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15Jan 2016

FileMaker Server on Amazon Web Services Quick Start Guide

About the Author

Mike Duncan Mike Duncan

Mike is an AWS Certified Solutions Architect as well as a certified FileMaker Developer. In addition to his work, Mike also enjoys pursuing his art, freelance writing, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Comments (28)

Greg Zielinski - January 18, 2016

Thank you so much for this short guide .. very informative. I’ll definitely give it a go soon.

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Duncan Baker - January 18, 2016

As always, great info Mike. AWS can be intimidating for beginners. For those needing more guidance with the AWS set up process, we posted a couple articles some time back. See here:
http://www.soundsessential.com/news-information/item/filemaker-server-on-amazon-web-services-part-1
and here:
http://www.soundsessential.com/news-information/item/filemaker-server-on-amazon-web-services-part-2
Hope those help anyone getting stuck when checking out AWS.

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Pierre - January 18, 2016

Good job ! If you are planning to use FileMaker Server only on port 5003 (no web), do you recommand to pay and install SSL certificate? Why ?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - January 19, 2016

    Hi Pierre,

    Whether or not to include SSL in your deployment depends on the project, but I would consider it for production servers especially if they are going to be generally accessible from the internet. You can also limit where your server can be accessed from with the network architecture, and require a VPN connection as well.

James Glendinning - March 2, 2016

Hi Mike,
I wonder if you have done any analysis of costs/benefits of other cloud service providers that you’d care to share? It’s complex trying to compare apples-for-apples for these things, but I am also considering Microsoft Azure, and I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts?..

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - March 2, 2016

    Hi James,
    I have only started researching Azure in more depth, which looks to be competitive in their offerings. It is true that it gets complex when comparing services, but for virtual host running Windows, capable of running FileMaker Server, AWS still appears to come out ahead by a good margin looking at price alone. I will continue to look into these services and follow up.

Brian munroe - May 18, 2016

If you stop the instance, do you need to reinstall fm server when you start another instance? And related question would be can you schedule instances to start and stop automatically based on date and time?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - May 18, 2016

    No need to reinstall software once you have it configured. You can also save a machine image (AMI) once you have it set up just how you like it. Starting and stopping on a schedule is definitely possible in several ways. For example, this could be something AWS CLI (Command Line Interface) could manage.

Dan Simonson - September 5, 2016

This was a great post! I now have my own FM server in the cloud. The only part that gave me problems was realizing I had to make the rule opening Port 5003 _twice_ – once when setting up the instance and then again in the Windows firewall settings. Thanks!!

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - September 5, 2016

    Thanks Dan! You are correct, the default is the Windows firewall is turned on and you need to allow port 5003. This is in addition to the AWS security group settings, which you can think of as a network firewall.

Nick L - October 7, 2016

Hey, great post! AWS pricing looks complicated, if I wanted to run a very large FMS for 100 webdirect clients any suggestions on the best instance. Also do I need to consider the data In/Out charges, any rule of thumb as to how to guestimate this!?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - October 7, 2016

    Hi Nick,

    One thing that helps is this calculator for estimating costs: https://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html

    Data transfer rates are usually a small percentage of the bill, so finding the right size for your solution is more important, I think. Fortunately, with EC2, you can scale your instances up and down as you find the need to. Once you find the right size, you can reduce costs further by purchasing for a year in advance and save quite a bit.

    Mike

John - October 20, 2016

I think this may be a daft question but am going to ask it anyway 🙂 I assume as it’s a windows-based system the server must be a Windows server and the databases hosted on it developed for Windows rather than for Macs?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - October 20, 2016

    Hi John,
    FileMaker Server runs great on Windows Server, which is an available option on AWS EC2 instances. That works perfectly fine with all supported clients. Your solution can be developed for Mac, iOS or Windows, or all of the above.

John - October 20, 2016

Hi Mike Thanks for such a prompt response. That’s excellent news. I think I’ll give it a go and see what happens 🙂

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Ronnie Higgins - December 7, 2016

It’s been nearly a year since your initial post, so I wanted to confirm that Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Base is still the ideal choice for AMI?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - December 8, 2016

    Hi Ronnie,

    FMI has not announced support for Windows 2016 server so 2012 R2 is still the one to use. You will note, however, that the minimum recommendation for FMS 15 has increased RAM requirements, so the best fit for that would be a t2.large instance.

    Mike

Mark Wyckoff - February 13, 2017

Quick Question related to the load balancing capabilities of AWS: Can a FileMaker database file be placed on a shared location and have two aws instances pointing to it? If not, then I guess we would have to extract data to a RDBMS like SQL Server, utilize the FMPro solution for forms etc., and then the load balancing would work?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - February 13, 2017

    Hi Mark,

    I would not consider this for a production environment. It may be possible to come up with a custom metric to determine how many users are currently connected to a server and use that to determine where to connect users, otherwise you are only counting on existing metrics like processor or memory to route users to instances. What you suggest by moving the monolithic database portion to a different system, and only using FM for the application layout could work, but you have the same issue of counting users per server instance. It might be better at this point to direct groups of users to distinct instances instead of load balancing a single endpoint.

    Mike

Philippe Mordellet - March 21, 2017

Hi Mike,
I’m running a small business (less than 5 employees). Is it possible to buy a licence of FM Pro and install it on Aws the way you explained?
Thank you for your great work!
Best regards,
Philippe

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - March 21, 2017

    Yes, that can be used very successfully. We can also help with this setup as well.

      Philippe Mordellet - March 21, 2017

      Thanks Mike for your quick response!

      If I can’t get it up running myself I will surely consider your offer.

      Best regards,
      Philippe

Tom - May 6, 2017

Hi Mike
Does Soliant offer setting up a AWS server for a fee as well as answer an technical question that may arise?
I current pay a hosting company to do this but they are not AWS

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drbilliam - April 12, 2018

Thanks. Very helpful. One thing I’m not sure I saw was reference to which if any, plugins they support?

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    Mike Duncan
    Mike Duncan - May 9, 2018

    Support for plugins would be the same as any Windows server. No difference there.

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