server. (For a database to be shared it must be opened first, either by starting FileMaker Server or by using this dialog.) If FileMaker Server cannot open a database, it will warn you and will write the reason to the event log. Usual reasons for FileMaker’s inability to share a database would be that the maximum of 125 open databases has been reached or that the database you’re trying to open for sharing has multi user sharing turned off.

Close File Closes all databases in the folder after warning connected users. If a single database is selected, only that database will be closed.

Get Details Select a database, then click this button for some statistics on it including the number of guests, number of records, file size, and so on.

Send Message Brings up a dialog where you can specify a message to send to all users connected to databases in the indicated folder or an individual database.

Send Message to All Brings up a dialog where you can specify a message to send to all users connected to databases being served by this copy of FileMaker Server.

The Files Tab The Files tab shows all databases open by FileMaker Server. Most of the buttons work as you might expect, except that the arrows next to each database expand the view to show all users connected to an individual database. If you click on a user, the Disconnect Guest button becomes active, allowing you to send a message to just that guest. Get Details gives you information on a selected user including their IP address, idle time, and so on.

The Guests Tab The Guests tab shows all connected guests and the little arrows next to each guest shows the databases that user has open/is a guest of. All of the buttons at the bottom do what you would expect them to (send a message to just the selected guest, and so on).

Buttons Common to All Dialogs
The Usage button at the top of all dialogs brings up the Usage Statistics window, which allows you to monitor FileMaker Server’s performance. The statistics you can monitor are:

  • Transactions: Number of user requests per second.
  • Network K/sec: The amount of data going back and forth over the network.
  • Guests: The number of connected users.
  • Files: The number of open databases.
  • Disk K/sec: The amount of data written to the hard drive.
  • Cache Unsaved %: The percentage of the cache that is currently unsaved.
  • This number should be as low as possible so a server crash won’t cause a large loss of data.
  • Cache Hit %: The number of times (as a percentage) that FileMaker Server received data from the cache (RAM) instead of from the hard drive. Because it’s much faster to read data from RAM than from the hard drive, this number should be between 90 and 99. If it’s not, increase the size of FileMaker Server’s database cache. (Monitoring cache hits over time will give you a better picture of the average cache hit percentage, by leveling out the peaks and valleys in this value.) The Refresh button refreshes any open window’s data.

Local Administration
In Mac OS Classic, you can also administer FileMaker Server using the local Administration window, which gives you most of the same functions as the Remote Administration databases. To open the local administration window go to FileMaker Server and choose the Window > Administration Window menu item; the interface is similar to Remote Administration’s.

Performance Monitoring
In order to be sure that your FileMaker Server is running optimally, you should monitor its performance statistics, especially during the first few weeks after setting up and serving your databases for the first time. FileMaker Server on Windows NT and Windows 2000 comes with some built-in monitoring capabilities.

Under Windows NT, you’ll use Windows Performance Monitor, accessible via Start > Programs > Administrative Tools (Common) > Performance Monitor. The “Add to Chart” dialog that comes up looks like this:

Performance Monitoring

Pick “Add to Chart” from the Edit menu, then enter FileMaker Server for Object. Next, select the statistics (cache hits, disk activity, and so on) you want to monitor, clicking the Add button after each selection. Click Done. Now you should see live performance statistics like this:

Performance Monitoring

Under Windows 2000, reach the Performance Monitor by going to Start > Programs > FileMaker Server Console and selecting System Monitor in the Console Tree. Next, click the + (plus sign) on the toolbar and you’ll get an Add Counters box that looks pretty much like the “Add to Chart” dialog. Choose “Select counters from computer” and then choose FileMaker Server under the Performance object. Now you can select which statistics you want to track, clicking Add after each selection. Press the Close button once you’ve finished. You’ll see live statistics plotted on a graph.

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