Cloud computing: This new tool from AWS could make life easier for developers

AppFlow has been designed to remove the need for manually-configured data transfers between AWS and services like Salesforce, Slack, Trend Micro and Zendesk.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched Amazon AppFlow, a new tool for managing the flow of data from AWS to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

Amazon AppFlow has been designed to remove the need for developers to manually configure connectors that enable them to transfer data between AWS and third-party services like Salesforce, Slack, Trend Micro and Zendesk.

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AppFlow instead integrates directly with SaaS applications and automatically enables secure, bidirectional data flow between them.

This means that, as well as allowing data to flow from SaaS applications to AWS, it can send data from AWS to SaaS applications.

Amazon AppFlow provides an easy way for customers to combine data from AWS and SaaS applications without moving it across the public internet said Kurt Kufeld, Vice President of AWS.

"With Amazon AppFlow, our customers bring together and manage petabytes, even exabytes, of data spread across all of their applications – all without having to develop custom connectors or manage underlying API and network connectivity."

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AppFlow allows data to flow from SaaS applications to AWS services and vice versa.  

AWS

Traditionally, building connectors between multiple applications is labour-intensive and time consuming, requiring developers to create streams of custom code that often takes hours – if not days.

This is particularly difficult for organisations that wish to connect up data from various pools and silos, which are often presented in disparate data formats. This leaves developers with a mess of custom codes and connectors which, as AWS notes, is expensive to maintain.

"Developers spend huge amounts of time writing custom integrations so they can pass data between SaaS applications and AWS services so that it can be analysed; these can be expensive and can often take months to complete," Martin Beeby, principal developer advocate at AWS wrote in a blog post on the announcement.

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"If data requirements change, then costly and complicated modifications have to be made to the integrations. Companies that don't have the luxury of engineering resources might find themselves manually importing and exporting data from applications, which is time-consuming, risks data leakage, and has the potential to introduce human error."

By comparison, Amazon AppFlow allows customer to configure multiple types of "triggers" for transferring data in just a couple of clicks, saving the time and costs associated with waiting for IT teams to complete integration projects. There are no upfront charges or fees to use Amazon AppFlow, and customers only pay for the number of flows they run and the volume of data processes, AWS said.

AppFlow also encrypts data automatically and works with AWS PrivateLink, meaning traffic stays on the Amazon network rather than using the public internet, reducing its exposure to cyber threats.

Amazon AppFlow is available now with support for S3 and 13 SaaS applications as sources of data, and S3Amazon Redshift, Salesforce, and Snowflake as destinations. AWS has promised compatibility with "hundreds more" applications as the service develops.

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