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FileMaker Server Licensing at MIT

Starting with version 15, MIT's offering of FileMaker Server software underwent the following changes:

  • MIT's FileMaker Server licenses do not include FileMaker Go and WebDirect connectivity.

With these changes, DLC's will now in some cases need to purchase their own FileMaker Server license. Read on for more details.

Hosting Environment: IS&T-Managed Hosting vs. Local Hosting

IS&T offers cost-effective managed FileMaker hosting for departments, labs, and centers. We strongly recommend using IS&T-managed servers for your FileMaker hosting needs at MIT, particularly for those without server administration skills or resources. Refer to IS&T-Managed FileMaker Hosting for details on this service offering.

Because of changes to MIT's FileMaker volume license starting with version 15, as well as the popularity of IS&T's managed FileMaker hosting service, FileMaker Server licenses are now primarily reserved for IS&T-managed servers.

If your DLC wants to run your own FileMaker Server environment, you will in most cases need to purchase your own FileMaker Server license. See FileMaker Server Licensing Options below for more information.

Connectivity Needs: FileMaker Pro vs. WebDirect/FileMaker Go

Starting with version 15, MIT's volume license for FileMaker Server does not include FileMaker Go and WebDirect connectivity. At this time, any DLC interested in using FileMaker Go or WebDirect to connect to their database(s) hosted with FileMaker Server 15 or higher will need to purchase their own FileMaker Server license with an appropriate number of user or concurrent connections (more on this below). This applies for both IS&T-managed FileMaker hosting and locally managed FileMaker servers.

MIT's volume license for FileMaker Server does include unlimited FileMaker Pro and custom web publishing connectivity. So, if you are using IS&T-managed hosting and do not need FileMaker Go or WebDirect connectivity, you will not need to purchase your own FileMaker Server license. In addition, MIT users may still use FileMaker Go to open databases which reside directly on their iOS device.

Quick Guide: Do I Need to Purchase FileMaker Server?

Your FileMaker hosting environment and WebDirect/FileMaker Go connectivity needs will determine whether you need to purchase your own FileMaker Server license:

Hosting Environment IS&T-Managed FileMaker Hosting Local FileMaker Server
Need FileMaker Pro connectivity only No Yes
Need WebDirect or FileMaker Go connectivity Yes Yes

FileMaker Server Licensing Options

If you are in a position of needing to purchase your own FileMaker Server license, the issue of licensing and pricing options is somewhat complicated. A good summary can be found here.

When determining the type of FileMaker Server license you need, there are two primary choices to make: annual vs. perpetual licensing, and legacy (no connections) vs. teams vs. legacy (concurrent connections) licensing.

Annual vs. Perpetual Licensing

Perpetual licensing is an outright purchase of the software, while annual licensing is a yearly lease. Generally speaking, it takes 6-7 years for perpetual licensing to pay for itself, so given the speed at which technology evolves, annual licensing is almost always the better option.

Simple FileMaker Pro Connectivity: Legacy (NC) Licensing

If you do not need WebDirect or FileMaker Go connectivity, the choice becomes simple: you just need standard legacy licensing with no additional concurrent connections (NC). Note that legacy/NC licensing allows unlimited connectivity from standard FileMaker Pro clients and custom web publishing sessions. MIT-based users may download FileMaker Pro from the the IS&T software grid for free as before.

If you do need WebDirect or FileMaker Go connectivity, your options are detailed in the following section.

Teams (FLT) vs. Legacy (CC) Licensing

Unlike FileMaker Pro, the WebDirect and FileMaker Go clients are free, so FileMaker Inc. has shifted to a more modern cost model by charging an additional amount for FileMaker Server to enable WD/FMGo connectivity. There are two flavors of licensing for this: FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT) and legacy concurrent connections licensing (CC). Both options are sold in packs of 5 connections, and you must round up to the nearest 5.

FLT licensing is based on the scenario where all users are known and accounted for; these are referred to as "named users." If you have 8 total named users who ever need to connect to your server via WD/FMGo, you could purchase an FLT license with 10 user connections (rounding up to the nearest 5).

Legacy/CC licensing is based on the total number of users who will ever need to connect to your server via WD/FMGo at the same time. You might have 25 total users, but only 8 users might ever be logged on concurrently. In this scenario, you could purchase a CC license with 10 concurrent connections (again, rounding up to the nearest 5).

The following questions will help you determine whether FLT or CC best fits your needs:

  1. Does your database(s) have any anonymous WebDirect users? An example of this might be unnamed individuals outside your workgroup who would need access to a form submission screen in your database using a guest account. As mentioned above, FLT licensing only supports named users, so if you have any anonymous users you will need to go with CC licensing.
  2. Assuming all of your users are named users, determine the following:
    1. Count the total number of users who will ever need to connect to the server via WD/FMGo, regardless of how often they will connect. (Ignore FileMaker Pro and custom web publishing users.*)
    2. Estimate the maximum number of users who would ever be connected to the server via WD/FMGo at the same time. (Again, ignore FileMaker Pro and custom web publishing users.*)
    3. If the number of maximum concurrent WD/FMGo users is less than 30% of your total named WD/FMGo users, then you should go with legacy CC licensing. If not, go with FLT licensing.

*FileMaker Pro and custom web publishing connections are covered by MIT's volume license.

Purchasing

Legacy/NC and FLT licensing may be purchased directly from the FileMaker store. Legacy/CC licensing must be purchased over the phone. If you need to go this route, send an email to filemaker-support@mit.edu for contact information for MIT's FileMaker sales rep. In all cases, education pricing is available.

To get an idea of cost, go to the FileMaker store, click on Education & Non Profit at top, and fill out the form. From there, follow the Legacy Licensing option for legacy/NC pricing, and the Teams (Server/you host) option for FLT pricing. As noted above, you will need to call for legacy/CC pricing.

Finally, remember that FLT and legacy/CC licenses are sold in packs of 5, and you will need to round up to the nearest 5 based on your user counts as described above.

Additional Resources

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

July 31, 2017

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