FileMaker UK has released a free preview version of FileMaker Server 7, which it's making available to all its customers.

The preview consists of a functional pre-release version of FileMaker Server 7, which can be used with any version of the new FileMaker Pro 7 and FileMaker Developer 7 – including the also available trial and full versions of the standalone database apps.

FileMaker Server 7 is high-performance server software built to manage and share FileMaker Pro 7 database solutions among groups.

Like FileMaker Pro 7, the company's Server software has been rebuilt, and offers a "significantly remodeled" server architecture, capable of hosting 125 data tables.

Additional features include the capacity to exploit high-performance external hard-disk storage systems, support for multiple processors, and support for a range of operating systems.

The solution also offers powerful security features, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support. Most significantly, the software can back-up data with no downtime – meaning valuable data is always available to users in intra-, inter- and extranets. External authentication is based on industry-standard Active and Open Directory security protocols.

FileMaker Server 7 costs £650 (£325 upgrade). The company will release FileMaker Server 7 Advanced later this year (£1,650, £1,000 upgrade). Also available soon will be FileMaker Mobile 7, which will cost £45. Prices include VAT.

FileMaker Server 7 Advanced is an enhanced version of FileMaker Server 7 that includes high volume “instant” Web publishing, support for custom Web sites, and support for industry standard integration through ODBC, JDBC, and XML.

FileMaker plans to ship FileMaker Pro 7-compatible versions of its recently released bespoke applications Tasks and Meetings by May, with FileMaker Donations and Recruiter slated for release later this summer.