Last week, we told you about the latest updates in Flow 6.12. One of the new features mentioned in the release notes is a thing called Connector as a Service.
In short, Connector as a Service allows connectors to be installed separately from the Flow Server, thus creating new possibilities for a more flexible Flow setup.
To get more information on this new feature, we talked to Pål Elfström and Marcus Lindholm from Novacura’s product team.
So what exactly is Connector as a Service?
Connectors are a way for Flow to talk to different systems. We have system connectors and database connectors, which you use to fetch and send data.
Previously you were pretty restricted with connectors. You had to install them in the same location as the Flow server. This led to some performance issues as well as a lack of freedom. It was also a problem for cloud installations.
Connector as a Service means that Flow connectors are free-range now. You can install them wherever you want them. This makes it easier to scale.
Can you give us an example of how Connector as a Service is used?
Okay. Let’s say you’re installing Flow on the cloud, but using an on-prem ERP system. Your Flow server is in Azure: great. But Azure can’t access on-prem systems. So with this setup, Flow and the ERP system can’t really communicate.
But with Connector as a Service, you can use connectors wherever you need them. This means that you can have your ERP system on-prem, but Flow in Azure, and they can communicate.
What is the purpose behind Connector as a Service?
Our strategy for Novacura Flow is to move towards the cloud and have Flow connect to Azure while connecting to on-prem services. This is part of a more extensive re-work of the platform to divide things into smaller, more modular services. More agile stuff.
What are the benefits of Connector as a Service over the traditional way?
For one, it improves performance and scalability because connector services can be installed in different places, where they are best needed and away from the Flow Server.
It’s also more stable. Customers will have a more durable product, more frequent updates, and better performance.
Because the connectors are more modular, customers only have to upgrade what’s needed. For example, they can upgrade Flow without upgrading the Connector (or the other way around) if they want to.
For now, Connector as a Service is being beta tested by a few select customers. We hope to roll out the service to all customers very soon.