Airflow vs AWS Lambda: 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 Lambda is detailed as "Automatically run code in response to modifications to objects in Amazon S3 buckets, messages in Kinesis streams, or updates in DynamoDB". AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.
Airflow belongs to "Workflow Manager" category of the tech stack, while AWS Lambda can be primarily classified under "Serverless / Task Processing".
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 Lambda provides the following key features:
- Extend other AWS services with custom logic
- Build custom back-end services
- Completely Automated Administration
Airflow is an open source tool with 12.9K GitHub stars and 4.71K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Airflow's open source repository on GitHub.
9GAG, Asana, and CircleCI are some of the popular companies that use AWS Lambda, whereas Airflow is used by Airbnb, Slack, and 9GAG. AWS Lambda has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1022 company stacks & 612 developers stacks; compared to Airflow, which is listed in 72 company stacks and 33 developer stacks.
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