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Airflow vs AWS Data Pipeline: What are the differences?

Developers describe Airflow as "A platform to programmaticaly author, schedule and monitor data pipelines, by Airbnb". Use Airflow to author workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. The Airflow scheduler executes your tasks on an array of workers while following the specified dependencies. Rich command lines utilities makes performing complex surgeries on DAGs a snap. The rich user interface makes it easy to visualize pipelines running in production, monitor progress and troubleshoot issues when needed. On the other hand, AWS Data Pipeline is detailed as "Process and move data between different AWS compute and storage services". AWS Data Pipeline is a web service that provides a simple management system for data-driven workflows. Using AWS Data Pipeline, you define a pipeline composed of the “data sources” that contain your data, the “activities” or business logic such as EMR jobs or SQL queries, and the “schedule” on which your business logic executes. For example, you could define a job that, every hour, runs an Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR)–based analysis on that hour’s Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) log data, loads the results into a relational database for future lookup, and then automatically sends you a daily summary email.

Airflow and AWS Data Pipeline are primarily classified as "Workflow Manager" and "Data Transfer" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Airflow are:

  • Dynamic: Airflow pipelines are configuration as code (Python), allowing for dynamic pipeline generation. This allows for writting code that instantiate pipelines dynamically.
  • Extensible: Easily define your own operators, executors and extend the library so that it fits the level of abstraction that suits your environment.
  • Elegant: Airflow pipelines are lean and explicit. Parameterizing your scripts is built in the core of Airflow using powerful Jinja templating engine.

On the other hand, AWS Data Pipeline provides the following key features:

  • You can find (and use) a variety of popular AWS Data Pipeline tasks in the AWS Management Console’s template section.
  • Hourly analysis of Amazon S3‐based log data
  • Daily replication of AmazonDynamoDB data to Amazon S3

Airflow is an open source tool with 13K GitHub stars and 4.72K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Airflow's open source repository on GitHub.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Airflow?

Use Airflow to author workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. The Airflow scheduler executes your tasks on an array of workers while following the specified dependencies. Rich command lines utilities makes performing complex surgeries on DAGs a snap. The rich user interface makes it easy to visualize pipelines running in production, monitor progress and troubleshoot issues when needed.

What is AWS Data Pipeline?

AWS Data Pipeline is a web service that provides a simple management system for data-driven workflows. Using AWS Data Pipeline, you define a pipeline composed of the “data sources” that contain your data, the “activities” or business logic such as EMR jobs or SQL queries, and the “schedule” on which your business logic executes. For example, you could define a job that, every hour, runs an Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR)–based analysis on that hour’s Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) log data, loads the results into a relational database for future lookup, and then automatically sends you a daily summary email.
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      What tools integrate with Airflow?
      What tools integrate with AWS Data Pipeline?
      What are some alternatives to Airflow and AWS Data Pipeline?
      Luigi
      It is a Python module that helps you build complex pipelines of batch jobs. It handles dependency resolution, workflow management, visualization etc. It also comes with Hadoop support built in.
      Apache NiFi
      An easy to use, powerful, and reliable system to process and distribute data. It supports powerful and scalable directed graphs of data routing, transformation, and system mediation logic.
      Jenkins
      In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
      AWS Step Functions
      AWS Step Functions makes it easy to coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices using visual workflows. Building applications from individual components that each perform a discrete function lets you scale and change applications quickly.
      Pachyderm
      Pachyderm is an open source MapReduce engine that uses Docker containers for distributed computations.
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      How developers use Airflow and AWS Data Pipeline
      Avatar of Eugene Ivanchenko
      Eugene Ivanchenko uses AirflowAirflow

      Manage the calculation pipeline and data distribution procedures.

      Avatar of Christopher Davison
      Christopher Davison uses AirflowAirflow

      Used for scheduling ETL jobs

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