By David Happersberger  Posted on  November 8th, 2016  in  Hosting, Licensing, FileMaker

FileMaker Cloud for AWS Overview

filemaker cloud logo awsFileMaker came out with a new way to deploy your app with FileMaker Cloud! This new product is available through Amazon Web Services (AWS) which gives you FileMaker Server in minutes.

FileMaker Cloud is ideal for remote work groups/companies that don’t have an IT company or someone in-house that can manage the time and effort involved in running a dedicated FileMaker Server machine.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Cloud Setup Demo

Licensing

Some important FileMaker Cloud licensing information is below.

  • FileMaker Cloud HAS to be annual licenses, whether it is FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT), Volume Licenses, or a Site License. If you have perpetuity licenses and are interested in FileMaker Cloud, contact us to discuss converting to FileMaker Annual licensing. If you have an Annual Volume License (AVLA) you have to have at least 5 connections or more in order for it to work on FileMaker Cloud.
  • There are two different ways to license FileMaker Cloud, directly through AWS and Bring Your Own License (BYOL).
  • The first way is to buy directly through the AWS Marketplace. The perk of going through the AWS Marketplace is that there is hourly options available, instead of just annual. However, the hourly options are 975% more expensive than annual licenses and are typically used for rare occasions such as seasonal use or to further test a solution. To save money by purchasing hourly, you would have to use your FileMaker Cloud instance less than 37 days in a year.
  • Purchasing FileMaker Cloud licenses directly through AWS limits you to four types of license types, Annual FileMaker Licensing for Teams (AFLT) with 5, 10, 25 or 100 users.
  • If one of the four available licenses types doesn't suit your needs, you definitely want to utilize Bring Your Own License (BYOL) option. Contact us to discuss getting you the best license for your FileMaker Cloud instance.

Benefits of FileMaker Cloud

Fast Setup

As previously stated, arguably the best part of FileMaker Cloud is that you can have it up and running in about 30 minutes! Compare that to when you purchase your own dedicated machine to be used internally where you have to purchase the machine online or in a store, wait for it to be shipped, then go through the process of setting up the software, hardware and network which can take days!

Reduced Maintenance

When you have your own dedicated server, even after the initial set up described above, there is still more time that goes into making sure everything is running optimally. The main time impact saved with FileMaker Cloud is the updates and monitoring of OS updates, as well as FileMaker Server updates. Having an internal system requires you to check in to make sure that the OS is up-to-date as windows comes out with patches at least once a month, if not more. With FileMaker Cloud this is all done automatically.

Security and Peace of Mind

Something that everyone worries about these days is security with all of the data breaches that you hear on the news. With FileMaker Cloud, security is made easy. For starters, AWS is responsible for the physical security of the server hardware as well as the energy costs of having a data centers; this means you don’t have to worry about someone breaking into your office and literally taking all of your data. FileMaker Cloud also comes with a SSL certificate that is apart of the initial setup. This feature would need to be done manually on your own dedicated FileMaker Server machine otherwise.

Additionally, FileMaker Cloud comes with automatic backups that happen every 20 minutes and is stored for one week. Of course with your own dedicated machine you can customize this, but FileMaker Cloud comes preset with this and is a part of the easy setup of 30 minutes or less.

Unsupported Features in FileMaker Cloud

With all this awesomeness why wouldn’t I want to use FileMaker Cloud!? One might ask. There are really only a handful of specific scenarios that FileMaker Cloud may not be a good fit for you and your organization.

  • Custom Web Publishing with PHP and XML – If you are, or are wanting to integrate with your website for instance, FileMaker Cloud does not support PHP or XML.
  • Plugin Support - If you are using any plugins in your application, you'll need to make sure they have a new version that supports Linux for the FileMaker Cloud.
  • External Authentication – FileMaker Cloud does not support external authentication via Active Directory/Open Directory. It does, however, support custom app authentication via FileMaker user accounts and now OAuth 2.0 with Amazon, Google, or Microsoft Azure AD. Learn more about the in our FileMaker Cloud 16 overview.
  • Server Side Scripts – FileMaker Cloud now allows for server side scripts to run available via FileMaker Admin API as of v1.16 on October 25th, 2017. Download our free FileMaker Cloud Schedule Manager to setup and manage your FileMaker Cloud Server Side Scripts.

Moving to FileMaker Cloud

After reading this and learning more about FileMaker Cloud you may see it as a great fit for your organization and saving you time and money compared to managing your in-house server. However, there are additional items to keep in mind aside from the unsupported features above.

The main point is the optimization on how your application(s) are built. With having a FileMaker Server in your Local Area Network (LAN) you will have much better speed compared to anything traveling across the Wide Area Network (WAN). You may have to go through a series of steps to optimize your application(s) before moving it to a server in the cloud or else your experience may be drastically different. With this being said, if all, or most of your employees are all in one location where the current in-house server is located, it will likely be best to keep it in house. You can't beat the latency and speed of accessing a database on your LAN versus traveling back and forth across the internet on WAN.

FileMaker realizes that customers with an existing in-house server will need to test FileMaker Cloud to see if it is a good fit for them, so they are providing a 30-day grace period to convert the FileMaker Server software. If you have questions or would like for us to review, contact us for a free technical analysis, to review and assist in optimizing your application(s) before moving to the FileMaker Cloud.

Conclusion

FileMaker Cloud is fast and easy to set up and can scale with little effort. There are a lot of reasons that FileMaker Cloud would be a great fit for you and your organization, between minimal impact of IT staff doing updates and deployment, to the benefits of AWS responsible for security and scalability, FileMaker Cloud is a huge benefit and welcomed addition to the FileMaker Family.

Note about freeing up license keys

I tested setting up FileMaker Cloud before doing the recorded demo and in turn, needed to free the license key in order to use it again. I terminated the server instance thinking this would release the server license key. In doing so, I received an Error 3030 "License Key has already been used for FileMaker Cloud." when trying to enter the license key for a new instance. I came to find that you have to deactivate the license key through the Server Admin Console before terminating an instance to free up the license key. If this happens to you, you will need to call FileMaker Support and have them manually release the license key for your new instance.

Still unsure of FileMaker Cloud is the right fit for you?
Contact Us to discuss further your goals and how we can be of service.

David Happersberger thumbnail
David Happersberger

David is our FileMaker Licensing specialist who enjoys talking to customers and explaining all the options available to get you the best licensing while saving you money. He is great at assisting customers with their custom FileMaker needs, all the while with a smile and positive can-do attitude.

FileMaker 18 Certified Developer
FileMaker 17 Certified Developer
FileMaker 16 Certified Developer
FileMaker 15 Certified Developer
FileMaker 14 Certified Developer
FileMaker 13 Certified Developer
FileMaker 12 Certified Developer
FileMaker 11 Certified Developer
"We were actually able to add more features than we thought would be possible within our budget. We always experienced a ‘can do’ attitude and DB Services was incredibly patient and easy to work with."
Courtney Hartman
Art Director
"The new FileMaker custom website interface is very user-friendly and easy to follow for our clients. In addition, it is much faster than the old Instant Web Publishing (IWP) interface. Thank you and all the others who have helped us out at DB Services. I am very grateful for the excellent service you provide us. Its nice to know we can call you for help if we have an issue."
Wayne Capek
President
"We needed a solution that would simplify the administration of our responsibilities under our contract with the State of Indiana. We have seen a dramatic increase across the state in the number of potential foster and adoptive parents that have begun the preparation and training process. This increase has resulted in a significant opportunity for children available for adoption. That’s a big win for everyone! And it’s all because we can refer potential parents to the proper state contacts efficiently and quickly."
Chris Morrison
Executive Director
"Thank you for all of your expertise and valuable help. I am so grateful to have found DB Services."
Linda Findlay
Owner
"Thank you for our new database system. We transitioned from a carbon copy paper based system to a digital database. The software has saved us time and money. We used to archive all our jobs in cabinets, now we can look up a job in seconds from anywhere. The software allows us to easily email estimates to our customers in pdf format. In a year there was a return on investment just from eliminating the purchasing of our carbon forms."
Todd Cartmel
Owner
"The new system allows us to create and track jobs for customers along with inventory, something we had been doing with separate word and spreadsheet files. Because it’s now so intuitive, new staff members are able to begin using the database immediately without our usual training session and ‘cheat sheets’ for getting around within the file."
Tom Andrews
President