Optimizing FileMaker Custom Apps When Transitioning from LAN to Cloud


Transitioning your FileMaker application from a Local Area Network (LAN) to the cloud can present some challenges. This article aims to guide you through various approaches to optimize performance, both in terms of software and hardware solutions.

Understanding FileMaker Architecture

FileMaker operates on a fat client/thin server architecture. In this setup, the client computer performs most of the data processing operations. This means that a significant amount of data is sent from the server to the client for processing and then sent back to the server. Fat clients are generally more robust, offer better performance, and can operate independently of a central server to some extent. However, they also require more resources on the client-side, such as memory and processing power.

Why Traditional Caching Won’t Help Much

Increasing caching on either the client or the server won’t significantly reduce delays. For more information on this, you can read this Claris article.

Hardware Solutions

1. Network Assessment

  • Test from different locations, including home.
  • Check for packet loss in your network.
  • Try wired connections and pairing with cell phones for faster internet.

Note: FileMaker is a streaming application, unlike mail or web services.

1.1 FileMaker Go Client

  • Test your application on iPad or iOS devices using FileMaker Go.

2. RDP Server Access

We offer RDP Server hosting as a fixed-cost solution to improve speed. Remote Desktop allows users to connect to a specific computer and control it over the internet. This is particularly useful for businesses with remote or distributed teams. With RDP, the host device powers the software and operating system, displaying it on the client device. This setup is ideal for businesses that want to reduce capital costs and overhead costs related to IT departments. Contact us for a trial or quote.

3. FileMaker WebDirect

FileMaker WebDirect offers a range of benefits, including easy and quick deployment to anyone with a compatible web browser. It allows access to data from most devices, whether you’re in a home office or traveling. You can import or export records and container data, and even deploy a custom web application by hiding and locking the menu bar and status toolbar. However, it’s important to note that FileMaker WebDirect does not have all the features of FileMaker Pro, such as modifying the database design or interacting with the operating system and file system. Contact us for a Zoom call to learn more.

Software Solutions

4. Code Optimization

Optimizing your code for the cloud involves a multi-step process aimed at reducing the amount of data transferred between the client and the server.

a. Identify and Rewrite Slow Code

  • Use FileMaker’s “Perform Script on Server” feature to offload tasks to the server, thereby reducing client workload. Learn more.

b. Use Admin Console Logs

c. Prioritize Code

  • Focus on the slowest code that is run by the most users. This will give you the most significant performance gains.

Note: This approach is more labor-intensive but can yield speed improvements of 2x or even 10x.