In the course of my work on a customer project, I discovered that the links to externally stored container fields with a FileMaker Server 12 backup can break if the backup is not restored properly. After trying a number of different scenarios, I have come up with a list of circumstances where container fields will remain intact and when they won’t.
All examples are using a Windows based FileMaker server and apply equally to both secure and open external container storage. Understanding these situations will help you properly restore FileMaker 12 files that use external container storage.
In case you need to get some basic knowledge about FileMaker Server 12 and the new features related to backup and enhanced container fields, here are some great resources to get you started:
- FileMaker Technical Document: Using Container Fields in FileMaker 12 (log in to FileMaker TechNet to download)
- FileMaker Technical Document: FileMaker Server 12 Configuration Guide (also found at TechNet)
How To Break It
Circumstances where external container data will break (container fields will show files as missing):
- Uploading FMP12 backup files with the FileMaker Server admin console.
- Opening backup files in FileMaker Pro — ie, not hosted by a server
- Opening files in FileMaker Pro that were removed by the FMS admin console
How To Fix It (or Not Break It)
Circumstances where external container data will remain intact:
- Copying FMP12 backup files, with the respective container data folder from the RC_Data_FMS folder, to the FileMaker server data directory, then opening the files with the admin console.
- Copying backup files, as above to a different FileMaker server
- Downloading the files with FMS admin console, then opening the files in FileMaker Pro (e.g., not hosted). In this case, the databases and remote container file directories are downloaded together, so references to externally stored container fields are preserved.
- Downloading the files with FMS admin console, then uploading to another server, or the same server, with the admin console. Again, the act of downloading the files brings the container file directory along with it. Uploading these same files will restore the container data on the FileMaker server.