Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Tuesday unveiled a new no-code offering, dubbed AppFabric, designed to simplify SaaS integration for enterprises by increasing application observability and reducing operational costs associated with building point-to-point solutions.
The fully managed AppFabric offering, which has been made generally available, is designed to help enterprises maintain SaaS application interoperability without having to develop connectors or workflows in-house while offering added security features, said Federico Torreti, the head of product for AppFabric.
In order to connect multiple SaaS applications, enterprises will have to access the no-code AppFabric offering via the AWS Management Console and create an application bundle of their choice, the company said, adding that the bundle will store all AppFabric application authorizations, ingestions, and encryption keys.
“When you create an app bundle, AppFabric creates the required AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role in your AWS account, which is required to send metrics to Amazon CloudWatch and to access AWS resources such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose,” AWS wrote in a blog post.
Post creation of the application bundle, AppFabric creates a standardized set of security and operational data for every connected app including activity logs, which can be used for monitoring performance and security, according to AWS.
“Enterprises can run threat intelligence on the security data that is ingested by AppFabric and normalized into a singular uniform format using AWS’ Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework (OCSF) via applications from Splunk, Logz.io, Netskope, Netwitness, and Rapid 7,” Torreti said.
OCSF uses Apache Parquet and its own open-source based schema to store security data.
The security features of AppFabric will make life easier for enterprises as security visibility across interconnected cloud applications is a major issue for cloud deployments, said Andy Thurai, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
AppFabric, which is available across AWS’ US East (N. Virginia), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions, will currently support 12 SaaS applications, including Asana, Atlassian Jira suite, Dropbox, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365, the company said. Availability across other cloud regions is expected to follow soon.
AWS is offering a free tier for up to 100 users for the first 30 days. After that, enterprises will have to pay a fee of $3 per user per month for AppFabric, the company said, adding that the pricing reflects support for 30 applications.
Generative AI assistance across SaaS applications in the offing
While the security features of AppFabric have been made generally available, Torreti said AWS is working to add “proactive” generative AI-based assistance, based on Amazon Bedrock, across all supported SaaS applications by the end of this year.
“With AppFabric, we are shifting the paradigm on the application of generative AI from knowledge retrieval to relying on their reasoning abilities and being action-oriented,” Torreti said. The assistance is expected to improve the productivity of employees by suggesting intelligent actions across supported SaaS applications.
However, the generative AI assistance will not feature a singular window or prompt across all applications but will have different toggles across different applications, the company said.
“For example, in Zoom, the generative AI will not have a prompt or window but will throw up intelligent suggestions for actions based as the meeting or call progresses,” Torreti said.
In order to provide generative AI assistance across all supported SaaS applications, AWS AppFabric uses the principles of vector search, natural language processing, and large language model tuning under the hood, according to the company.
“As part of our architecture we do three things: first, we ground model prompts in customer data, secondly we are constantly evaluating and improving the prompts and, finally, we are actively working to adapt prompts to specific customer use cases,” Torreti said, adding that AppFabric augments model context with up-to-date data so that models don’t go stale.
AppFabric, according to the company, understands the context of the prompt and then uses APIs to recommend actions that the user can take across SaaS applications, such as tracking action items in a project management tool.
AWS is also working to provide enterprises with more control over their in-app experiences, for example, enabling customers to provide custom instructions and rules for how AppFabric should orchestrate actions across apps, Torreti said.
“This will allow customers to test and tune instruction templates and experiment very quickly to reimagine productivity for their employees at a much faster clip than they can today,” Torreti added.
“Enterprises have asked us to reimagine how their employees can interact with a sprawl of intelligence across apps in a way that their employees can have access to much richer experiences that cut across every app they have created content in,” Torreti said, adding that this will enable CIOs to have necessary governance across the company.
“AWS sees an opportunity to increase user productivity by offering a common Gen AI assistant in contrast to multiple individual assistants offered by most SaaS applications, enabling employees to get answers quickly, automate task management, and generate insights faster,” Gartner analyst Jim Hare said.
AppFabric, according to Hare, follows the same principle that AWS followed with its supply chain offering, which integrates with various ERP and supply chain applications and uses machine learning to give supply chain managers insights about inventory risks. Rival offerings to AppFabric include integration platforms-as-a-service (iPaaS) products from the likes of Mulesoft, Tibco, Zapier, SnapLogic, and Oracle, analysts said.
Amazon Web Services, Generative AI, No Code and Low Code