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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.

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I am so confused. I need a tool that will allow me to go to about 10 different URLs to get a list of objects. Those object lists will be hundreds or thousands in length. I then need to get detailed data lists about each object. Those detailed data lists can have hundreds of elements that could be map/reduced somehow. My batch process dies sometimes halfway through which means hours of processing gone, i.e. time wasted. I need something like a directed graph that will keep results of successful data collection and allow me either pragmatically or manually to retry the failed ones some way (0 - forever) times. I want it to then process all the ones that have succeeded or been effectively ignored and load the data store with the aggregation of some couple thousand data-points. I know hitting this many endpoints is not a good practice but I can't put collectors on all the endpoints or anything like that. It is pretty much the only way to get the data.

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Gilroy Gordon
Solution Architect at IGonics Limited · | 2 upvotes · 170.9K views
Recommends
CassandraCassandra

For a non-streaming approach:

You could consider using more checkpoints throughout your spark jobs. Furthermore, you could consider separating your workload into multiple jobs with an intermittent data store (suggesting cassandra or you may choose based on your choice and availability) to store results , perform aggregations and store results of those.

Spark Job 1 - Fetch Data From 10 URLs and store data and metadata in a data store (cassandra) Spark Job 2..n - Check data store for unprocessed items and continue the aggregation

Alternatively for a streaming approach: Treating your data as stream might be useful also. Spark Streaming allows you to utilize a checkpoint interval - https://spark.apache.org/docs/latest/streaming-programming-guide.html#checkpointing

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Pros of Airflow
Pros of AWS Data Pipeline
  • 49
    Features
  • 14
    Task Dependency Management
  • 12
    Beautiful UI
  • 12
    Cluster of workers
  • 10
    Extensibility
  • 5
    Python
  • 5
    Open source
  • 4
    Complex workflows
  • 3
    K
  • 3
    Custom operators
  • 3
    Good api
  • 2
    Apache project
  • 2
    Dashboard
  • 1
    Easy to create DAG and execute it

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Cons of Airflow
Cons of AWS Data Pipeline
  • 2
    Running it on kubernetes cluster relatively complex
  • 2
    Open source - provides minimum or no support
  • 1
    Logical separation of DAGs is not straight forward
  • 1
    Observability is not great when the DAGs exceed 250
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    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.
    See all alternatives