What is Apache Airflow?

Airflow is a widely-used workflow automation and scheduling platform that can be used to author and manage data pipelines. Airflow uses workflows made of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. To learn more about Airflow, check out the Airflow documentation.

How does Airflow work with OpenLineage?

Understanding complex inter-DAG dependencies and providing up-to-date runtime visibility into DAG execution can be challenging. OpenLineage integrates with Airflow to collect DAG lineage metadata so that inter-DAG dependencies are easily maintained and viewable via a lineage graph, while also keeping a catalog of historical runs of DAGs.

The integration is implemented using the openlineage-airflow integration library, which sends OpenLineage events to Marquez. The DAG metadata collected can answer questions like:

  • Why has a DAG failed?
  • Why has the DAG runtime increased after a code change?
  • What are the upstream dependencies of a DAG?

How can I use this integration?


To use the OpenLineage Airflow integration, you'll need a running Airflow instance. You'll also need an OpenLineage compatible HTTP backend. In this guide, we'll be using the openlineage-airflow library to automatically send OpenLineage events to Marquez.


To download and install the latest openlineage-airflow library, update the requirements.txt file of your running Airflow instance with:



Next, we'll need to specify where we want Airflow to send OpenLineage events. openlineage-airflow will use the OPENLINEAGE_URL environment variable to send OpenLineage events to Marquez.

For example, to send OpenLineage events to a local instance of Marquez, use:



Finally, to begin collecting Airflow DAG metadata with Marquez, make the following change to your DAG:

- from airflow import DAG + from openlineage.airflow import DAG

When enabled, the library will:

  • On DAG start, collect metadata for each task
  • Collect task input / output metadata (source, schema, etc)
  • Collect task run-level metadata (execution time, state, parameters, etc)
  • On DAG complete, also mark the task as complete in Marquez

Where can I learn more?

  • Take a look at Marquez's Airflow example to learn how to enable OpenLineage metadata collection for Airflow DAGs and troubleshoot failing DAGs using Marquez.
  • Watch Data Lineage with Apache Airflow


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