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Airflow vs AWS Step Functions: What are the differences?
Airflow: 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; AWS Step Functions: Build Distributed Applications Using Visual Workflows. 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.
Airflow can be classified as a tool in the "Workflow Manager" category, while AWS Step Functions is grouped under "Cloud Task Management".
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.
According to the StackShare community, Airflow has a broader approval, being mentioned in 72 company stacks & 33 developers stacks; compared to AWS Step Functions, which is listed in 19 company stacks and 7 developer stacks.
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.
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
Pros of Airflow
- Task Dependency Management14
- Beautiful UI12
- Cluster of workers12
- Open source6
- Complex workflows5
- Good api3
- Apache project3
- Custom operators3
Pros of AWS Step Functions
- Integration with other services6
- Easily Accessible via AWS Console4
- Complex workflows4
- High Availability2
- Workflow Processing2
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Cons of Airflow
- Running it on kubernetes cluster relatively complex2
- Open source - provides minimum or no support2
- Logical separation of DAGs is not straight forward1
- Observability is not great when the DAGs exceed 2501