Amazon Web Services has made it easier for customers to create and automate private, bidirectional data flows between AWS and third-party, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications without writing custom integration code.
Amazon AppFlow is a fully managed integration service that allows customers to build and execute secure data flows between AWS services such as Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift and SaaS applications – including Salesforce, Infor Nexus, Marketo, ServiceNow, Slack, Trend Micro and Zendesk – in minutes, according to the cloud provider.
The new no-code service also works with AWS PrivateLink to route data flows through AWS rather than the exposing them to the public internet. Launched in 2017, PrivateLink provides private, secure connectivity between virtual private clouds, AWS services and on-premises applications on the AWS network.
“The products that organizations were building with PrivateLink to share data, it was just an enormous challenge for them,” said David Brown, AWS' vice president of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
“We realized that there was a need for a high-level service that took away a lot of the complexity of having to transfer that data between the service that you might be doing or the application you might be using to an AWS service.”
Organisations previously would need skilled developers to build often time-consuming connectors and had to worry about how the data would be transformed, how often they wanted to run the process to move data over and how to keep it up to date, according to Brown.
“Very often, the solution that works is very small-scale -- it doesn't work at very large scale unless you have really strong engineers -- and so this was something that companies weren't doing,” he said.
Amazon AppFlow allows customers with diverse technical skills - including customer relationship management administrators and business intelligence specialists - to manage petabytes or exabytes of data spread across applications with a “few clicks” and without developing custom connectors or managing application programming interface and network connectivity.
“Amazon AppFlow helps our customers eliminate complex information silos by combining data from Slack and other SaaS tools with AWS services,” said Brad Armstrong, vice president of business and corporate development for Slack, a business communication platform.
“Whether analyzing trends in customer engagement from help desk requests or measuring sentiment data, organizations of all sizes can spend more time on the critical work that moves their businesses forward.”
Consumer credit reporting company Experian, an AWS customer, uses approximately 50-plus different marketing technology platforms internally with a large amount of data that it often wants to bring into AWS, according to Brown.
“With AppFlow, they've been able to do that now without any of the engineering work that they previously had to do,” he said. “It's really just a transfer of data between key applications, and we take care of the security, we take care of the transformation of the data, and we allow it to be run at regular intervals or once off. We also take care of the fact that it needs to scale for any amount of data that you may want to be able to transfer.”
One of AppFlow’s differentiators is how secure it is from a scale point of view, Brown noted.
“The fact that it utilizes PrivateLink and the fact that all the data is encrypted in transfer and both at rest, we believe, really takes care of all of the concerns or check boxes that organizations would have as they think about both storage and transfer of that data,” he said. “We made sure it's encrypted at all times, never goes on the internet, securely flows directly into their AWS accounts and into the various services.”
AWS said it’s not charging upfront fees to use Amazon AppFlow, rather customers must pay for the number of flows they run and the volume of data processed.
Amazon AppFlow initially is available in the following AWS regions: US East region (Northern Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Northern California), US West (Oregon), Canada (Central), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Toyko), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Europe (Paris), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (London) and South America (São Paulo).