Amazon's Simple Workflow to Get the Cloud Processes Flowing

2 minute read
Chris Knight avatar

Having leaked its own information a couple of weeks back, Amazon has now officially unveiled Simple Workflow (SWF) to control business apps and processes across the cloud and your own systems.

Making the Cloud Simple

After its initial boo-boo of an early reveal, Amazon has now come out and officially announced Simple Workflow on an AWS blog post. The new service gives users the ability to create and manage distributed, fault-tolerant processes and applications that can span multiple cloud-based or on-premises systems.

Amazon Simple Workflow coordinates the flow of tasks and infrastructure, allowing users to concentrate on the results and impact on their business. The SWF product is based on Amazon's own experience of working in the cloud and their potential inherent complexity, which can be countered due to the massive amount of repetition and iterative steps.

Focusing of flexibility and procedure, the service helps users handle many types of multistage operation, with given examples being including traditional business processes, setting up a complex multitiered application, or even handling the decisionmaking process for a multiplayer online game.

Learning Opportunities

Follow the Steps

The blog post has an example workflow and describes how that works within AWS and your own services. The key features are:

  • SWF stores metadata about a Workflow and its component parts
  • It stores tasks for Workers (pieces of code) and queues them until a Worker needs them
  • Assigns tasks to Workers
  • Routes information between executions of a Workflow and the associated Workers
  • Tracks the progress of Workers on Tasks, with configurable timeouts
  • Maintains workflow state in a durable fashion

There's also a guide to getting started with the service and costings. Pricing starts off at free and then runs into the microcents per transaction that AWS users will be used to.  

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