How to Automate File Transfers to Multiple Locations with a Single Workflow

Automating file transfers in a large system of numerous partners does not have to be a complicated, time-consuming process. An automated managed file transfer (MFT) solution, based on the publish-subscribe (pub/sub) model, enables just a single workflow with reusable endpoints to replace multiple brittle point-to-point connections.

illustration showing multiple sources can connect to multiple targets using one flow to securely transfer files
To gain an understanding of how Thru provides this flexibility, first, we’ll introduce the components used in transferring files. Then, we’ll look at how reusable endpoints and durable flows provide a system of connections that is inherently more flexible and reliable than traditional MFT solutions.

Primary Components of Automating File Transfers

Our automated MFT service has three primary components:

  • Organizations are businesses that exchange files with each other. Organizations have one or more endpoints associated with them for use in subscribing to flows. Endpoints of an organization are “reusable” since they can be subscribed to multiple flows.
  • Endpoints are originating source(s) and/or destination target(s) of file transfers. These endpoints are created and defined to be used in the flows, becoming Flow Endpoints. See Supported Endpoint Types below »
  • Flows are file exchange processes that transfer files between the source and target endpoints. Once created, Source Flow and Target Flow Endpoints are subscribed to the flow to complete the connection.

Organizations Can Have Multiple Endpoint Types

The no-code interface of Thru allows you to easily set up your organization and partner organizations. Once an organization has been created:

  1. Select and define its endpoint(s).
  2. Create a flow.
  3. Subscribe the source endpoint(s) to the flow.
  4. Add the partner organization’s endpoint(s) to the flow as target(s), configuring the credentials and mapping the path location(s).

animated screen capture of subscribing source and target endpoints to a flow

Supported Endpoint Types

The out-of-the-box endpoint types, listed in table below, are currently available from the pulldown menu in the Endpoints view. Endpoints can be added to Thru to support virtually any file exchange use case.

Endpoint Type Description
External SFTP/FTPS Servers Connect to an external server using credentials provided by the user.
Thru SFTP/FTPS Server Use when Thru is acting as a server for the user.
Thru iPaaS Connector Drop off files from an integration platform (iPaaS), such as Boomi or MuleSoft, into Thru or from Thru to the iPaaS.
File Share (Thru Node) Use with a Thru Node, an MFT agent that is installed on your server.
Thru HTTPS Web UI Upload Allows manual upload from the user interface.
Thru File Sharing Site Use with Thru’s ad hoc file sharing service.
Amazon S3 Bucket Use with Amazon S3.
Non-Amazon S3 Compatible Use with storage that is compatible with Amazon S3.
Azure Blob / Container Use with Azure Blob.
Azure Lake Use with Azure Lake.
SharePoint / OneDrive Use with SharePoint.

The Power of Flows and Multiple Subscriptions

Organizations subscribe their endpoints to flows to participate in them. Additionally, organizations can be subscribed to any number of flows independently of each other based on the business processes they require for the file exchange.

The pub/sub design of our automated MFT solution adds great flexibility and reusability to flows, allowing businesses to

  • Create many-to-many file transfers using one workflow and mapping multiple Flow Endpoints on both its sources and targets. Target Mapping specifies the path of the endpoint. By default, all target endpoints receive files transferred from all source endpoints. Use mapping to deliver files to specific Target Flow Endpoints when there are multiple target endpoints in one flow.
  • Configure each endpoint with different schedules or processes while still using the same flow.
  • Change endpoints or subscriptions at any time and the workflow automatically adjusts—no disruption to flows or file transfers.
  • Dynamically route data based on business rules and endpoint or file metadata.
  • Add (i.e., subscribe) as many partners as needed. Only one flow is needed for all partners of an organization.

Examples of Source and Target Flow Endpoint Mapping

Following are example use cases of multiple endpoint configurations using just a single flow.

One Source to Multiple Targets

A company’s supply chain includes several wholesalers, who each has its own warehouse management system. On a monthly basis, the company’s headquarters sends data files to each partner wholesaler for product updates.

Using one Thru flow mapped to many Target Flow Endpoints, headquarters can send the data files to all or just some of its wholesalers at the same time. Headquarters retains control of the file exchange which allows the wholesalers to be completely hands off in the process.

illustration of one source connecting with a single thru flow to transfer files to many targets

Multiple Source Endpoints to Single Target

A company needs to gather data from its numerous point-of-sale (POS) systems on a daily basis.

Source endpoints are created for each location and subscribed to one Thru flow. A secure repository on the corporate network is assigned and mapped as the single Target Flow Endpoint. The corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) system then pulls the data from the repository.

illustration of many sources connecting with a single thru flow to transfer files to one target

Multiple Source Endpoints to Multiple Targets

A company needs to send specific files from several sources to many partners, however, not all files from all sources go to all partners.

Thru’s automated MFT service allows the company to add logic to both ends of the file transfers: Qualifying files from a particular Source Flow Endpoint can be mapped to a specific Target Flow Endpoint. Additionally, all endpoints can be subscribed to a single flow, resulting in simplified management of all file transfers. The company no longer has to manage an exponential number of point-to-point connections to its partner network.

illustration of many sources connecting with a single thru flow to transfer files to many targets

Efficiently Transfer Files Using Flows with Multiple Endpoints

Thru’s cloud-based managed file transfer solution condenses hundreds of cumbersome point-to-point connections into a few Thru flows using reusable endpoints. The workflow connections are created using a no-code interface so no complex scripts or additional software development skills are required.

Get your secure file transfers up and running quickly using our automated file transfer solution »


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