Airflow Lineage Backend

Learn how to capture lineage information directly from Airflow DAGs using the OpenMetadata Lineage Backend.

Obtaining metadata should be as simple as possible. Not only that, we want developers to be able to keep using their tools without any major changes.

We can directly use Airflow code to help us track data lineage. What we want to achieve through this backend is the ability to link OpenMetadata Table Entities and the pipelines that have those instances as inputs or outputs.

Being able to control and monitor these relationships can play a major role in helping discover and communicate issues to your company data practitioners and stakeholders.

This document will guide you through the installation, configuration and internals of the process to help you unlock as much value as possible from within your Airflow pipelines.

The Lineage Backend can be directly installed to the Airflow instances as part of the usual OpenMetadata Python distribution:

pip3 install "openmetadata-ingestion[airflow-container]"

After the installation, we need to update the Airflow configuration. This can be done following this example on airflow.cfg:

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = no-auth

Or we can directly provide environment variables:

AIRFLOW__LINEAGE__BACKEND="airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend"
AIRFLOW__LINEAGE__AIRFLOW_SERVICE_NAME="local_airflow"
AIRFLOW__LINEAGE__OPENMETADATA_API_ENDPOINT="http://localhost:8585/api"
AIRFLOW__LINEAGE__AUTH_PROVIDER_TYPE="no-auth"

We can choose the option that best adapts to our current architecture. Find more information on Airflow configurations here.

We are now going to list the configurations for the different SSO. We will use the ini format for those, but on your own Airflow you can freely choose.

Google SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = google
# Note that the path should be local in Airflow
secret_key = path-to-secret-key-file.json

Okta SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = okta
client_id = client id
org_url = org url
private_key = private key
email = email
# Optional
scopes = ["scope1", "scope2"]

Auth0 SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = auth0
client_id = client id
secret_key = secret key
domain = domain

Azure SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = azure
client_id = client id
client_secret = client secret
authority = authority
# Optional
scopes = ["scope1", "scope2"]

OpenMetadata SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = openmetadata
jwt_token = token

Custom OIDC SSO

[lineage]
backend = airflow_provider_openmetadata.lineage.openmetadata.OpenMetadataLineageBackend
airflow_service_name = local_airflow
openmetadata_api_endpoint = http://localhost:8585/api
auth_provider_type = custom-oidc
client_id = client id
client_secret = client secret
token_endpoint = endpoint

In the following sections, we'll show how to adapt our pipelines to help us build the lineage information.

You can find the source code here.

The backend will look for a Pipeline Service Entity with the name specified in the configuration under airflow_service_name. If it cannot find the instance, it will create one based on the following information:

  • airflow_service_name as name. If not informed, the default value will be airflow.
  • It will use the webserver base URL as the URL of the service.

Each DAG processed by the backend will be created or updated as a Pipeline Entity linked to the above Pipeline Service.

We are going to extract the task information and add it to the Pipeline task property list. Then, a DAG created with some tasks as the following random example:

t1 >> [t2, t3]

We will capture this information as well, therefore showing how the DAG contains three tasks t1, t2 and t3; and t1 having t2 and t3 as downstream tasks.

Airflow Operators contain the attributes inlets and outlets. When creating our tasks, we can pass any of these two parameters as follows:

BashOperator(
    task_id='print_date',
    bash_command='date',
    outlets={
        "tables": ["service.database.schema.table"]
    }
)

Note how in this example we are defining a Python dict with the key tables and value a list. This list should contain the FQN of tables ingested through any of our connectors or APIs.

When each task is processed, we will use the OpenMetadata client to add the lineage information (upstream for inlets and downstream for outlets) between the Pipeline and Table Entities.

It is important to get the naming right, as we will fetch the Table Entity by its FQN. If no information is specified in terms of lineage, we will just ingest the Pipeline Entity without adding further information.

Note

While we are showing here how to parse the lineage using the Lineage Backend, the setup of inlets and outlets is supported as well through external metadata ingestion from Airflow, be it via the UI, CLI or directly running an extraction DAG from Airflow itself.

Still have questions?

You can take a look at our Q&A or reach out to us in Slack

Was this page helpful?

editSuggest edits