FileMaker Server 17: Admin Console Redesign

FileMaker Server 17: Admin Console Redesign

Mike Ahern, FileMaker Consultant, IT Solutions

The Admin console in FileMaker Server 17 has been completely redesigned. In this article, we'll go through some of the changes to FM Server with the release of FM 17, some of pros and cons that come with it.  

If you have ever used FM Cloud, the new design should look familiar to you. Below is the main screen when you log into the FM Server 17 admin console.  As you can see it has a clean white interface, just like the FM Cloud console.  You'll notice that the tabs for the different sections are now across the top instead of down the left side and the information displayed is different as well.

It has some new information that didn’t exist on the first screen of the Server 16 admin console. 

  • Real-time Performance statistics for CPU, Ram, Network and disk usage
  • Timestamp of the last backup
  • How many PSOS connections are used out of the maximum you have set
  • How much disk space is being utilized by the server.

The real-time performance stats are a nice quick way to see the last 3 minutes of server performance and appears to be fairly responsive when switching between the 4 tabs. Knowing when the last backup was, is good information to know at a glance.  If you utilize Perform script on server often, you'll find the inclusion of a counter to show how many are running against your maximum value you have set. I have found this to be a very useful piece of information. Likewise, knowing how much disk space is used by the database is a nice feature for those who monitor a server remotely, rather than needing to RDP into the desktop of the computer to get this information from the operating system. 

Switching to the databases tab we can see that all the information is displayed in one pane instead of having to tab between Databases and clients.  Databases show on the left and Clients show on the right. 

Here are a few things I liked about this pane:

  • You can shut down a single database easier as there is a separate pulldown for each database.
  • You have a separate pulldown to interact with all databases.
  • You can choose specific clients to interact with to disconnect or send a message. 
  • You can perform an action on all clients.
  • Selecting a database on the left so its highlighted will show only clients for that database on the right.

The ability to interact with a specific database instead of selecting the database and choosing an action will prevent accidentally selecting “Close all” instead of “Close” over a slow, lagging connection.  To close all databases, you need to choose a different pulldown altogether.  The checkbox next to a client allows you to check individual clients to send a message or disconnect.  The checkbox on the header row allows you to interact with all clients shown in the list at once.

Selecting a database on the left filters the list of clients that show on the right.  Useful if you wanted to see who is connected to a specific database quickly.

The backup tab is a lot different than the Schedules tab.  There is a default schedule set up to back up at midnight.  At first glance it doesn’t appear there is any way to disable that default schedule. In fact, you can’t do it from the admin console at all, you need to drop into the command line to disable it via the command “fmsadmin disable schedule 1”.   

Here are a few things I liked about this pane:

  • The primary purpose of this pane is to take care of backups.
  • You can override the normal retention process by preserving a backup. Once you do that, the backup will be visible in the preserved backups folder.
  • As before, you can configure your own backups in the Backup schedules section.

The next tab is the Configuration tab.  This is where you can stop the database server, configure server settings set up script schedules and more.

Here are a few things I liked about this pane:

  • Schedules are separated from Backups. Now you can see just the schedules you have running without them being clouded by various backups.
  • The folder section allows you to specify a single second folder location for files.
  • You can upload any approved SSL certificate here.  

Here are a few things I disliked about this pane:

  • The process to generate the needed files for SSL certificate has been changed to a command line process again.
  • You can no longer view logs, you must first download them in the Log tab.

The next tab is the connectors tab.  This tab isolates the different methods you can interact with Filemaker server.  You enable Web Direct here, Web & Server plugins, ODBC/JDBC & the new Filemaker API.

Here is the one thing I liked about this pane:

  • The fact that a data API exists for Filemaker.  The ability for other systems to talk to Filemaker through an API allows for better integration by other systems. 

The last tab is the Authentication tab.  Here you can change the licenses for Server and user connections, the admin console password or external authentication.

Here are a a few things I liked about this pane:

  • The fact that external authentication can be done for the admin console via a few methods.
  • You can now also use Amazon and Google external Authentication methods.

There are many other features that we will discuss in an upcoming a blog post. 

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