When you have a FileMaker database, there are a few things to consider when considering where to host it.
The easiest and simple solution is to put the database on the machine of one of the people who uses the database and set it to share. Then, everyone on the local network can link to the database and share the data.
What's difficult to achieve with this setup is allowing people to use the FileMaker database who are outside of the local network. Computers in a local network tend to change their IP addresses occasionally and a moving database presents a moving target for external users.
Ideally, the machine where the database resides would need a fixed IP address, as would the outside of the router used to connect the local network to the internet.
And what happens when the person whose machine the database sits on goes home for the evening and accidentally forgets to leave their machine on? Abracadabra, no database for everyone else.
Instead of using a desktop machine to host the database, it's a good idea to use a dedicated machine to host the system. We'll call this machine a server. We can even attach it to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) so it's immune to short power outages, and plug in a device like an external hard drive so the database can be backed up.
Now everyone can access the database, including users of iPads and iPhones, given FileMaker Go software.
The server would use a fixed IP address behind a router with a fixed IP address, so finding the database wouldn't be a problem for both local and remote users.
Instead of using a normal copy of FileMaker, we could use FileMaker Server, especially designed to serve out FileMaker databases to large user numbers. Even for a small number of users, in fact, FileMaker Server represents a sound investment.
But perhaps the most robust way of running FileMaker is using a dedicated FileMaker hosting company like igeek. Using state of the art server farms, servers are protected by large UPSs in custom-designed facilities.
Servers are backed up nightly and the backups are taken offsite, so if there's a natural disaster, everything can be back up and running with a minimum of fuss.
igeek offer FileMaker hosting for all its FileMaker customers at the bargain rate of £30/month. For this, any database can be hosted so it's permanently available to users anywhere with an internet connection, including to anyone on an iPad or iPhone with a wireless or 3G reception.
Data in a FileMaker database is often business-critical. Put simply, a business lives and dies by its data. Giving it the best platform to be hosted from is therefore key in keeping a business running smoothly.