Connectors

Fuuz Connectors and Connections

What is a Connector:

Connectors can play a key role in enabling Fuuz to integrate with other applications or technologies. However, since Fuuz is also an applications platform, there are situations where connectors may not be required. Fuuz can function completely standalone – but when you want to push/pull data with another application, device, or system outside of Fuuz, a connector is required.

Within Fuuz, there are two primary means of connecting with external sources.  One uses a connection and connector configuration which allows both incoming and outgoing flows of data. The sources of data generally are other cloud-based sources that can also be on-premises and able to send or receive directly from cloud applications, like Fuuz, if they have their own internal web communication capabilities.

The other means of connecting with external sources of data is through the Gateway Device configuration.  These connections are configured and connected directly to the Fuuz Gateway. Generally, these types of connections are industrial assets, printers, network drives, applications or technologies which reside behind your secure firewall(s). The Gateway provides a secure mechanism for Fuuz (in the Cloud) to connect with those sources inside your network without directly exposing your internal infrastructure to the internet.

Components of a Connection:

The Connector

A connector defines what criteria is necessary to create a ‘connection’ with another application or technology. This includes features developed into the connector such as pagination, retries, authentication methods, etc. These features built into the connector are designed to save the end user time while pushing or pulling data from the respective end point.

Standard connectors for most widely used applications and technologies are available in our library. Alternatively, generic connectors can be used to connect to anything else; or if the need arises, additional standardized connections can be added to library upon request.

connectors
Standardized connectors available to most popular systems and technology

Connectors are designed in Fuuz just like any other functional component of the system, the modification or personalization of connectors does not require extensive development as other solutions do. It’s as simple as updating the JSON definition of the connector.

ConnectorConfig

The Connection

A Connection becomes the more relevant component of the integration, a connection, references a connector. Essentially, defining the ‘type’ of connection you wish to configure. For example, if you wish to connect to Salesforce.com; you would create a new connection and select the Salesforce.com connector to get started. The connection contains additional information such as the specific URL, Tokens, passwords, usernames, clientIDs and other such necessary information required to facilitate the connection with the desired application or technology.

Fuuz offers generic (http, soap, ftp) connectors enabling you to create your own specific, unique, or personal connections for various purposes.

Connection
Device

Once a connection or device has been added in Fuuz, it consumes 1 license. A single connection or device can be reused many times in the Fuuz Flow Designer. Unlike other iPaaS platforms, you do not need to define whether a connection represents incoming or outgoing data position. This gets defined within the context of the flow itself. Individual executions of a single connection are not metered, unlike other solutions. Meaning, a single connection can be used multi-threaded, along with any other connections you’ve licensed asynchronously.

Additional connections are needed for sandbox or test environments, these connections generally should only be used for testing and validation purposes within a Build and/or QA Fuuz environment.

While connections can be leveraged many times over, the only limitation to this is in the scenario of multiple tenants. Fuuz is a multi-enterprise SaaS application, within a customer’s environment several tenants may exist, generally for different physical locations, different apps or some logical purpose as defined by the customer or implementer. Each tenant requires its own connections to external sources, including other Fuuz tenants. In this way, you may design a solution that interfaces with multiple external sources and a single Fuuz tenant to persist certain data, then share data with other tenants via the tenant connectors. There are many ways to architect solutions within Fuuz, eliminating the need to add unnecessary connections or duplication of work.

Connector Types

Application connectors are pre-built or purpose-built and designed to integrate with specific technology or applications in a specific way.

The benefit of Application Connectors on the Fuuz platform is that they've been engineered to streamline the user's ability to integrate with these other systems and technologies. Providing additional functionality that requires no additional coding or knowhow such as pagination, authentication methods, retries, error handling and more.

Application Connectors are designed, developed and maintained by MFGx, ensuring that you don't have to consume your time with managing additional layers of technology beyond just making the connections with the systems and things you need to connect with. Applications can be connected to either in the cloud, or by setting them up in the Fuuz Gateway, if they happen to be installed/running on premise.

Common Connectors include systems like SAP, Oracle, NetSuite, Plex, Acumatica, Infor, JD Edwards, Quickbooks, Magento, Shopify, Channel Advisor, Zoho, Salesforce.com, Arena, TeamCenter and dozens more. 

Due to the nature of how connecting with external applications is done in most iPaaS software, the transactional volume taken into account is purely based on the distinct number of either inbound or outbound transactions and not necessarily dependent upon the size of those transactions though, a single transaction generally shall not exceed 5mb.

Technology Connectors, similar to Application Connectors are also purpose built for the end user to simplify the process of interacting with your external technology whether it be cloud or on-premise. 

Technology Connectors are things that you would not describe as an application. For example, these types of connectors would include FTP, SQL, SMTP, Webhooks, Kepware or even products like DropBox. These are generally more of a utility than an application used transactionally within the business.

Technology Connectors can be used with Cloud or On-Premise sources depending on your needs either by setting them up as a cloud connection or as a Gateway connection. Examples of these would be disk / folder integrations, on premise databases, etc.

Other common use cases for Technology Connectors would be PowerBI, Tableau, or even Home Grown applications including AS400/DB2 integrations.

Generic HTTP and SOAP connectors can also be done using DIY tools in the platform so you're able to quickly connect to anything and everything.

Due to the nature of how connecting with external technology is done in most iPaaS software, the transactional volume taken into account is purely based on the distinct number of either inbound or outbound transactions and not necessarily dependent upon the size of those transactions though, a single transaction generally shall not exceed 5mb.

Trading Partner Connections are commonly used in EDI projects. Depending on the type of EDI transactions you plan to exchange with a particular partner such as X12, Edifact, VDA you would need to purchase a Trading Partner Connector license for each Trading Partner & type combination.

Once you have established a Trading Partner Connection within the Fuuz Platform, you can access and exchange all document types supported by the type of technology being used (X12, Edifact, etc). 

With the Fuuz Flow Designer, you'll be able to quickly manage and maintain all of your own business process flows. Should your trading partner make changes to anything, you'll be able to quickly implement those changes with or without any help from us.

Along with exchanging the documents with your trading partner - don't forget that the Document Designer embedded within the Fuuz Platform provides you with DIY drag and drop functionality to create any barcode labels, ship time documents or other necessary forms or printed documents that maybe required to establish a proper relationship with your Customer or Supplier.

Due to the nature of how connecting with trading partners is done in most iPaaS software, the transactional volume taken into account is purely based on the distinct number of either inbound or outbound transactions and not necessarily dependent upon the size of those transactions though, a single transaction generally shall not exceed 5mb. 

Device Connectors are only utilized by the Fuuz Gateway. A Device is just as it sounds, its a physical device that you wish to integrate with. Often times these are industrial machines like presses, molding machines, extruders, cnc's, welders, robots, etc.

Devices may also be categorized as weigh scales, printers, RFID readers or portals, building access controls, timeclocks or any other physical thing that does not have the ability to connect to Fuuz itself using a cloud Technology Connector. 

Depending on the use case you're trying to achieve, you may need to consider the use of high volume device connectors or low volume. Generally, devices that are connected are going to generate a lot of information, very frequently, such is the case with IIoT projects. Be sure to consider proper sizing of your connections to provide you with the most desirable results.

A Device in Fuuz is defined as an end point via the Fuuz Gateway with a specific IP address. If you need to monitor multiple pieces of equipment, each with their own controller or IP they would require separate device connectors.

Notes about Build and QA Connections: Additional Connections maybe licensed for sandbox or test environments of 3rd party applications or technology. Generally Sandbox or Test environments do not require the level of transactional volume that a production environment would endure, these are priced separately and can only be utilized within a Build or QA Fuuz Environment. Having said that, another significant advantage in how we license Fuuz Connectors is, for each production connector you license you will be allowed to setup a corresponding testing connection in your Fuuz Build or QA system depending on your subscription level to the platform.

Connection Category

As each type of connector has been described above, for each of those types there are various Categories and Classes, which provide a mechanism for sizing appropriately based on each customer’s particular usage needs. Unlike other platforms, which don’t talk about usage because you, as the customer are required to provide your own compute resources (i.e. you get billed for your usage separately from AWS or Azure), Fuuz provides a full end to end service in the cloud and therefore must take into consideration the anticipated usage for various platform features.

  • Companies with Annual Revenue of $1M to about $10M
  • Generally 100 or fewer Employees
  • Typically using systems like: Quickbooks, Sage or Comparable Systems
  • Companies with Annual Revenue of $10M to about $500M
  • Generally 500 or fewer Employees
  • Typically using systems like: Plex, NetSuite, Acumatica, IFS, Nulogy, Etc.
  • Companies with Annual Revenue of $500M to over $1B
  • Generally 1000 Employees or more
  • Typically using large systems like: SAP, Oracle, QAD systems

Within each of the above Categories are different Class levels which provide for different throughput of the various connection types that the company wishes to leverage.

Connection Tier

Due to variations in how different businesses will leverage the platform, within each of the above Categories of businesses, there are Service Tiers that are offered for each Connection that is licensed. 

Small Business Connector Tiers take into account a standard number of transactions calculated on a daily basis. These tiers apply to Application as well as Technology connector types.

  • Level 1: 100 Transactions
  • Level 2: 1000 Transactions
  • Need More? Custom Request

Corporate Device connector transactions are per Day, so if you’re looking for a standard Production Monitoring solution, where you’re tracking machine state, part counts, reject counts you’ll need a Level 1. For Process monitoring or Condition monitoring (aka IIoT) you likely need a Level 2.

  • Level 1: 35,000 Transactions
  • Level 2: 300,000 Transactions
  • Need More? Custom Request
If you intend on doing any printing directly to devices from Fuuz, this is possible but you’ll need to add Printer Connectors – they are a type of device connector. A printing connector allows you to use any native printer, or IP based printing equipment and includes up to 12,000 printed documents per day.

When determining the transactional volume necessary for your project, per Device, consider the number of tags you wish to monitor, and the frequency you want them monitored (tags * frequency) to determine the daily transactions.

For illustrative purposes:
1 Device, with 4 Tags (status, event, production, reject) being monitored every 10 seconds for an entire 8 hour shift = 11,520 transactions

Corporate level Connector Tiers take into account a standard number of transactions calculated on a daily basis. These tiers apply to Application as well as Technology connector types.

  • Level 1: 3,000 Transactions
  • Level 2: 12,000 Transactions
  • Need More? Custom Request

Corporate Device connector transactions are per Day, so if you’re looking for a Production Monitoring to check machine status, part and reject counts you’ll need a Level 1. For Process monitoring or Condition monitoring (aka IIoT) you likely need a Level 2 or more. 

  • Level 1: 65,000 Transactions
  • Level 2: 800,000 Transactions
  • Need More? Custom Request
If you intend on doing any printing directly to devices from Fuuz, this is possible but you’ll need to add Printer Connectors – they are a type of device connector. A printing connector allows you to use any native printer, or IP based printing equipment and includes up to 30,000 printed documents per day.

When determining the transactional volume necessary for your project, per Device, consider the number of tags you wish to monitor, and the frequency you want them monitored (tags * frequency) to determine the daily transactions.

For illustrative purposes:
1 Device, with 4 Tags (status, event, production, reject) being monitored every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day = 34,560 transactions

Enterprise Service Tiers due to the complexity often times involved in these environments are priced using an on-demand method. There are two methods for pricing out platform / connection usage at the Enterprise level:
1. On-Demand
With this method, you pay a base (floor) fee for your connectors, which do not include any upper transactional limit, you can use as much as required and you’ll be invoiced at a contractually negotiated rate per transaction for the term of your contract. This is most economical if your usage is going to vary widely over time, or if you are uncertain what your usage might be when you start. 

2. Usage Based Pre-Paid
In this case, you still pay for your connectors – however, we agree upon a transactional usage floor that makes sense for your use cases, by doing this, you negotiate a significantly more economical cost for that base set of transactions and then pay a nominal fee, only if you exceed that pre determined transaction volume in a given month. This approach works best for well architected solutions, where you are confident in the number of transactions you’ll need in order to reduce your costs for the platform.

All Enterprise Service Tier pricing is determined by request. 

What Connections Do You Need?

Determining what connections you need may seem daunting, however, it is really not that complicated. Here are the steps in determining what you need, and keep in mind, you can change your licensing arrangement for connections (and only connections) at any point during your Subscription Term with Fuuz

Step 1 - Select the Category

Know what size Business you are. Refer to the tables above in the Connection Category section Above.

Step 2 - Identify the Type

Determine the Connection Type required for your application. The tabbed table above provides details regarding the different types of connections you can license. 

Step 3 - Determine the Usage

Predict the amount of usage you anticipate for the new Connection. Each business Category has different usage limits and approximations based on our historical information. You do not have to get this right the first time, in fact, most customers default to Level 1, so they can get their project started and then determine during their implementation whether they need to increase the tier or not. 

Step 4 - Order the Connection

Submit a ticket to us and provide the information you’ve gathered from the prior steps, or discuss your needs with your sales person. We want to help you get your project up and running quickly and smoothly, so there’s no need to become overly concerned with right or wrong choices at this point. If you’re still uncertain about what you need, tell us what you’re trying to accomplish and we can help identify the right setup for you.