FileMaker Cloud

FileMaker Cloud lets developers host their solutions on Amazon AWS and looks to be the future of FileMaker Server. While Cloud is pretty different from the Server we all use now, all current SeedCode apps work in the new FileMaker Cloud. That includes DayBack Calendar, GoZync, ProMaps, and SeedCode Complete.

FileMaker Cloud and SeedCode Templates

And for most apps, you don’t need to do anything to get them working. FileMaker Cloud does require that the databases you upload be encrypted and that can be a little strange with GoZync but it works great and you’ll find a note about the easiest way to upload and encrypt GoZync here.

If you’re using FMChat, offline notifications won’t work from FileMaker Server as Cloud does not (yet?) support scheduled scripts on the server. Online notifications will still work, but you’ll need to set up a robot machine to run offline notifications.

FileMaker Cloud – what it means for developers

FileMaker Cloud is very new. And this first incarnation still has quite a few gaps between its capabilities and those of regular FileMaker Server. (For details, compare the two here.)

So for now, what it really means is that FileMaker, Inc. (FMI) is building the right product, focussing on the deployment problem, and building toward a server that requires a lot less babysitting. These are very good things. And it shows that FMI is leveraging existing tech when it can (using Amazon Simple Email Service ‘SES’, Elastic Cloud Compute ‘EC2’, etc.) and inventing where it has clear differentiators.

And we’re very optimistic about where they could take this new product.

For now, the biggest issues around Cloud are that it requires FM15, doesn’t support CWP, scheduled server scripts, or external authentication, doesn’t support a custom FileMaker WebDirect homepage, and only supports plugins if they have been designed to run in Linux.

Admittedly, that is a pretty personal list. Check out the links below for more.

The backup options are also a little strange to folks used to the flexibility of FileMaker Server. For some, that will mean they can’t move critical databases to Cloud…not that you’d want to move critical apps to a first-gen platform anyway. =) But Cloud is perfect–right now–for all that less-than-critical stuff and I’d encourage folks to try it out and get familiar with what is undoubtedly the future of FileMaker Server.

Some FileMaker Cloud References

FileMaker’s Overview

Backup Strategies (FileMaker Help)

Comparing Cloud and FMS

Backup Strategies (Soliant’s Overview & Workarounds)

Amazon Instance Calculator (pricing aid by Richard Carlton Consulting)

Some more arcane limitations are in the help under, “FileMaker Cloud Considerations“.

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  • Stephen Gallagher

    Thanks John…. Appreciate the insights….. Lets hope they are committed to long term improvements……

  • Malcolm

    Regarding the need for a robot machine to support missing features in Cloud. Some people will be wondering why Cloud computing (FileMaker style) means having to commission a new machine and purchase an extra user license for the robot. If you use the new machine to run server locally you save the cost of the user license, you don’t have to pay AWS a monthly fee, and you get the full functionality of FileMaker Server. Why would those people consider Cloud?

  • Alan

    For us, it is a real shame that FMI are going headlong down the ‘only works with Server’ route and, if your interpretation is correct (and I’m sure it is) now ‘only works with Server on the web’.
    Our customer base is SMBs who have no interest in the (relatively) huge expense of a server set-up for 6 users. Ten users was fine. And we have frequently won customers because we were the only supplier offering a non-web-based solution. Not everyone works in locations with a reliable, fast, web connection.
    I can’t see how FMI are encouraging their SMB market any longer – it looks like we are just an embarrassment – and many times people admit that FM is ‘not the right solution’ to compete with The Big Boys. If your view of where FMI is going is correct, we will have to withdraw gracefully. Shame.

    • seedcode

      Hey Alan,

      Just to clarify, I don’t see them getting rid of the on-premises server. Just that, over time, we’ll likely be able to do more with the Cloud server than we can with the local one, (Not unlike how we can currently do more for our clients if they have server than if they don’t.)

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