Embracing Efficiency and Innovation with Azure Managed Airflow

SOUTHWORKS dev team discusses the advantages and enhanced efficiency of Azure Managed Airflow over Apache Airflow.

By Juan Alejandro Arguello, Software Architect at SOUTHWORKS


This article focuses on the advantages of Azure Managed Airflow over Apache Airflow. By embracing this forward-looking approach, your organization can seamlessly transition established DAGs into the Azure environment, unlocking a spectrum of operational enhancements.

Scale effortlessly, integrate smoothly, and monitor proactively - these are the promises Azure Managed Airflow fulfils, empowering organizations to not only migrate but elevate their workflow orchestration practices.


Introducing Azure Managed Airflow with SOUTHWORKS

SOUTHWORKS is enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by the new Azure Managed Airflow, a fully managed service that makes it easy to create, schedule, and monitor data pipelines on Azure.

Azure Managed Airflow is based on Apache Airflow, a popular open-source platform for data orchestration. However, Azure Managed Airflow takes the complexity out of setting up and managing Airflow, so you can focus on building your data pipelines.

With Azure Managed Airflow, you can:

  •  Scale your data pipelines up or down as needed.
  •  Secure your data pipelines withAzure Active Directory (Azure AD).

If you're looking for a simple and efficient way to manage your data pipelines, then Azure Managed Airflow is the perfect solution for you. Contact SOUTHWORKS today to learn more.

Here's what you need to know

Managed Airflow 101:

It's Airflow but running on Azure Data Factory. Define data pipelines with directed acyclic graphs (DAGs). Schedule them. Monitor them. All on Azure's robust platform.


Setup: Choose your Airflow version and get started, without unnecessary complexities.
Scalability: Azure's Managed Airflow adjusts as your needs grow.
Security: Azure Active Directory has your back. Stay informed with monitoring and alerting.
Efficiency: Dynamically optimized resource utilization to control costs.
Integration: Seamless integration with various Azure Services for different data sources.


Let's take a look at Apache Airflow as you can see all that you have to provision to get it up and running: a database, a web server, workers, a scheduler, and a filesystem to place the DAGs.

Apache Airflow Architecture

Now let's take a look at how Azure Managed Airflow takes care of this for you.

Azure Managed Airflow Architecture

The rationale behind our recommendation

While Apache Airflow is a powerful and widely used open-source workflow orchestration tool, there are challenges associated. Below we are listing how Azure Managed Airflow deals with them:

1. Setup and Maintenance: abstracts away much of this complexity by handling infrastructure management and maintenance for you.
2. Operational: take care of operational aspects, allowing your team to focus more on building workflows and less on infrastructure management.
3. Scalability: automatic scaling, ensuring that your workflows can handle high demand without manual adjustments.
4. Resource Management: optimized resource usage and costs dynamically.
5. Security and Compliance: piggyback on Azure's robust security measures, helping you maintain a higher level of data protection and compliance.
6. Integration: seamless with various Azure services, simplifying the creation of end-to-end data pipelines.
7. Monitoring and Logging: built-in monitoring and logging features that integrate with Azure's broader monitoring ecosystem.
8. DevOps: smooth integration with Azure DevOps and other CI/CD tools.
9. Support and Community: additional support and resources from Microsoft to help address any issues that may arise.
10. Cost Efficiency: pay-as-you-go pricing model can offer cost savings over time.


Azure Managed Airflow offers an out-of-the-box monitoring solution, as highlighted in the Import the DAGS folder into your Managed Airflow environment guide. The platform's intuitive monitoring interface provides several key advantages:
1. Unified Dashboard: Azure Managed Airflow's User Interface (UI) delivers a consolidated view of all your Airflow deployments, making it simpler for users to oversee and manage multiple workflows.
2. Direct DAG Import: The platform facilitates the direct import of Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs), reducing the manual effort and errors that can come with traditional methods.
3. Easy Access to Airflow UI: One of Azure Managed Airflow's standout features is the seamless access it provides to the native Airflow UI. This ensures that users familiar with Apache Airflow's interface can transition smoothly, leveraging the best of both platforms.

Airflow preview (monitoring)


Azure Managed Airflow is a powerful tool that can help you to automate and manage your data pipelines. It is a fully managed service, so you don't have to worry about the underlying infrastructure. You can focus on building your data pipelines and letting Azure Managed Airflow
take care of the rest.

Azure Managed Airflow really shines in these areas:

  • Setup: It is easy to set up and manage Azure Managed Airflow. You can use a graphical user interface (GUI) or a command-line interface (CLI).
  • Improved UX through a friendlier UI: The user interface of Azure Managed Airflow is much more user-friendly than the user interface of Apache Airflow. This makes it easier to create and manage your data pipelines.
  • Integration with other services: Azure Managed Airflow integrates with many other Azure services, such as Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Lake Storage, and Azure Synapse Analytics. This makes it easy to build end-to-end data pipelines.

If you are looking for a simple and efficient way to manage your data pipelines, then Azure Managed Airflow is the perfect solution for you.

Contact SOUTHWORKS today to learn more and get started.