Using FileMaker Pro on an ordinary desktop computer to host your files is easy and decidedly inexpensive, but it has some pretty severe drawbacks. First, it can handle no more than nine guests at once. If you have more, you have to find a better way. There are some less obvious problems as well, including the following:
If somebody's working on the host computer, chances are they're doing more than just FileMaker. The more you do on a computer, the more likely it is to crash—especially after you contract the next email virus. The host in a peer-to-peer setup can sometimes be unstable. You probably don't want your database server interrupting your office workflow. But more serious than that, databases that crash often are likely to get corrupted. And that's not safe for your data.
FileMaker Pro is designed for using databases, not hosting them. It does an admirable hosting job, but it simply wasn't built for speed or large numbers of simultaneous users.
As you remember from Chapter 1, you should close databases before you back them up. But if they're open on a host computer, you have to disconnect all the guests before closing the files. This necessity makes midday backups a little inconvenient.
The answer to all these problems—and more—is FileMaker Server. It's a special piece of software designed for one thing: turning a dedicated computer into a lean, mean, and stable database host. When FileMaker Server hosts your databases, you can have 250 guests connected at once. ...