Alternative to Apache Airflow

Considering an alternative to Airflow?

Apache Airflow is an open-source platform designed to programmatically create, schedule, and monitor workflows. It is mainly used for orchestrating complex workflows and data pipelines.

While Apache Airflow is a popular and feature-rich software, users may have specific needs that may not be adequately addressed by the tool. You may be interested in comparing Airflow to Activeeon solutions if you are looking for a user-friendly interface, native support for real-time processing, tracking the state of tasks as they progress through the workflow, better intergration with external systems, simpler deployment and configuration, and much more.

IT automation image ActiveEon

Here are few elements that you need to review carefully:

Slow file access in cloud storage
Airflow storage access could be slow when using cloud storage, the complexity of the architecture creates some bottlenecks that are hard to fix – using Kubernetes can help but still requires a lot of tuning with NFS files systems, buckets and a lot of homemade scripting - but who doesn’t like weekends at work fixing stuff?

On the other hand, Activeeon manages cloud files access seamlessly using native cloud API’s, and you can use storage both in the cloud and on-premise (for compliance reasons).
Large metadata degrades the operations
The more you automate, the more your metadata volume increases, and then you will see a quick degradation of your operations. This is obviously critical for a large organization who has strict SLAs and customers to serve. You can try to fix it by deleting the metadata at a certain period, but then you break some Airflow feature that relies on durable job history.

At Activeeon, metadata are stored in a separate database and never interfere with the scheduler – a customer managing 1 million jobs per day only backups their metadata once a year for compliance safe keeping.
Airflow is only a batch scheduler
Airflow is only a time-based solution, so if you also have event trigger-based requirements, you are not in luck. You will need to get another scheduling solution.

Activeeon lets you create time-based, event-based and even “human in the loop” workloads.
Airflow is expensive to run
Airflow is free, right? Thinking of Airflow as a free tool is similar to receiving a free puppy for Christmas. Until you realize the ‘gift’ may come with a commitment to lifelong, indirect expenses. The cloud expenses tied to using Airflow are likely to rapidly increase, especially as multiple teams get involved and the requirement to maintain several secured environments becomes essential.

Prepare for a continuous investment of time and training in managing the various components required for the installation and maintenance of Airflow. If not configured well, updating DAGs in the test environment can inadvertently modify all DAGs in the production environment. This is a commonly made mistake among Airflow users and is not well-documented.
Our estimation suggests that ActiveEon is probably four to five times more budget-friendly as an enterprise solution, delivering a complete and unparalleled solution package tailored for enterprises.

Choose the right software to address your needs

Maintaining the existing system that no longer follows your requeirements is oftern more energy and time-consuming than taking the decision to change. We take into account your organization's context while providing a job scheduling and workload automation solution. We’ve successfully accompanied our customers on their trasformation projects to move away from legacy systems that were too difficult to maintain.

Discover if we have something better to offer.