Amazon's newest offering, announced Wednesday, is designed to ease application development and automate business processes.
Amazon Web Services' Simple Workflow Service (SWF) is a portal for developers to build and run cloud-based or on-premise business automation applications.
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SWF could be used by businesses, for example, to smooth the flow of steps involved in an e-commerce transaction, such as charging a credit card, arranging for an item to be shipped, tracking the shipment, restocking inventory and so on, as Amazon describes in a blog post. The service can also be used to run data analytics functions that have multiple steps, or could be used to automate the transferring of data to the cloud, Amazon said.
SWF can run either on an enterprise's servers or through Amazon's infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud offerings, including its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. Any programming language can be used.
The service is billed on a per-use basis, measured by the number of workflow executions developers run, and limited use of the product is free. Early adopters include RightScale, NASA and Sage Bionetworks.
Amazon is not the first company to offer business automation and application development services, but some reports have indicated that SWF is an effort by Amazon to expand from its IaaS products, to offering enterprise software services.
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.