Jumpstart your AWS experience with AppFlow


AllCloud Blog: Cloud Insights and Innovation

The cloud landscape continues to evolve, and AWS and Salesforce are leading the way in innovation. It was just last year at Dreamforce, where Salesforce and AWS announced a robust global partnership in the cloud marketplace. At the time, they shared innovative new solutions, including integrating Amazon Connect as part of Salesforce Cloud Voice, which opened up an entirely new opportunity for organizations to provide superior customer service. At AllCloud, our leading AWS and Salesforce experts have been working on the synergies between AWS and Salesforce to solve customer business challenges for years.

And now, Amazon recently released AppFlow, a fully-managed integration service that enables you to securely exchange data between software as a service (Salesforce) and AWS. This new solution allows users with an easy and cost-effective way to transfer data. It’s an excellent tool for Salesforce users who are looking to take the plunge with AWS and see immediate benefits.  

What is Amazon AppFlow? 

Amazon AppFlow was announced in April and is a fully managed integration service that enables you to securely transfer data between Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, and ServiceNow, and AWS services like Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift, in just a few clicks.

With AppFlow, you can run data flows at nearly any scale at the frequency you choose – on a schedule, in response to a business event, or on-demand. You can configure data transformation capabilities like filtering and validation to generate rich, ready-to-use data as part of the flow itself, without additional steps. AppFlow automatically encrypts data in motion. It allows users to restrict data from flowing over the public Internet for SaaS applications that are integrated with AWS PrivateLink, reducing exposure to security threats.

Amazon AppFlow enables you to do the following:

  • Get started quickly — Create data flow to transfer data between a source and destination in minutes, without writing any code.
  • Keep your data in sync — Run flows on-demand or on a schedule to keep data in-sync across your SaaS applications and AWS services.
  • Bring your data together — Aggregate data from multiple sources so that you can train your analytics tools more effectively and save money.
  • Keep track of your data — Use Amazon AppFlow flow management tools to monitor what data has moved where and when.
  • Keep your data secure — Security is a top priority. We encrypt your data at rest and in transit.
  • Transfer data privately — Amazon AppFlow integrates with AWS PrivateLink to provide private data transfer over AWS infrastructure instead of public data transfer over the Internet.

What are the benefits of AppFlow? 

AppFlow relieves you from investing significant time and highly-skilled developer staff to build and maintain custom API connectors for AWS services to exchange data with SaaS applications. SaaS application administrators and business analysts can quickly implement most of the integrations they need without IT’s waiting months to finish integration projects. Specifically, the benefits include:

  • Speed and agility: Amazon AppFlow allows you to integrate applications in a few minutes – no more waiting days or weeks to code custom connectors. Features like data pagination, error logging, and network connection retries are included by default, so there’s no coding or management. With Amazon AppFlow, data flow quality is built-in, and you can enrich the flow of data through masking, mapping, merging, filtering, and validation as part of the flow itself.
  • Privacy and security: AppFlow encrypts data at rest and in motion. You can encrypt data with AWS managed keys or bring your custom keys. It also allows users to restrict data from flowing over the public Internet using Amazon VPC endpoints enabled by AWS PrivateLink. This minimizes the threat from Internet-based attacks and the risk of sensitive data leakage.
  • Scalability: AppFlow easily scales up without the need to plan or provision resources, so you can move large volumes of data without breaking it down into multiple batches. Using Amazon AppFlow, you can quickly transfer millions of Salesforce records or Zendesk tickets – all while running a single flow.
  • Reliability: AppFlow uses a highly available architecture with redundant, isolated resources to prevent any single points of failure while running within the resilient AWS infrastructure.

Unique pricing structure

The pricing model makes AppFlow even more appealing. While there are many similar tools in the marketplace, none of them can provide the cost value of AppFlow.

There are no upfront charges or fees to use AppFlow, and customers only pay for the number of flows they run and the volume of data processed. You pay for every successful flow run. A flow run is a call to the source application to transfer data to a destination. Flow runs to check for new data will count towards your flow run costs, even if there is no new data in the source system for transfer.

Amazon AppFlow’s monthly processed data by volume is billed per GB and groups all flows that exist in an AWS account. Data processing refers to schema mapping, filtering and field validation, to name a few. With Amazon AppFlow, you are not responsible for AWS Data Transfer fees and only pay your data processing costs for flows.  

How does Amazon AppFlow impact Salesforce users?

AppFlow enables third party applications on AWS to update Salesforce, and vice versa, leveraging Amazon AppFlow’s bidirectional and change data capture capabilities. AppFlow lets you easily create automated, and rich data that spans several applications.

AppFlow offers many other functionalities that the default Salesforce data loader can’t provide efficiently. Salesforce users can immediately extract data object by object and store it in Amazon S3. This allows Salesforce users the ability to move the data without procuring an expensive integration tool quickly.

For example, if you are capturing data from how your customers interact with apps, websites, and need to push that to S3. This is something Salesforce can’t do as the Salesforce database can’t directly connect to a database that runs SQL. AppFlow allows you to combine all those data points into the S3 environment in an efficient manner.

And if you are already utilizing an S3 environment for your data lake, the benefits are even better. AppFlow allows you to connect and map Salesforce objects and fields in a matter of minutes. This will enable you to run and schedule through the AWS AppFlow User Interface without the need to worry about additional licensing.

Jumpstart your AWS experience 

AllCloud is experienced and staffed to run this with both our AWS and Salesforce expertise. If you are a Salesforce user, jumping into the world of AWS can be a daunting task. AppFlow offers a great starting point to try AWS for yourself and see immediate benefits.  

If you want to learn more, contact our AllCloud experts today!

 

Peter Nebel

VP Strategy and Practice Development

Read more posts by Peter Nebel