AWS today introduced Amazon AppFlow, a new collaboration tool that makes the sharing of data between AWS and SaaS applications such as Google Analytics, Marketo, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Snowflake and Zendesk simpler for developers. Unlike similar services, such as Microsoft Azure’s Power Automate, developers can activate such flows at pre-set times or on-demand, based on real events.

Like some of its rivals, however, AWS positions this service more as a data transfer tool than a way to simplify workflows, and although the data flow can be bi-directional, AWS’s announcement focuses on transferring data for further processing from SaaS applications to other AWS services. To this end, AppFlow also provides a range of data management resources as it passes through the process.

appflow, diagram

“Developers spend tremendous amounts of time creating custom integrations so that they can transfer data between SaaS applications and AWS services so that it can be analyzed; these can be costly and sometimes take months to complete,” said AWS chief advocate Martin Beeby in the announcement today. “If the data specifications change, then expensive and complicated improvements to the integrations must be made. Companies that do not have the luxury of technical resources can find themselves manually importing and exporting applications data that is time-consuming, threaten leakage of data, and have the potential to introduce human error.

appflow, diagram

Each flow (which AWS describes as a call to a source application to transfer data to a destination) costs $0.001 per run, while data processing costs (starting at 0.02 per GB) are also associated in standard AWS fashion.

“Our clients tell us they enjoy being able to store, process, and analyze their data in AWS. They do use a number of third-party SaaS applications, and they inform us that data flow between AWS and these applications can be difficult to handle, “said Kurt Kufeld, AWS vice president,.

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“Amazon AppFlow provides consumers an convenient and simple way to merge data from AWS and SaaS applications without transferring it across the public internet. With Amazon AppFlow, our customers capture and manage petabytes, even exabytes, of data distributed through all their applications, all without the need to create custom connectors or manage the API and network connection

At this point, with only 14 possible outlets and four destinations (Amazon Redshift and S3, as well as Salesforce and Snowflake), the number of supported services remains comparatively small. Often the only possible destination depending on the source you choose is Amazon’s S3 storage service.

The number of integrations will definitely grow over time, but for now, it seems like there’s still a lot of research to be done for the AppFlow team to extend the list of supported services.

Since a long time, AWS has left this market to rivals, while it has resources such as AWS Step Functions to create serverless workflows through AWS services and EventBridge since connections. Interestingly, EventBridge currently supports a far wider variety of third-party sources, but as the name suggests, its emphasis is more on triggering AWS events than transferring data between applications.

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