As much as we’ve heard about Cloud-based software solutions, not all operations are ideal for hosting on external servers. But how can your small business know which is best? Filemaker Pro, a database application that allows users to drag-and-drop database items into forms. With the introduction of FileMaker Pro 12, the company is addressing the industry’s turn toward mobile devices.
Geared toward the iPhone and iPad platforms, the new version of Filemaker Pro comes with themes and interoperability, allowing designers to easily create apps for two of Apple’s most popular products. Apps that would normally take months to complete can be deployed in days, with the FileMaker Go easy transfer tool.
For the developer interested in designing apps on the iPad, FileMaker offers Bento 4, which shares data between apps you create on your iPad to save even more time. Bento also works on Mac computers and the iPhone and it also allows you to track projects, organize contacts, and manage lists.
Still, with so many dropping in-house software in favor of paying a subscription fee to a Cloud provider for use of its software, some small business owners may be asking, should I choose a Cloud solution? FileMaker’s answer is that its software can be used for Cloud-based sharing of databases.
“Most workgroups within a company typically use a mixture of both cloud-based and locally-shared software solutions,” Ryan Rosenberg, VP of marketing for FileMaker, said. “Their decision may be based on whether their decision is to invest in their own servers or whether they prefer to pay for a software service. Many FileMaker Pro customer sites share data locally and also use any of the dozens of hosting services available for sharing FileMaker Pro databases.”
In fact, there are several services that advertise, “professional FileMaker hosting.” This takes what used to be a costly endeavor–purchasing a server and setting it up so multiple users can access databases at once. The cost of those servers, plus the I.T. staff to maintain them, was usually much larger than these Cloud-based providers charge. So, in essence, what will result from this is a hybrid setup in which businesses purchase software like FileMaker Pro, keep its versions updated, but host databases on an external server, where all backups and support are provided by well-trained staff.
The only downside to these services can be speed. Some experts report that for developers who have large databases, bandwidth can at times be stretched to the limit. You’ll also likely have concern about your data being secure. For that reason, it’s important to research any provider in depth to ensure strict security standards are met.
Here are a few FileMaker Pro hosting sites to get you started:
- World Cloud–This Cloud hosting service emphasizes FileMaker as its platform of choice. Monthly subscription fees start at $12 a month, with most plans offering free upgrades of FileMaker software.
- Longterm Solutions–This hosting service also provides FileMaker programming as needed. FileMaker hosting plans start at $34.95 a month for one or two databases, with website hosting included for only $5 a month more.
- Adatasol–FileMaker 12 hosting is advertised prominently on the main page of its website. Adatasol also allows Custom Web Publishing or Instant Web Publishing to directly save webpages to Adatasol’s server. Adatasol charges a flat rate of $45 no matter what services you need. A 30-day trial is available.
With so many FileMaker hosting options available, businesses will likely continue to rely on FileMaker Pro as a preferred database manager for years to come. With the company evolving its technology to recognize mobile devices, customers will be happy to upgrade to the new version.