Amazon AppFlow Brings Serverless IPaaS Capabilities To AWS
Last week, AWS announced the launch of Amazon AppFlow, a managed integration service for exchanging data between external Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and AWS services.
Amazon AppFlow acts as a two-way conduit for the data flowing between SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, and ServiceNow, and the AWS services such as S3 and Redshift.
The unit of integration in AppFlow is called a flow. Customers can create a flow by selecting the source and destination data services and the trigger to run the flow. The flow trigger can be on-demand, in response to an event, or based on a pre-defined schedule. Optionally, fields can be mapped between the source and destination which helps in transforming the data. The service also supports filters based on a specific criterion.
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When combined with existing AWS data processing analytics services, Amazon AppFlow becomes a powerful integration platform. For example, when an Amazon S3 bucket is the destination for a flow, it can trigger an AWS Lambda function that can, in turn, kick off a SageMaker machine learning pipeline to retrain a model and deploy it for inference. Similarly, AWS Glue can be used to create a powerful ETL pipeline for the advanced transformation of inbound data which can ultimately store the data in Amazon Redshift or Snowflake data warehouse for visualizations in Amazon QuickSight.
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One of the interesting capabilities of Amazon AppFlow is the support for AWS PrivateLink which provides a secure channel between the data source and a customer VPC endpoint. This minimizes the threat from Internet-based attacks and the risk of sensitive data leakage. Amazon worked with popular SaaS providers to enable PrivateLink integration with AppFlow. The service encrypts data at rest and in motion by default. Additionally, customers can encrypt data with their own keys.
As a managed serverless platform, Amazon AppFlow can automatically scale to meet the demand. A single flow can support transferring millions of Salesforce records or Zendesk tickets within a single flow.
Amazon AppFlow comes with an SLA that promises at least 99.9% of uptime during a billing month. During the launch, the service is available in 15 regions across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
At the first look, Amazon AppFlow looks similar to Amazon EventBridge. Amazon EventBridge is primarily used as an event-driven message bus triggered by an external source such as a SaaS application. It cannot be used for a two-way exchange of data between external and internal AWS services. Amazon AppFlow is meant for bi-directional transfer of data between SaaS applications and AWS services that may be initiated by users through a UI.
Amazon AppFlow competes with Azure PowerApps and Azure PowerAutomate from Microsoft. It plugs a critical gap that existed in the data and analytics portfolio of AWS.