Airflow vs Apache Flink: 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, Apache Flink is detailed as "Fast and reliable large-scale data processing engine". Apache Flink is an open source system for fast and versatile data analytics in clusters. Flink supports batch and streaming analytics, in one system. Analytical programs can be written in concise and elegant APIs in Java and Scala.
Airflow can be classified as a tool in the "Workflow Manager" category, while Apache Flink is grouped under "Big Data Tools".
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, Apache Flink provides the following key features:
- Hybrid batch/streaming runtime that supports batch processing and data streaming programs.
- Custom memory management to guarantee efficient, adaptive, and highly robust switching between in-memory and data processing out-of-core algorithms.
- Flexible and expressive windowing semantics for data stream programs
Airflow and Apache Flink are both open source tools. It seems that Airflow with 12.9K GitHub stars and 4.71K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Apache Flink with 9.35K GitHub stars and 5K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, Airflow has a broader approval, being mentioned in 72 company stacks & 33 developers stacks; compared to Apache Flink, which is listed in 20 company stacks and 22 developer stacks.