What's the definition of a 'run' in terms of automations?

Hi guys,

I would love to get your help/creative ideas regarding Airtable automations.
The company I’m working for has about 70 clients and it keeps growing. We’re in the middle of updating their bases to a new layout with multiple new features with a dependency on the automation features.
Currently, we have a pro user with a limit of 50K monthly automations per base. We’re planning on moving to the enterprise plan, and unlock the possibility of 500K automations per month.

Our problem starts when we’re thinking about the future.
If we’ll add more clients - we’ll add more automations. Each base has about 60 columns, many of them depend on automation as said before, which leads me to the point that maybe even 500K automations won’t help us out here.

In general, our product generates leads for our clients. It means that every day each client has 2 digits of new records (depends on their plan).
Eventually, it means that for each record, a large number of automations will be activated.
Another aspect is that we’re copying data from old bases to the new ones, and if a base had a history of 3000 old records, you can do the math and see that even 500K won’t be a fit for us.

So, after giving you a brief of the general picture, let’s talk about the solution we brought to the table.
We’re planning on moving some of this automations out of the platform to a 3rd party bot that will read records from Airtable, and push them back. My question is, will this action also be categorized as a ‘run’?

Here’s a brief:

If record match conditions - send it to our server:

Then, our 3rd party bot will make the adjustments and send it back using Airtable’s API.

We’ve split the automation into two groups:

  • New records automation (Meaning - when a new record comes in, make the adjustments)
  • Manual operations automation (Meaning - when a client modify a record, set a reminder, etc. - make the adjustments)

We believe that the ‘New records automation’ will consume much more resources, so we’re trying to move it out from Airtable and leave the manual modifications automations. By doing so, our Enterprise license will fit to our needs.

The question is: if we’re gonna adopt this method, will it still count it as a run, or we can reduce the number of runs by doing so?

If the answer is no, I’d love to hear new thoughts on how to deal with this kind of problem.

Another question - Is it possible to upgrade only the automation limit (Meaning - staying a pro user with 1M automation, or upgrade to enterprise with 2M)?

Thanks for your time and help!

Hi @Mr_Kav,

To answer some of your questions:

  1. Using Airtable’s API will not use up your automation runs.

  2. In regards to automations, Airtable offers no ability to upgrade beyond the number of automation runs that they provide on your plan. If you exceed the number of automation runs that Airtable provides you in a month, Airtable will shut down all of your automations until the next month with no ability to pay for more automation runs.

  3. In my personal opinion, I think it would be a huge waste of money to spend $3,000 per month on the Enterprise Plan, just to get 500,000 automation runs. And since you can’t upgrade beyond 500,000 anyways, all of your automations will be shut down until the next month if you exceed 500,000 automation runs.

  4. But Airtable’s Automations are extremely limited anyways, so it’s not a great automation platform to bank your future on.

  5. Your best bet is to completely eliminate Airtable’s Automations from the picture, and turn to Integromat instead, which is a professional automation platform that goes FAR FAR FAR beyond what Airtable’s Automations can do. It’s like comparing an airplane to a bicycle. And Integromat will give you 800,000 operations for only $299 per month. Plus, if you use up your 800,000 operations, you can upgrade beyond that.

  6. If you have a budget for your project and you’d like to hire an expert Airtable consultant & Registered Integromat Partner to help you create your automations & integrations for you, please feel free to contact me through my website at ScottWorld.com.

(Note that I am a professional Airtable consultant and a Registered Integromat Partner, and the Integromat link contains my personal referral code.)

Thanks for your detailed response @ScottWorld!

That’s exactly what we thought to do, but Integromat won’t let us use Javascript without a third part involvement like Google Cloud, which makes it more complicated.

So we decided to go with one of these two options:

  1. Exporting all of the automations to Zapier (We can use the ‘Code by Zapier’ and ‘Filter by Zapier’ to run Javascript and set the conditions.
  2. Exporting these triggers to our server, using API/Webhooks, and run JS and Node.JS to activate these automations and push the data back to our table

What we’re trying to figure out is if we’ll use the second solution, as described above (see the picture), will it categorized as a run?

As for hiring an expert, we can definitely use your services to open our minds and find solutions to solve this problem. I’ll bring this idea to my colleagues and ping you through your website.

Thanks again for your help!

Every time an Airtable automation is triggered, it counts as ONE run. It doesn’t matter if the automation fails. It doesn’t matter if the automation has multiple actions in it.

Having an automation send data to a server for further processing will still count as a run, even if the automation does nothing else. Once an automation is triggered, you might as well complete all the processing within the automation itself (if you can).

Native JavaScript coding is coming very soon to Integromat — it might even be rolling out this month.

But yes, using Amazon Lambda or Google Cloud is a great workaround for now for using JavaScript within an Integromat scenario.

Yes, as @kuovonne mentioned above, every successful trigger counts as a run.

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