Google has recently announced a new service called Google Cloud Workflows, which will now be accessible to everyone. The service helps in managing Google Cloud and HTTP-based API services with serverless workflows. Currently, the Workflow Connectors are in public review.

The new service will help develop complex serverless applications and build on workflows that connect a list of serverless tasks in a pre-determined order. Also, it works with other managed services like Google Cloud’s API, Cloud Functions, or Cloud Run. Google Cloud Workflows requires no infrastructure management and can scale if needed.

The features of the new service are listed below:

  • Error handling with configurable retry policies
  • Reliable workflow execution for enterprises and business applications
  • Ability to pass information between steps using JSON parson and expressions-based variable manipulation

Mete Atamel, Senior Developer Advocate at Google explains why he thinks a new service can help developers: “Connecting services is one of those things that “should be easy” but in reality, it takes a lot of time and effort. You need to figure out a common connection format for services to use, make the connection, parse the results, and pass the results on. I am not even mentioning error handling, retries, and all those production readiness type features that you ultimately need to do.”

All the use cases that can benefit from workflows, inventory management, processes, e-commerce transaction, and various other services need a layer of organization.

Filip Knapik, Product Manager at Google Cloud Platform (GCP), explains: “To oversimplify, if you want to manage your data processing, ETL or machine learning pipelines and integrate with data products like BigQuery or Dataflow — Cloud Composer is the way to go. However, if you want to process events or chain APIs in a serverless way, with bursty traffic patterns, high execution volumes or low latency, you likely need to look at Workflows first (..) Workflows scale out automatically with no “cold start” effect and with a fast transition between the steps. This makes Workflows a good fit for latency-sensitive applications.”

GCP is not the whole and the sole option of managed workflows. Microsoft has Azure Logic Apps, and Amazon is offering AWS Step Function for the past four years.

Tim Bray, former VP/Distinguished Engineer at AWS, wrote a complete comparison between GCP and AWS services. He said, “Which workflow service should you use? That’s dead easy. You should use a declaratively-specified fully-managed cloud-native service that can call out to a variety of workers, and which combines retrying and exception handling to achieve high reliability. And, you should use the one that’s native to whatever public cloud you’re in!”

Google Cloud Workflows has a pay-per-use pricing model based on the number of steps and the number of external HTTP calls. However, the first 5000 steps and 2000 HTTP calls are free every month.