Deployment Options for FME Flow in the Cloud

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2023.0

Are you looking to deploy FME Flow into the cloud? This article gives you an overview of the three options available to you.

Single Host Installation

Deploy a single host FME Flow on a virtual machine (VM) in your own cloud account (e.g Azure, Google or AWS).

 

Use Case

The simplest FME Flow (formerly FME Server) deployment. We recommend this solution if you want to quickly provision FME Flow into your cloud environment—possibly as a trial. Customers comfortable with this architecture in production might be interested in FME Flow Hosted (formerly FME Cloud).

All components are on a single host, creating one point of failure. Therefore, we don’t recommend this option for production workflows where you are required to deliver high uptime. Since you are deploying FME Flow into your own cloud account, you can deploy alongside your data and configure the infrastructure FME Flow runs on to ensure it meets your organization's security and compliance rules.

 

Deployment Options

Installer Supported Clouds Notes Complexity
Windows and Linux installers. Any provider that provides VMs as a service (e.g. Azure Virtual Machines, AWS EC2, Google Compute Engine).

Supported on-premises.
Provision and configure the virtual machine (e.g. AWS EC2 or Azure Virtual machine) and then run the traditional FME Flow Express installer. Installation [Simple]
Management [Simple]
Cloud Marketplaces The cloud marketplace deployments save you the step of running the FME Flow installer. We have pre-installed FME Flow on virtual machines, and these machine images are made available through the cloud marketplaces.

Once deployed, it’s exactly the same as installing FME Flow yourself.
Installation [Simple]
Management [Simple]
Docker Compose Any provider that provides containers as a service (e.g. Azure Containers, AWS ECS). Alternatively, you can install Docker on any Virtual Machine.

Supported on-premises.
Deploy a containerized FME Flow using Docker Compose.

This is a solution for someone looking to start up a containerized version of FME Flow quickly. It is a good starting place if you’re interested in a containerized FME Flow deployment. Docker Compose is not a distributed deployment.
Installation [Simple]
Management [Medium]

 

Distributed/Fault-Tolerant Installation

Deploy a distributed FME Flow into your own cloud account (e.g Azure, Google or AWS). FME Flow can either be installed in a 2-tier or 3-tier architecture, with the latter being more fault tolerant but also more complicated to deploy. ​​​​​​​
 

Use Case

A distributed/fault-tolerant deployment of FME Flow ensures high availability in the event of a hardware failure. It also allows you to scale FME Engines horizontally. Typically, we see larger enterprises (with a dedicated ops team), running business-critical processes that need to provide a high level of uptime to deploy FME Flow in this way.

A distributed/fault-tolerant installation requires infrastructure, load balancers, and networks to be configured. Since you are deploying FME Flow into your own cloud account, you can deploy alongside your data and configure the infrastructure FME Flow runs on to ensure it meets your organization's security and compliance rules.
 

Deployment Options

Installer Cloud Supported Platforms Notes Complexity
Windows and Linux installers Any provider that provides VMs as a service (e.g. Azure Virtual Machines, AWS EC2, Google Compute Engine).

Supported on-premises.
Provision and configure the infrastructure (e.g. AWS EC2 or Azure Virtual machine), and then follow steps to perform a distributed installation. Installation [Complex]
Management [Medium]
Cloud Marketplaces Azure Cloud Distributed Deployment This marketplace offering provides a distributed Windows FME Flow deployment optimized for the Azure Cloud. The listing defines the virtual machine configuration and the file storage, load balancers, and databases.

This deployment is not a custom FME Flow version but is based on a distributed FME Flow Windows installation. It also leverages Azure Scale Sets, making it easy to scale the FME Engines.

Note this deployment isn’t as flexible as if you deployed it manually using the installers. For example, you cannot easily change the underlying images (e.g. install Esri software) or switch to a different database.
Installation [Simple]
Management [Medium]
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for Distributed FME Flow Deployments in the Cloud

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure

The provided examples can also be used as blueprints to create terraform configurations for other cloud service providers like Google Cloud Platform.

The provided examples deploy a distributed Windows deployment of FME Flow using terraform or CloudFormation for AWS or terraform and Bicep for Azure. Examples to create custom images and instructions on how to add 3rd party software (e.g. Esri software) are also covered. Installation [Medium]
Management [Medium]
Kubernetes Any provider with Kubernetes service (e.g Azure K8S, AWS EKS, Google GKE).

Supported on-premises.
The Kubernetes deployment is a container-based distributed deployment of FME Flow.

Typically, this is a solution for larger enterprises looking to deploy a highly available containerized FME Flow. Although it is easy to deploy FME Flow into a cluster, maintaining and managing apps running on Kubernetes requires experience and a dedicated team.
Installation [Medium]
Management [Complex]
Kubernetes (Serverless) AWS Fargate AWS Fargate allows you to deploy the FME Flow Kubernetes without worrying about managing the underlying hosts. The deployment is similar to Kubernetes. However, once FME Flow is running, there is less overhead as you can provision containers without worrying about the underlying hosts. Installation [Medium]
Management [Complex]

 

Hosted Deployment

Access the benefits of FME Flow without the overhead of managing and maintaining the infrastructure it runs on.

 

Use Case

FME Flow Hosted provides the lowest barrier of entry for using FME Flow. You can launch an FME Flow in a few minutes, and since all of the infrastructure is included, there is no need to procure any hardware. Once launched, Safe Software monitors and maintains the operating system, hardware, and networking.

FME Flow Hosted users can be broken down into the following use cases:

  1. Small/medium-sized organizations drawn by the lower cost of entry, lower overhead (hardware included), and pricing flexibility.
  2. Organizations who want to bypass their IT department as it is too expensive and time-consuming to procure hardware.
  3. Organizations working with APIs on the public internet who don’t mind which public cloud their data integration tool resides in.
  4. Large/medium-sized enterprises who currently use AWS.

 

Deployment Options

Options Cloud Platforms Supported Notes Complexity
FME Flow Hosted FME Flow Hosted runs on AWS. If your data resides on another cloud (e.g. Azure or Google) then FME Flow Hosted can still be a great option unless you have strict security policies or are handling huge data volumes. Read more here. You launch and then manage virtual machines with FME Flow pre-installed via the FME Flow Hosted WebUI or REST API. The machines are located in Safe Software’s cloud account and reside on the public internet.

There are some differences between deploying FME Flow yourself and FME Flow Hosted which are outlined here.
Installation [Simple]
Management [Simple]

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