Feature Comparison: FME Flow and FME Flow Hosted

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2023.0

Introduction

FME Flow Hosted (formerly FME Cloud) is our hosted deployment option for FME Flow (formerly FME Server). It enables you to launch and manage FME Flow instances through a web interface and API. With FME Flow Hosted, Safe Software deploys FME Flow for you and looks after the hardware, networking, and security.

Both FME Flow and FME Flow Hosted share a common code base so the functionality of FME Flow is almost identical. However, some features that are applicable for an on-premises deployment of FME Flow can’t be used on FME Flow Hosted or would have limited use. Also, the fact that with FME Flow Hosted, your server is hosted on the public cloud as opposed to your own infrastructure means that FME Flow Hosted is suited to particular workflows.

 

FME Flow Features

The following table lists the major features of FME Flow and provides information about whether the feature is partially or fully supported in FME Flow on-premises and FME Flow Hosted. 

 

Feature

FME Flow On-Premises

FME Flow Hosted

Publishing and Running Workspaces

Yes

Yes*

Schedules

Yes

Yes

Automations

Yes

Yes

 

Server Apps

Yes

Yes

Workspace View/Edit

Yes

Yes

Job Management

Yes

Yes

Projects

Yes

Yes

Resources

Yes

Yes, network-based connections won’t work.

Database and Web Connections

Yes

Yes

FME Flow Security

Yes

Yes

Active Directory Support

Yes

No

System Configuration - Security

Yes

Yes

System Configuration - Network and Email

Yes

Yes - Cannot rename service URLs.

System Configuration - System Cleanup

Yes

Yes

System Configuration - System Events

Yes

Yes

System Configuration - Broadcast Message

Yes

Yes

System Configuration - Version Control

Yes

Yes - Only supports repositories accessible to the FME Flow Hosted instance, e.g. GitHub.

System Configuration - Job Routing

Yes

Yes

Backup and Restore

Yes

Yes

Licensing & Engines - Licensing

Yes

No - Instance automatically licensed with unlimited FME Engines.

Licensing & Engines - Engine Management

Yes

Yes

Licensing & Engines - Deployment Status

Yes

Yes

Support for custom Python and R Libraries

Yes

Yes - You can upload libraries via the WebUI, see Python on FME Flow. Some libraries are installed by default, see here.

 

Platform Capabilities

FME Flow Hosted is deployed on the public cloud in Safe Software's cloud infrastructure. It is a managed service and many tools have been built to help you maintain and modify your FME Flow deployment. The fact that FME Flow Hosted is managed brings many benefits but also some limitations.
 

Feature

FME Flow

FME Flow Hosted

Operating System

Windows or Linux

Linux. Since everything is accessed through an API or web interface, the only consideration when it comes to the OS is format support.

File System Access

Yes.

No. You cannot access the instance directly that FME Flow is running on. All interaction is via the web interface and API.

Distributed Deployment

Yes.

No. FME Flow Hosted deploys FME Flow as a single host. However, we have optimized and tuned the deployment and have a huge amount of integrated monitoring, allowing us to deliver a very high level of uptime.

Dynamic Engines Yes No. Each FME Flow Hosted instance comes with an unlimited number of FME Engines so Dynamic licensing is not required, You are charged based on the size of the VM.

OS Security Updates

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes. This is automated; see Installing Security Updates.

Publicly Accessible

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes. All FME Flow Hosted instances are on the public internet. The access can be restricted; see Configuring Instance Security.

Static IP address

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes, see Assigning a Static IP Address to an Instance.

Automatic Backups

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes. We take a backup every 24 hours see Working with Backups.

Custom URL

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

No. The URL for the FME Flow is based on your FME Flow Hosted account name and the name you give it on launch.

Virtual Network Integration 

(e.g. Virtual Network on Azure or VPC on AWS)

Yes, you can deploy wherever you want.

No. You cannot set up a VPN between FME Flow Hosted and your own network. 

Always Encrypted

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes, both the data and network connections are encrypted; see the FME Flow Hosted Security Whitepaper.

FME Flow Upgrades

Yes. It is a manual process.

Yes, it is a manual process.

Resizing an instance

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes, both the disks and instance size can be changed via the UI; see Resizing an Instance.

Monitoring Instance Health (e.g. disk usage, memory, response time)

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes, FME Flow Hosted provides tools to monitor your instance infrastructure and receive alerts when there is an issue see Monitoring Instance Health with Alerts.

Monitoring Instance Events (e.g instance started, failed, rebooted)

Possible. You would have to configure it yourself outside of FME Flow.

Yes, you can configure an FME Flow Hosted instance to send notifications about events that occur on an instance; see Monitoring Instance Events and Alerts.

 

Format Support

Some formats we ship with FME also require the installation of third-party libraries. FME Flow instances running on FME Flow Hosted also run on Linux, which limits some formats compared to Windows. Check the formats matrix to understand if the format you require on FME Flow Hosted is supported.

The table below provides an overview of the key formats customers have typically asked for further confirmation on.

Format

Supported on FME Flow Hosted

Information

Esri Geodatabases

No

FME Flow Hosted cannot read or write to an Enterprise Esri Geodatabase (ArcSDE) as 3rd party libraries are required that cannot be installed.

ArcGIS Online/Server/Portal Feature Services

Yes

Full support for reading/writing to ArcGIS Feature services no matter if they reside on Portal, Server, or Online.

Esri File Geodatabase

Yes/No

On FME Flow Hosted you can read or write to an Esri File Geodatabase using the Esri Geodatabase (File Geodatabase Open API). This format enables connections to File Geodatabase systems through an open API published by Esri, though it does have limited functionality compared to the full reader/writer. 

FME Flow Hosted does not support the Esri File Geodatabase (File Geodb) format which uses ArcObjects and requires an Esri license to connect.

On-Premises Databases

Yes. You can deploy FME Flow next to your database.

Partial - You can connect to databases on-premises. The connection will go over the public internet, which needs encrypting and the firewall configured.

Cloud Databases

Yes. You can deploy FME Flow next to your cloud database.

Partial - You can connect to databases on any cloud platform. The connection will go over the public internet, which needs encrypting and the firewall configured.

Cloud Platform Services (e.g. AWS,  Azure)

Yes. All services are encrypted, so accessing the public internet is secure and performant.

Yes. All services are encrypted, so accessing the public internet is secure and performant.

Python Support Yes Python 2 is not supported on FME Cloud as of FME Server 2021.0. Python 3 is fully supported, and you can upload Python modules the same as a standard FME Flow deployment. 
Note: As of the FME 2023.0 release, FME Cloud and FME Server have been renamed to FME Flow Hosted and FME Flow, respectively. 

 

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