Understanding Connection Usage and Licensing

Document created by chris_stevens Employee on Jan 12, 2016Last modified by Adam Arrowsmith on Apr 20, 2017
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This article is designed to provide you a better understanding of how connectors affect licensing within AtomSphere, and what some common issues are regarding them.



How Does Connection Usage and Licensing Work?

  • Generally your account will be provisioned with some number of connections licenses based on your subscription. This means you can deploy up to that many connections across your various integration processes. Connection licenses are consumed as you deploy processes containing unique connections.
  • If you attempt to deploy more connections than provisioned in your account, you will be blocked from deploying processes containing net-new connections until more connection licenses are provisioned. You can try to “free up” connection licenses by detaching unused processes.
  • You can view connection usage within AtomSphere, account menu > Setup > Licensing. See Licensing for complete details.


What’s the Difference between a Connector and Connection?

  • A connector is the adapter that moves data in and out of integration processes. Connectors abstract much of the technical details for establishing connectivity to a given application or data source API, allowing you to focus on the record-level interaction and business requirements. More info about connectors can be found here.
  • A connector is really a combination two components: a connection and an operation. Think of the connection as where you want to go and the operation as what you want to do there.
  • A connection represents a specific instance/location of an application or data source. Keep reading below for more information.
  • Licensing is based on connections not connectors. You are not provisioned specific types of connectors (e.g. database, Salesforce). You are provisioned the total number of endpoints to which you want to integrate. See "What are Connector Classes?" below.
  • The full list of connectors can be found here.


What Represents a Unique Connection?

  • A connection represents a specific instance/location of an application or data source. For example, you would need a separate connector per:
    • FTP host with user credentials
    • Logical database on a given server with user credentials
    • REST web services base URL
    • SOAP web services WSDL/endpoint
    • Business application (e.g. Salesforce, SAP) credentials
  • Technically speaking a connection represents a unique set of configuration values (e.g. username, password, host, etc.). Whenever a different set of values is required, a separate connection must be used.
  • However a separate connection is NOT needed for each action you wish to perform against a given endpoint/API (for example, “query Salesforce customer” vs. “create Salesforce customer”). Multiple different actions (represented in AtomSphere as operation components) are intended to be paired with a single connection across different integration processes.
  • Note that two connections with the same name and identical configuration are still two separate connections. Similarly a copy of a connection is still a separate connection.


What are Connector Classes?

  • Connection licenses are categorized and provisioned by connector class: Enterprise, Standard, Small Business, and Trading Partner. For example:
    • Small Business - QuickBooks, Sage 50/Peachtree
    • Standard - SFTP, Disk, Mail, Salesforce, NetSuite, HTTP Client, Web Services SOAP Client
    • Enterprise - SAP, Oracle E-Business
    • Trading Partner - Trading partner (X12, HL7, EDIFACT)
  • The full list of connectors and their classes can be found here.
  • You can deploy any type of connection within that class. The specific connector type is not important. For example you may intend to use your three standard connections for Salesforce, a database, and an FTP server but technically you can deploy any three standard connections.
  • Trading Partner licenses work the same way however count unique trading partner components instead of connection components. Note that trading partner components effectively contain embedded connections.


How are Connections Counted?

  • When you deploy a process, the unique connection components referenced within that process (either by a connector step or embedded within another step or component) are counted.
  • A connection license is consumed for each unique connection component deployed to a given runtime: Atom, Molecule, or Atom Cloud. If your account has multiple attachments to the same Atom Cloud, those attachments are considered separate runtimes.
  • Only connections referenced within a deployed process are counted against licensing. Connection components created in the Build console but never deployed do not count.
  • Some common scenarios:
ScenarioConnection Licenses Used
A single process with 2 unique connections is deployed to a single Atom.

2 connections




Unique connections = A + B = 2

Two processes each containing the same 2 unique connections are both deployed to the same single Atom.

2 connections

rtaImage (1).png



Unique connections = A + B = 2

A single process with 2 connections is deployed to an environment with 2 Atoms attached

4 connections

rtaImage (2).png



Unique connections = Atom 1 (A + B) + Atom 2 (A + B) = 4




The process to deployed to both Atoms. Each Atom is considered a separate logical runtime engine.

A single process containing 2 connections is deployed to a Molecule cluster consisting of 3 nodes.

2 connections

rtaImage (3).png



Unique connections = A + B = 2




A Molecule is a single logical runtime engine regardless of how many nodes (servers) it spans.


What are Production vs. Test Connections?

  • This applies to accounts with the Test Connection Management feature enabled.
  • Environments are classified as either “Test” or “Production”. This is a user-defined classification however note that certain Atom Clouds (most notably the Dell Boomi Atom Cloud) may only be used in a production environment.

rtaImage (4).png

  • Whether a deployed connection counts as Test or Production depends on the classification of the environment to which it is deployed. There is no distinction in the connection component itself.
  • A process deployed to a “Production” environment will count against Production connections. The same process deployed to a “Test” environment will count against Test connections.
  • Test connections are provisioned and used separately from Production connections.
ScenarioConnection Licenses Used
A single process containing 2 connections is deployed to both a "Test" environment containing a single Atom and a "Production" environment containing a Molecule...2 Test connections and 2 Production connections


Do Published Web Services Count as Connections?

  • No. If you publish a web service process, the listen/receive action in the beginning of the process does not consume a connection because it uses the Atom’s shared web server. In fact those types of connectors do not even have a connection component. Connections to other endpoints elsewhere in the process do count towards usage as normal.
  • These connectors are:
    • AS2 Server
    • MLLP Server
    • Web Services Server
  • The ability to publish web services is an account-level feature. Once enabled you can publish any number of web services listener processes.
  • Keep in mind if you use an HTTP Client or Web Services SOAP Client connector to invoke another AtomSphere web service process you've published, that client connection DOES count against licensing.
  • Note some connectors that implement the Listen action such as JMS and SAP do have connection components and therefore count towards usage. Technically these are client-initiated subscribers and do not leverage the Atom's shared server.


Are there any Free Connectors?

  • Yes. The connectors for AtomSphere platform features do not count against licensing. You can deploy these connections for free.
  • These connectors are:
    • Atom Queue
    • AtomSphere API
    • AtomSphere API Partner
    • MDM
    • MDM Listener
  • As discussed above, the shared web server connectors do not count towards licensing either.


Do Custom Connectors Developed Using the SDK Count Towards Licensing?

Yes, connections for custom connectors developed using the Connector SDK count towards licensing.


How Can I Be Smart about My Connection Usage?

  • Reuse connection components! Look to reference an existing connection within your account before creating a new one. This will reduce confusion and simplify maintenance in addition to minimizing connection usage.
  • To help with reuse, as best practice organize and consolidate all connection components into a single common folder within the Build console. You may wish to restrict access to this folder to administrators or super-users.
  • As part of your process deployment procedure, confirm only “official” connections (those residing in the common folder) are referenced in the to-be-deployed process. Use Compare Deployment to compare the list of components in the to-be-deployed process version to the previously deployed version to determine if any new connections have been introduced by accident.
  • Use environment extensions instead of having separate connections for each environment, such as sandbox vs. production.
  • Sometimes separate connections are required while developing and testing in Test Mode, requiring you to configure connection values directly vs. extensions. In these situations create a separate connection but be sure to replace with the “official” connection before deploying. Adopt a naming convention to avoid confusion (e.g. “Database ABC DEV DO NOT DEPLOY”).
  • Understand and take advantage of the configuration and parameterization options of certain connectors:
    • Disk - Unique per file path however this can be parameterized. Recommend only ever having a single Disk connection for your entire account and parameterize everywhere.
    • FTP - Unique per FTP host and credentials. Remote directory path is configured separately in the operation component.
    • Database - Unique per logical database and credentials on a given database server. For example, if you have multiple logical databases on the same server, you will need separate connections. Similarly if you require different user names to access different schemas in the same logical database, you will need separate connections.
    • HTTP (e.g. REST) - Unique per base URL. Recommend configuring only the base URL (e.g. www.myendpoint.com) in the connection and pairing with different or dynamically-configured operations to connect to multiple resource paths.


Where Do I View My Connection Licensing and Usage?

You can view the number of connections provisioned and used in your account within AtomSphere, account menu > Setup > Licensing. See Licensing for complete details.

rtaImage (5).png

(1) Connections By Class - The red section (top) shows a summary of connections by purchased (provisioned), deployed (used), and available by connection class.

(2) Connectors Deploy in Class - The blue section (bottom left) shows the connections deployed for the class selected above.

(3) Deployments - The green section (bottom right) shows deployed connections along with the process and Atom/Molecule/Cloud. This list can be filtered by selected the class above and/or connection to the left.


How Do I Get More Connections Added to My Account?

If you need more connections provisioned in your account to be able to deploy additional processes, please contact your Dell Boomi Account Manager. Your Account Manager is listed in the Support Portal under “Account Info”.


Common Licensing Issues


How Do I Determine Where a Specific Connection is Used?

To determine in which deployed processes a given connection is used, do the following:

  1. Within AtomSphere, go to account menu > Setup > Licensing.
  2. Determine the connection class for the given connection (for example, Standard) and click the Connector Class in the top section “Connections By Class”. This will filter the bottom left section “Connectors Deployed in Class”.
  3. Next in that bottom left section, click the connection name (e.g. “My Salesforce Connection”). This will filter the bottom right section “Deployments”.
  4. Finally, “Deployments” will show all deployments (processes and Atoms) containing the given connection.

You can use this information to determine if the connection is accidentally referenced by a process or incorrectly deployed to an Atom.


In example below, the licenses are filtered for a SFTP “Test” connection named “New SFTP Connection.” It shows the connection referenced by two processes, “Test” and “Disk Test”. However because both processes are deployed to the same Atom (“personalDev”) only one Standard (Test) connection license is used.

rtaImage (6).png


Deployment Warning Message: “Deployment Rejected: attempted to deploy X more Standard Connection(s). Doing so would exceed your purchases for this connector class...”

This warning means the process(es) you are attempting to deploy will result in more deployed connections than are allowed in your account for the given connector class. To resolve, try the following:

  1. Review your process configuration for redundant or extra connections.
    • Modify your process to reuse an existing deployed connection vs. creating a new connection (if appropriate).
    • Remove extra/unused connection references. Note connections referenced by disconnected steps (perhaps left over from development/testing) will still count towards usage so remove those shapes from the process.
    • Remember connections can be referenced by shapes other than Connector shapes, such as Decisions, Set Properties, Map Functions, etc.
    • Confirm the number of available connections for the given connector class using the Licensing tab. If there are not enough connections available, try the following to free up connections:
  2. Reduce your deployed Standard connections, by using the "How to Determine Where a Specific Connection is Used" step above.
    • Look for opportunities to consolidate redundant connections that are really connecting to the same endpoint or can be parametrized for reuse. See "How Can I Be Smart about My Connection Usage?" above.
    • Look for processes that are no longer used (perhaps left over from testing or proof of concept development) and detach them from the environment or Atom.
    • If using environments, look for and remove unused environments. Similarly within a given environment, detach any extra Atoms.
  3. Contact your Account Manager to obtain additional connection licenses.


Why Does My Deployed Connection List Include Deleted Connections?

Please see this article: Why Does My Connector List in the Licensing Tab include Connectors that have been Deleted?

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