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How Can Apache Airflow Help Data Engineers?


Data engineers play a crucial role in developing and maintaining data frameworks that provide essential data for data scientists and analysts. The evolution of data pipelines has posed challenges for conventional schedulers to handle complex workflows efficiently. However, platforms like Apache Airflow have emerged as a game-changer in simplifying data orchestration and transformation for data engineers. In this blog, we will explore the architecture and functionalities of Apache Airflow and discuss how it can significantly benefit data engineers.

What is Apache Airflow?

Apache Airflow, an open-source software, acts as a workflow management tool tailored for data engineers. Launched by Airbnb in 2014 and later adopted by the Apache Software Foundation in 2019, Airflow automates the scheduling and execution of data pipelines. Workflows are defined in Python code and visualized as Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs). DAGs illustrate task dependencies, providing a clear and unidirectional flow of operations.

Apache Airflow Architecture:

  1. Metadata:
    • Core and critical component storing information about DAG runs and task instances.
    • Relational database capturing environment configuration and task status.
  2. Scheduler:
    • Executive component monitoring and running task instances.
    • Determines task execution priority and triggers job instances based on timestamps.
  3. Web Server:
    • Hosts the front end of Airflow, serving as the user interface.
    • Connects with metadata using connectors, facilitating visualization of DAGs and overall task health.
  4. Executor:
    • Executes tasks triggered by the Scheduler.
    • Default executor is the sequential executor, compatible with SQLite. Alternatives include Celery and Kubernetes.

Variations in Architecture:

  • Single Node:
    • Suitable for a moderate number of DAGs.
    • All components connected to a single node.
  • Multi-node:
    • Ideal for handling big data.
    • Web Server and Scheduler on the same node, workers on different nodes.
    • Celery is a recommended executor for this architecture.

Apache Airflow & Data Engineering — a Quick Overview:

  • Keeps an audit trail for all performed tasks.
  • Highly scalable with the ability to include as many workers as needed.
  • Efficient management and monitoring of workflows.
  • User-friendly, utilizing standard Python language.
  • Free and open-source, promoting accessibility.
  • Allows setting up alerts for pipelines.
  • Seamless integration with Talend for running jobs.
  • Analytical dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of workflow performance.


Apache Airflow stands out as a powerful tool for data engineers, addressing the complexities of modern data pipelines. Its user-friendly interface, scalability, and integration capabilities make it an invaluable asset in the data engineering sector. For further inquiries about this workflow management software, the Royal Cyber data engineering expert team is available to provide answers and assistance. Embrace the efficiency and transparency offered by Apache Airflow in streamlining your data engineering workflows.

Author: Shariq Rizvi

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