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Bozocity
04-23-2006, 03:40 PM
How is it that a G5 Dual 1.8 can serve FileMaker Pro files (via FileMaker Server), and yet a mere Wintel Acer notebook can access the files faster over the network than the G5 can access them on the same machine? (Other than maybe with speed, I've never had trouble running the client and the server on the same box.) The G5 has the stock GeForce FX 5200 graphics card. Could the problem be one of drawing the screens, and would a faster graphics card help? I've been told that faster graphics cards only help with frame rates for video and games, yet I notice that in Expose, when showing all windows (with the F9 key), the windows creak and pause as they miniaturize and spread out.

I'm also planning to move to Aperture or Light Room, and wonder whether they have any taxing animations that would work better with a faster card. Apple's specs for Aperture do not include the GeForce FX 5200, yet Apple tech support says it will work. Would that be slowly?

If I need a new card, how good do I need? I know where to get an Apple OEM ATI Radeon Pro 9800, 64MB, for $65, an older card but a sweet price.

Damien
04-23-2006, 03:46 PM
I doubt your video card is the problem. Have you tried changing the settings for ethernet? Network Preferences>Ethernet tab then configure manually.

gigabit and full duplex would be where I would start (if you are on a gigabit network)

Bozocity
04-23-2006, 06:56 PM
If I could get the Ethernet to work faster, that would improve the speed of the Wintel notebook, which is *already* running the database faster than the G5 hosting it! Could it be that the processing on that lowly Wintel is actually faster than on the Dual G5? It could be that the G5 serves data plenty fast, but actually does not crunch it so well.

unclemac
04-23-2006, 08:07 PM
Filemaker Server should optimized by being the only thing running on your Server. It should not be a work station for any other purpose. In by-gone versions you could actually corrupt data by running a FM client and FM Server at the same time on the same machine.....a real no-no.

To the best of my knowledge, this is no longer a problem with 5.5v4 running on 10.2.8 or later. But besides being slow on the server itself, the user on the server could be slowing down everyone else hitting the server, depending on load, number of users, etc.

Do yourself a favor and read the FM Server "Best Practices". Download: here (http://filemaker.com/downloads/pdf/fms_best_practices.pdf).

Pretty easy to read, clear and sensible. Well worth the time.

From page 8:

Tuning

Proper tuning of FileMaker Server seems to be an elusive task; either it is set up to do far more than it needs to, increasing overhead to a detriment, or it is installed as a substandard application, treated as if it is not important enough to devote a computer to. First and foremost, devote a computer exclusively to the task of being the FileMaker Server. Do not attempt to make this machine be the fileserver, web server, email server, domain controller, DNS server or anything else. The FileMaker Server documentation clearly states that this is the ideal situation. It is not just a good idea, it is imperative if you want FileMaker Server to work reliably with great performance. Many smaller businesses successfully use the FileMaker Server as the fileserver, domain server, etc., but this practice is generally detrimental to the performance of FileMaker Server and can lead to reduced reliability.


Being a work station counts as "anything else". ;)

Here is another important concept for most versions of FM Server: It uses almost no CPU, but HD performance is critical. If you have a healthy old G4 tower somewhere, you could beef up the drive section with a WD Raptor or two on a SATA card, and free up the G5 tower to be a high power work station - what it does best. More bang for the buck.

After you have the server (and FM Server) optimized, the network would be the next place to look. Depending on which version you are running, the speed of the client machine is key, but no easy way to do anything about that, 'cept getting faster machines.

Yell if I can assist, or if you have more questions. Knowing what OS version, and what FM Server version is a big help too.

Damien
04-24-2006, 03:01 AM
If I could get the Ethernet to work faster,


You wouldn't be making the ethernet work faster you would be making the G5 access the ethernet faster

Bozocity
04-25-2006, 05:52 AM
Hey, UncleMac! I'm always grateful that the Webmaster *can* hear me scream!

Since we're in the Graphics Forum, we'll start by saying no way a faster video card for faster screen draws would explain the delays in using FileMaker Client on the Server computer. That much is right?

A faster card might make slow, jerky Expose faster and smoother. Also right?

I confess to having know for years to dedicate a box to Server, but have never done it for lack of a box. The Purse String Master just does not understand these things. I've never had a problem doing this. Most of the time, the server *is* a dedicated box, except when someone hops on for a little word processing or eMail, or, I confess, Photoshop and GraphicConverter to process digital photos.

This is Mac OS X 10.4.x (everything including the new one last week) and FileMaker Server 7.

> FM Server: It uses almost no CPU, but HD performance is critical.

This suggests it needs not so much a separate computer, but a separate hard drive. Has anyone tested that?

> the speed of the client machine is key, but no easy way to do anything about that, 'cept getting faster machines.

This is the point. Could a new Acer Wintel laptop actually be faster processing FileMaker files than a G5 Dual 1.8? Could FM Server using little CPU but fast drives run fine, but FP Pro run more slowly on the mighty G5?

Now an important new question, please, in the wrong forum for the right man, UncleMac.

I am now at one of our satellite offices trying to access FileMaker across the Internet over a new DSL connection. I get the Open Remote and Password dialog boxes, but then the files do not open. Why? It worked fine with the old cable connection, but that was unreliable (dropping the connection often), so we changed to DSL. In Port Forwarding, I have opened more ports on the client than I think I need:

591 needed to connect
5003 needed to network
389 not needed on client?
3389 not needed on client?

Turning off the Firewall does not help.

Big hint? On accessing some of the Router's pages, Safari posts a sheet reading, "Safari can't access the page 192.168.1.1 because Safari can't find the server 192.168.1.1," but then loads the page every time when the sheet is cleared.

TZ
04-25-2006, 06:45 AM
I only know what I've read, and most servers like RAM, according to Crucial (biased? nah) tests show that keeping your database index and search tables memory resident is "crucial" to performance ;)

Then there is disk drive speed. use to be SCSI was the only way.

Gigabit ethernet switch and connections?

Use to be the client was more of a "dumb client terminal" kind of affair, now the client can do more, but maybe it needs fater pipes?

The G5 1.8's are truly "crippled" when it comes to PCI bandwidth. They ain't got a lot. Good at reading data, poor at writing. Not sure how or where - if at all - that comes into play, but an Apple firmware update put what can only be called a 'govenor' limiting writes to 75MB/sec (does NOT affect the two internal SATA ports).

So if you don't have 4GB RAM (the max in 1.8) that would be one thing to consider. Another, upgrade the boot drive and database drive. Or, consider that you'll have to wait for a new box.

Usually a server is also stripped down of what gets installed. Nothing "extra" other than what is essential to operations. And a video card isn't (many boxes are headless and configured remotely anyway and just need a basic PCI video).

There are three forums where I would look for a discussion on FM Server. Server, G5, and maybe Networking.

Bozocity
04-25-2006, 06:59 AM
> There are three forums where I would look for a discussion on FM Server. Server, G5, and maybe Networking.

Thanks. I'll check 'em.

I've got the 4GB RAM, but the wierd thing is, FileMaker Server Statistics show that with 256MB allocated to it, 99+% of all data is found in the database cache. Makes some sense, because the entire database takes up less hard drive space than that.

I don't have Gigabit Ethernet, but speed across the network is not a problem. It's speed on the client running on the server that is slow, but trying to run it there may just be a Bozo no-no.

> The G5 1.8's are truly "crippled" when it comes to PCI bandwidth.

I bought mine because I got a great price on it, or so I thought at the time. Scrounging another $500 for PCI-X (available at the time) or waiting for PCI Express may have made more sense, but you can't chase speed. Still, it's faster than my Beige!

unclemac
04-25-2006, 09:03 AM
FWIW, I think you are way overkill on your server hardware, outside of HD performance.

FWIW, we were serving a huge FM DB to about 300 users on a G4 MDD with 1GB of RAM for a couple years with the data on a high end SCSI array (two Cheetahs configed as a mirror with only FM data on it) booted to a high end ATA drive. The DB got so big that we were risking going over both file and record limitations. Moving up to FM 7 and then quickly to FM 8 upped those limits to a point that we won't every have to worry about it again.

Moving it to a single G5 2.0 xserve did not make a difference. Moving it to a dual G5 Xserve 2.3 did not make a difference. Although TZs tips are always good in a traditional DB or any other server for that matter, more hardware oomph does not make much difference with FM Server. Primarily it does file locking and automated backups. Doesn't sound very impressive, but if you have ever worked with a DB that doesn't handle both of those things very well, you know the definition of pain and suffering.

What did make a difference was moving the served data to a Fibre Channel xserve RAID array. Faster thoughput, seperate channel from the OS, and a built in 512MB cache, over and above the 8MB cache on each drive.

Now it is my understanding that FM Server 7 moved some of the work to the server from the client, to make it more like a "real" DB. FM 8 Server moved most back to the client, although that is supposed to be temporary fix; a soon-to-be released patch will move the work back to the server. :rolleyes:

To check your server, just use your Acivity Monitor and check CPU activity for Filemakerd (damon). On our FM 8 box it never hits more than spikes of of about 15% CPU, and probably averages 5-7% use.

If you want to optimize your current tower, I would consider getting a Raptor for the second internal bay and serve your FM data from it. Optimze the OS as TZ said, don't run anything you don't have too. If you really want everything as snappy as it can be without spending thousands, I would think replacing the OEM boot drive with a Raptor could eek out some gains too.

So you are accessing FM over a WAN at remote locations? That is always rough, because FM was nood designed to do it. It is very "chatty" on any network, sending lots of small packets both ways. Not a big issue on a healthy LAN, but very, very slow over the internet. Too many hops and latency are the real killer. We get around it by serving it to 40+ locations all over the country by using a Win Terminal Services cluster, with Mac clients hitting the TS boxes with MS's free RDC client. Works really well speed wise - just like being local - but pretty much need a full time IT staff to set it up and keep it running. Yuck.

Are you comparing speed (between the Mac and Win box) at the same location? At a similar place on the same network? I still think you should expect that the client will run slower on the server than on any other workstation on the local network, so no way to compare speed fairly between the two machines.

Outta time for now, but I would say you have a network (firewall/NAT/router) issue if you can't see the server remotely. Gotta sort that out first.

Bozocity
04-25-2006, 01:04 PM
UncleMac, you're the best. I always appreciate your advice. You always know what you are saying.

> FWIW, I think you are way overkill on your server hardware, outside of HD performance.

So do I. That's why I did it. I figured for a few boxes running locally and a few over the Internet, how taxing could FileMaker Server be to a mighty G5?

> Although TZs tips are always good in a traditional DB or any other server for that matter,
> more hardware oomph does not make much difference with FM Server. Primarily it
> does file locking and automated backups.

Hhmmm... I could run Server on my old Beige with the XLR8 G4 500, but then there might be noticable issues of bandwidth to the hard drive, or would there be? It has 768MB RAM. I suspect I would gain nothing.

> you should expect that the client will run slower on the server than on any other workstation on
> the local network, so no way to compare speed fairly between the two machines.

That's my question. So the deal is not that the little Acer is outgunning my few years old Dual G5. Sound like I should run it with a smile and not worry.

> FM 8 Server moved most back to the client, although that is supposed to be temporary fix;
> a soon-to-be released patch will move the work back to the server.

Does this mean I should not upgrade to FM8 until the patch is released? My brother depends mostly upon using FM over the 'Net.

I got the Mac at the remote office to access the Server by assigning high "Quality of Service" to FileMaker's ports. Guessed that the DSL was too slow to make the connection at the default settings and won the prize.

> We get around it by serving it to 40+ locations all over the country by using a Win Terminal Services
> cluster, with Mac clients hitting the TS boxes with MS's free RDC client.

So we want Apple Remote Desktop to allow different users to log in separately to different logins on the same computer. That would rock!

unclemac
04-25-2006, 02:36 PM
Good that you got it sorted.


So we want Apple Remote Desktop to allow different users to log in separately to different logins on the same computer. That would rock!

You said it brother. If Apple really wants to play ball in the IT world, they need a TS/RDC equivlant. I know Citrix has a layer that runs on Unix, with no TS at all, so it is certainly possible. Let's hope all of this new talk of virtualization is incorported into Server with the idea of remote access, not going after the consumer/work station model.

Drool....

Don't think I would go as far back as a Beige, but depending on load, a solid DA or QS or MDD with a solid drive setup should work well as a dedicated server. Spend the money on HD performance. Raptors and a Firmtek, or even fairly current SCSI.

My $0.02.

As for upgrading, 8 is a big improvement on file integrity, and is supposed to optimize performance quite a bit over 7, which could translate into good performance gains over the internet. And FM 9 isn't too far off....

TZ
04-25-2006, 04:55 PM
Editor's Notes:

this is a repost from a few days ago, FileMaker pulled the update shortly after originally posting it, not sure what the problem was.

What's new in this version:
Address a wide of issues and bugs such as printing, web publishing, network hosting, calculations, and Finds on unstored calculations.

Client:

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/1603

Server:

* Share databases with 2 to 250 users
* Improve the performance of peer-to-peer database sharing
* Host massive amounts of data
* Administer databases locally or remotely
* Protect your data with additional security features

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/1605

Bozocity
04-25-2006, 06:38 PM
Let's hope all of this new talk of virtualization is incorported into Server with the idea of remote access, not going after the consumer/work station model.

Drool....

As a wannabe nerd more than a real nerd, I want to see FileMaker bring consumer/work station simplicity *and* hard core IT standards to everybody. No one else has the potential to do that soon. Imagine what a wannabe like me could do with that! My next trick is to start using Instant Web Publishing to make my databases available on Web-enabled cell phones, maybe Treos. That would keep my wanderlust brother happily working on the road and help us outsmart our competition. Should be possible.


As for upgrading, 8 is a big improvement on file integrity, and is supposed to optimize performance quite a bit over 7, which could translate into good performance gains over the internet. And FM 9 isn't too far off....

There was a long mixup in shipping my 8, which FileMaker fixed. Good company. I now have the disks, and will install it when I get home.

You gotta love Macs. I routinely leave the office for days at a time with the Server running and have only once had to talk my secretary through restarting it (after an extended power failure), no problem. Try that with Windows!

With that, I think we've done a good thread in the wrong forum, so I'll check out. See ya again soon here in cyberworld!