AWS Step Functions Gains Synchronous Express Workflows. Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced that AWS Step Functions supports synchronous Express workflows to "easily build web-based applications and orchestrate high-volume, short-duration microservices".
Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced that AWS Step Functions supports synchronous Express workflows to "easily build web-based applications and orchestrate high-volume, short-duration microservices". Express workflows, a cost-effective, high-performance workflow type with a runtime of up to five minutes, can now be synchronously invoked from Amazon API Gateway or directly via the API.
AWS Step Functions is a serverless workflow orchestration engine that allows to "sequence AWS Lambda functions and multiple AWS services into business-critical applications". Step Functions provides two distinct workflow types: Standard workflows can run for up to one year with exactly-once execution guarantees, which targets potentially long-running and auditable workflows. In contrast, Express workflows can run for up to five minutes with at-least-once execution semantics at a significantly higher execution rate and respectively lower pricing, which makes them "ideal for high-event-rate workloads".
The Step Functions API had previously only offered asynchronous workflow execution, which necessitated custom code and polling logic when microservices required an immediate response. To simplify respective architectures, Express workflows can now also be executed synchronously so that clients "receive a response without needing to poll additional services". This aims at "high-volume microservice orchestration and fast compute tasks that communicate via HTTPS", which Amazon API Gateway supports via the new HTTP API StepFunctions-StartSyncExecution service integration.
In the introductory blog post, AWS Developer Advocate Benjamin Smith walks through a comprehensive synchronous Express workflow example that analyses the sentiment of a web form submission by orchestrating several AWS services to respond with a customer-centric message:
Image: Web form submission with synchronous sentiment scoring (via AWS blog post)
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