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wendykdt

IT wants us to move from local Mac G5 FMS to centralized Windows-based system

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MacDevGuy
I am a total Macintosh devotee from way back when, but I have only good things to say about FileMaker Server running under the Windows OS. If you're going to remain in possession of the server yourself, it is safe to set up Windows Server, install all current patches, make a bootable backup of the HD before hosting any files, and then host your files and just let it run.

 

The problem with the Windows version of FileMaker Server crop up when the IT Dept wants it in the server room; the problem there is that it means you're using a WINDOWS SERVER and then you've got the IT Department problem exacerbated far beyond what it would be if it were a Mac server in their possession:

 

• If it were a Mac server, the typical IT Dept / Server Dept geek would quite possibly turn his nose up at it and ignore it, but because it is a WINDOWS SERVER he's just gotta stick his nose in. Therefore you've got to worry about the following items much more just because the IT folks are more likely to pay attention to a Windows server.

 

• It's a Windows server and they are going to want antivirus software running on it. I'm not saying there aren't IT folk who genuinely believe that MacOS servers oughta have antivirus sw running on them (there are!) but when it comes to Windows servers they'll act like it's corporate suicide to not run antivirus sw on a Windows server, even if it can't be accessed by any other computer except via the FMP7:// protocol (not a vector via which viruses can be spread to the OS itself), and then with regards to that being the only protocol running, see below...

 

• It's a Windows server and they are going to want to run their "manage all Windows servers from a central position" software packages or at an absolute minimum expect to be able to browse folder contents from whatever PC they are sitting at at the time. They call it an "administrative share"; even Windows PCs that allegedly are not set up to deploy file sharing are sharing everything if you have the full-blown Admin password; the C drive's "administrative share" is either $C or C$, I forget which. Anyway, they are NOT going to like it when you tell them to completely disable the entire service called "Server" so that no other PC can browse the FileMaker Server's directories at all.

 

• They will have backup software and some policy that will say all servers are to be backed up via the backup schedule. If it were a Mac server it would not necessarily be exempt from that but they might not have a MacOS version of their favorite backup sw, or it might be less compatible, etc, or as I said before they might turn their noses up at a Mac server and say "who cares?" and leave it out of the backup schedule. But they will think it is freaking NUTS to not have a Windows server in the schedule. Each of them individually will think that can't possibly be right so even if Joe understands why it isn't included, Sue will notice one day that it isn't and will quickly install the sw and include it in the schedule without consulting Joe because EVERYONE knows that EVERY server ALWAYS must be in the backup schedule.

 

•*Updates and patches. Windows geeks are much more worried about exploits if the OS is not kept absolutely up to date. So they will be downloading and installing OS patches while the files are active hosted, which is a bad idea. (Better to wait until there are quite a number that are in need of installation then halt FMServer and install them all over the weekend or something).

 

etc.

 

Ha ha! I am laughing as I read this. I know this is an old post but I had to respond for "educational/informational" purposes.

 

It's a very over-simplified description of the actual problem but every point is based on truth and the worst part of it is this is only the tip of the iceberg of the situation from the position you have been able to observe it from. In reality it's much worse. What's missing are the perspectives of Accounting, Management, IT Architects and Developers, Support Management and Staff - which I could fill in and illuminate further on the subject with additional background but it makes me sick to think about it. I had the opportunity to see the situation from the backend/inside of the i.t. department. Let me give you one example;

 

At a staff meeting with about thirty people which included management, technical support staff, and SMEs, a manager made the statement: "Well, it would probably be better to replace all the Macs, because... ya... you know there's no software available for Macs". Some sat in disbelief and shock, and others politely correcting the facts about this 20 year old farce that Wintel folk had been able to perpetuate in an effort to save their sorry souls from the evil platform known as Macintosh.

 

Now more than five years later what did they end up saving? Nothing. The Windows infrastructure guys were all laid off and replaced with outsource talent and cloud services. If you want to understand this from their perspective I could go on and on. (Feel free to ask). However I will spare you having to listen to all the gory details.

Edited by MacDevGuy
sentence unclear

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MacDevGuy
Dang, hoping for a show stopper. :)

 

Currently, we physically access our Mac OSX FMS11 for things like getting a copy of a local backup to "play" with (we have backups running every 30 minutes to local and external drives). Each night we manually copy a backup from the local drive to our network (although I am/was close to an automated solution on that on the Mac). Occasionally we will need to swap in an updated file in our multi-file legacy database, and close/stop serving the databases for that process. We've also done all installs/updates ourselves and handled the coordination with all 20+ users on PC and Mac. None of these tasks have been an issue since either of us can log into the Mac FMS account with its own password.

It sounds like we will have to rethink a few things... Guess I'll start expanding my list of concerns for IT. I'm quite concerned that they simply don't understand FM. Thanks for helping me start to get a handle on some of this.

 

So Wendy, any hindsight lessons or is this still in discussion nearly 8 months later? (I know large corporation cycles can take years so this could very well still be spinning around for you).

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wendykdt
So Wendy, any hindsight lessons or is this still in discussion nearly 8 months later? (I know large corporation cycles can take years so this could very well still be spinning around for you).

 

FYI to anyone who might read: We managed to deflect this little nightmare. The closest we came was about a month ago when IT took over control of virus protection on all Macs... I had to run interference to ensure they did NOT install their software on the FM Server. So far they haven't... although the scenario of someone suddenly realizing they "overlooked" one Mac is still a possibility, I suppose!

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wendykdt

I just had to check back here... IT simply does not give up. We no longer have a choice; they are moving our Filemaker Server (in fact, our entire ART department, and fonts be damned) from Macs to PCs due to the dangers of "unmanaged" Macs. (No weight is given to the thought that a less homogenized desktop population may actually pose less danger.) The PC Server will be in our department, but the battle is now on to help them understand the issues with virus software, backups (I'm particularly afraid of this one), untested updates being deployed automatically, etc.

 

We're now at FMS (and FMPro) 15, and I assume the dangers remain the same, but if anyone has further feedback, it is welcome.

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AHunter3

With the database files installed but FileMaker Server NOT running, make a complete clone of the hard drive. Swap it out for the internal hard drive and verify that the clone drive will boot properly.

 

Remove the clone physically from the server environment. Keep it at home or something.

 

Hand-write all of the instructions about no antivirus and no backup software and no file indexing onto an index card and laminate it onto the server case. Remove the keyboard and mouse and add a second index card that says "Touch this and DIE".

 

Once a week, minimum, go over to the machine in person, physically, and verify that they aren't running anything they shouldn't be.

 

Manually copy FileMaker Server's scheduled backups folder to a thumb drive or a hot-swappable external (USB, etc) drive and take it with you.

 

I wish you luck.

 

 

PS: for your art department boxes, install Windows on your Macs using BootCamp. Also install Parallels with a VM of the same Windows variant. Maybe they'll let you dual-boot MacOS for the compatibility issues.

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