What you MUST know about the Startup Restoration Feature

Update: It is recommended to turn off the startup restoration feature to avoid stability issues. Please check: https://support.claris.com/s/article/FileMaker-Server-18-Stability-Improvements?language=en_US

FileMaker Server added a new feature to its existing tools to ensure the integrity of its hosted databases. After checking files at startup, and before opening any database, if inconsistencies are found due to abnormal closing of files (i.e. power failure or crash), FileMaker Server now uses the restoration log feature to restore files to their last consistent state.

What you must know about the Startup Restoration Log:

  • It is NOT a replacement to database backups and the built-in file recovery feature in FMPA
  • It is on by default
  • You can turn it off using (FMS restart required):
    • CLI: fmsadmin set serverprefs StartupRestorationEnabled=false
    • Admin API: startupRestorationEnabled
  • You can change its location using (FMS restart required):
    • Windows CLI: fmsadmin set serverprefs startupRestorationLogPath=filewin:/D:/Restoration/
    • MacOS CLI: fmsadmin set serverprefs startupRestorationLogPath=filemac:/Macintosh HD/Restoration/
    • Admin API: startupRestorationEnabled
  • You cannot enable or disable startup restoration for individual databases
  • External containers are not covered
  • Activity is logged to Event.log
  • Make sure you’re always using drives in RAID arrays. Due to the higher amount of writes caused by the restoration log, your hard drive’s lifetime might be reduced, especially if you are using solid state drives
  • Do NOT use it with network storage file systems
  • Keep at least 16 GB of free space for the restoration logs

More details:

  • The startup restoration log is basically a copy of all the recent changes made on all the databases. In other words, in FMS 18, data is written to two locations: The database file and the restoration log
  • The log keeps the most recent changes; new data is written over the old data
  • This feature uses a fixed log space of 8GB but it’s recommended to dedicate 16 GB to 18 GB for the restoration logs.
  • The log files are used for all databases. That is, the 8GB are shared by all the hosted databases. Whether you have 1 or 20 databases, they all consume the shared 8GB
  • This feature can also restore encrypted database files when the encryption password is saved to the FileMaker Server
  • Default location:
    • Windows: [drive]:\Program Files\FileMaker\FileMaker Server\Data\Restoration
    • MacOS: /Library/FileMaker Server/Data/Restoration
Startup Restoration Log Files on Windows

Performance comparison with FMS 17 (according to our tests):

  • When the restoration log is turned OFF:
    • In single user environments: Same performance
    • In multi-user environments: FMS 18 is faster
  • When the restoration log is turned ON:
    • In single user environments: FMS 18 is slower in intensive data writing tasks
    • In multi-user environments: FMS 18 is faster than FMS 17 in intensive data writing tasks

You can find FileMaker’s white paper about startup restoration here.