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I work for a healthcare company with less than 1,000 employees. I am new to FileMaker Pro but my company uses FileMaker Pro (FM Pro) as the frontend development tool. More and more applications will be built using FM Pro.   In the long run :  1. Is FM Pro Embedded DB or MS SQL Server a better choice in the long run for the backend database? 2. What are the pros and cons of using these two databases if we must use FileMaker Pro as the front end tool? 3. If MS SQL Server has been chosen, will there be any compromise with FileMaker Pro on areas such as functionalities, features, programming methods, etc? Thanks! I appreciate your help. 
author avatarJeremy Cox

In general, I think that because FM is a closed system that uses its internal DB to handle not just the data used by the app but the data upon which the app itself is built. This and because the company's preference to use basic JDBC/ODBC or pre-built plug-in access to external data sources, the answer will depend on whether or not you're committed to the FM platform itself. If so, over the long run, you're better off sticking with that as a total package, backing up to an external, more traditional db. This way, you won't run into any performance, security, and management issues that would be inherent in using an external DB as the main source of app data. Honestly, given the closed nature of FM, if it's possible to migrate away, I'd suggest looking into an alternative like Caspio, which is actually built on top of MS SQL server running on AWS.

Here are a few more thoughts in response to your questions as well:

1. Is FM Pro Embedded DB or MS SQL Server a better choice in the long run for the backend database?

Overall, MS SQL Server should be your preference in terms of scalability, security, manageability, and functionality. But as mentioned above, it's only supported at arms-length by FM.

2. What are the pros and cons of using these two databases if we must use FileMaker Pro as the front end tool?

I think if you focus on using the FM DB to handle the build/maintenance of the low-code app itself and simply query an external DB like MS SQL Server for customer-generated (not app artifact) data, then you'll have the best of both worlds. But that will come at a cost in performance, management, security, etc. as mentioned above. Given that you're in healthcare, I'd strongly suggest this approach, as I do not see the same levels of data privacy/security within FM compared to what comes native and as an add-on within MS SQL Server.

3. If MS SQL Server has been chosen, will there be any compromise with FileMaker Pro on areas such as functionalities, features, programming methods, etc?

Yes, you won't be able to fully use MS SQL except as a source of data to populate the FM app front end. If you try to use MS SQL to manage app artifacts, I think the whole app will fall down, sadly or at a minimum only function as a basic app.

author avatarAlessandra Guarino

We are about 30 employees and we are changing Sap HANA to MySQL into our application for non-technical losses for Utilities due to the final cost to end-user.

author avatarDenisMunger
Real User

FileMaker pro compared to MS access:

FileMaker server plays the role ms SQL does.

For 1000 users, you need a client/server architecture.

So your question is about choosing the DB server and the frontend.

In the long run, MS SQL has more acceptance in enterprises than Apple. But MSSQL is much more popular because it’s free.

When it comes to database, access privileges should be your first concern. Are you going to use your current LDAP / AD database? Or will you rebuild an entirely new security schema and maintain it in parallel?

Then you need to address database size and the number of transactions/seconds.

And development and maintainability. If you pick a software more generally accepted in the industry, it should bring savings and easier staff recruitment.

author avatarMohammadAmin Mesbahi

1: Be sure that MS SQL Server is a better choice for your case because you can use your data much simpler for further reporting, integrating, and managing.
2: MS SQL Server is more expensive at start time but your TCO will fewer in the long term. MS SQL Server gives you more advantages with your data management and insight.

author avatarChrichtianNeal
Real User

I have used FM Pro for a paperless construction site and it work seamlessly.

author avatarChrichtian Neal
Real User

So, there you have it... your short-term and long-term objectives would drive your decision better. TrustRadius did a side-by-side analysis below:

author avatarJoe Fernandes
Real User

I have not worked on FM Pro DB. For a company with less than 1000 employees, MS SQL Server will work fine as a DB. We had used Visual Basic as well as SAP BW as front ends with MS SQL Server and it worked fine. MS SQL Server later versions 2016, as well as 2019, have several advanced features. I have not worked with FileMaker Pro as a Front end.

Ariel Lindenfeld
Let the community know what you think. Share your opinions now!
author avatarMohammad Dastpak
Real User

At the first based on my experience we need to calculate software or customer requirements and after that choose the best option. Today all databases have the same options with little difference like Data types, HA, Performance, Security, Backup/Recovery, etc.
for example if you want to design a software with just 5 to 20 users, is that reasonable to use Oracle database service ?
however, from a programmer's point of view evaluating Relational Databases are rated by features like Datatypes, Functions, Index types and etc, DBA's (Database Administrators) vision is different. So my list is
- TCO (Total cost of ownership)
- High Availability Solutions.
- Backup / Restore solutions.
- Performance
- Data Capacity and Security.
- Memory Management.
- Caching
- Inmemory Database, Tablespace, Table.
- 3rd Party software

author avatarAgus Nurhalim
Real User

My priorities:
1. Backup and recovery
2. Data security
3. Price
4. Performance

author avatarDerek Reader
Real User

An Oracle logo.

author avatarreviewer933993 (User)

Top in my list
- Performance
- Security

author avatarOrhan Eripek

A single reason is not enough, we can rank the following reasons:

- Operational Performance (OLTP, DWH - ETL)
- Relate to hardware such as disk (storage), memory, cpu and how well they can use them
- Data Capacity
- Data Security
- Application Support
- Vendor Support

author avatarAgus Nurhalim
Real User

The most important is "Solid backup and recovery solution." Imho.

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What is Relational Databases?

The purpose of Relational Database Management (RDBMS) is to maintain various digital software system databases. Querying and maintaining aspects of the database is achieved by using SQL, (Structured Query Language) which is universally accepted by almost all relational database systems. An RDMBS manages, builds and deploys applications located onsite or in the cloud. The digital space has a lot of competition and finding the best RDBMS requires IT experts to source the most comprehensive technology.

According to IT Central Station IT professionals, operational performance, (OLTP, DWH - ETL) security, support for developer APIs, and MDX support are among the most important RDMBS features. Scalability and modeling must be easy to use, and responsive vendor support is especially desirable. Data capacity, integration, and speed are integral to the needs of IT and DevOps.

Because IT managers have multiple needs within RDMBS, criteria for choosing a vendor requires the strictest data integrity and offer project specifications such as, “[a] distributed SQL database that has a flexible deployment model allowing the [team] to run the database on a single server machine, across machines in a data center or public cloud, and even on a global basis (across multiple data centers) without having to architect a new solution for each use case.”

IT Central Station IT and Devops managers are clear about how RDMBSs and their many features can function in an enterprise environment to be best leveraged in DevOps. There is a need for parallel distribution and parallel computing when evaluating performance.

One topic that is frequently discussed is, “transactional atomicity.” With all the moving parts in Relational Databases, the granular can become the springboard for success. These include loading and unloading data, meeting performance and recovery time objectives and adherence to standards.

IT Central Station developers have specific standards and would choose RDMBS based on whether the “DB comes with a mature BI stack.” RDMBS has many variables. IT Central Station users chose Relational Databases based on a number of criteria. IT Central Station’s offerings are complete and wide-ranging for the needs of IT and DevOps teams looking for agile excellence.

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