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Create and run your first DAG on Astro

Astro is the industry's leading managed service for Apache Airflow. The best way to understand how Astro works is to run an Apache Airflow DAG with the Astro CLI. In this quickstart, follow the steps required to deploy an example DAG to Astro and trigger a DAG run from the Astro CLI.

Specifically, you will:

  • Authenticate and log in to Astro.
  • Create a Deployment.
  • Create an Astro project.
  • Deploy DAGs to Astro with the Astro CLI.
  • Trigger a run of an example DAG in the Airflow UI.

This tutorial takes about 15 minutes. If you're new to Airflow and want a more in-depth tutorial, see Write your First DAG.


Astronomer recommends installing Docker Desktop for testing and running Airflow on your local computer, but it's not required for this tutorial. If you just want to run Airflow on your local machine, see Get started with Airflow using the Astro CLI.

Step 1: Create a Deployment

An Astro Deployment is an instance of Apache Airflow that is powered by all core Airflow components, including a webserver, scheduler, and one or more workers. You deploy DAGs to a Deployment, and you can have one or more Deployments within a Workspace.

  1. Log in to the Cloud UI

  2. On the Deployments page, click + Deployment.

  1. In the Name field, enter a name for your Deployment. You can leave the other fields at their default values. This creates a basic Deployment on a standard Astronomer-hosted cluster. You can delete the Deployment after you finish testing your example DAG runs.

  2. Click Create Deployment.

    A confirmation message appears indicating that the Deployment status is Creating until all underlying components in the Deployment are healthy. During this time, the Airflow UI is unavailable and you can't deploy code or modify Deployment settings. When the Deployment is ready, the status changes to Healthy.

    For more information about possible Deployment health statuses, see Deployment health. Or, to learn more about how to customize your Deployment settings, see Configure a Deployment.

Step 2: Create an Astro project

An Astro project contains the set of files necessary to run Airflow, including dedicated folders for your DAG files, plugins, and dependencies. All new Astro projects contain two example DAGs. In this tutorial, you'll be deploying these example DAGs to your Deployment on Astro.

  1. Open your terminal or IDE.

  2. Create a new folder for your Astro project:

    mkdir <your-astro-project-name>
  3. Open the folder:

    cd <your-astro-project-name>
  4. Run the following Astro CLI command to initialize an Astro project in the folder:

    astro dev init

    The command generates the following files in your folder:

    ├── .env # Local environment variables
    ├── dags # Where your DAGs go
    │ ├── # Example DAG that showcases a simple ETL data pipeline
    │ └── # Example DAG that showcases more advanced Airflow features, such as the TaskFlow API
    ├── Dockerfile # For the Astro Runtime Docker image, environment variables, and overrides
    ├── include # For any other files you'd like to include
    ├── plugins # For any custom or community Airflow plugins
    │ └──
    ├── tests # For any DAG unit test files to be run with pytest
    │ └── # Test that checks for basic errors in your DAGs
    ├── airflow_settings.yaml # For your Airflow connections, variables and pools (local only)
    ├── packages.txt # For OS-level packages
    └── requirements.txt # For Python packages

Step 3: Deploy example DAGs to your Astro Deployment

DAG-only deploys are an Astro feature that you can use to quickly update your Astro Deployment by only deploying the dags folder of your Astro project. You'll now trigger a DAG-only deploy to push your example DAGs to Astro.

  1. Run the following command to authenticate to Astro on the CLI:

    astro login

    After running this command, you are prompted to open your web browser and enter your credentials to the Cloud UI. The Cloud UI then automatically authenticates you to the CLI.

  2. Go to, and select one of the available options to access the Cloud UI.

  3. Run the following command to enable DAG-only code deploys on your Deployment.

    astro deployment update --dag-deploy enable
  4. When the prompt appears in the Astro CLI, select the Deployment where you want to deploy your DAGs.

  5. Run the following command to deploy your DAGs to Astro:

    astro deploy --dags

    This command returns a list of Deployments available in your Workspace and prompts you to confirm where you want to deploy your DAG code. After you select a Deployment, the CLI parses your DAGs to ensure that they don't contain basic syntax and import errors. If your code passes the parse, the Astro CLI deploys your DAGs to Astro.

Step 4: Trigger your DAG on Astro

Newly-deployed DAGs are paused by default and will not start running automatically. To run one of the example DAGs in your Astro project according to its schedule, you must unpause it from the Airflow UI hosted on your Deployment.

  1. In the Deployment page of the Cloud UI, click the Open Airflow button.

  2. In the main DAGs view of the Airflow UI, click the slider button next to example-dag-basic to unpause it. If you hover over the DAG, it says DAG is Active. When you do this, the DAG starts to run on the schedule that is defined in its code.

    Pause DAG slider in the Airflow UI

  3. Manually trigger a DAG run of example-dag-basic by clicking the play button in the Actions column. When you develop DAGs on Astro, triggering a DAG run instead of waiting for the DAG schedule can help you quickly identify and resolve issues.

    After you press Play, the Runs and Recent Tasks sections for the DAG start to populate with data.

    DAG running in the Airflow UI

    These circles represent different states that your DAG and task runs can be in.

  4. Click on the name of the DAG, example-dag-basic, to open the Grid view for the DAG. To see if your DAG ran successfully, the most recent entry in the grid should have green squares for all of your tasks.

  5. Pause your DAG by clicking the slider button next to example-dag-basic. This prevents your example DAG from running automatically and consuming your Deployment resources.

Step 5: View your DAG status in the Cloud UI

The Cloud UI shows you information about the health of your Deployment, including analytics and logs for your DAG runs.

Go back to your Deployment page in the Cloud UI. Because you ran your example DAG, your Deployment information page now has data about your Deployment and DAG runs. The following example shows an example of what you might find in the Analytics view for your Deployment.

Summary information about your DAG runs in the Analytics tab of a Quickstart Deployment.

Step 6: (Optional) Delete your Deployment

To limit resource usage, you might want to delete your Deployment after you finish triggering your DAG test runs.

  1. In the Cloud UI, open your Workspace, then open your Deployment.

  2. Select the ellipses to see more options, then click Delete.

  3. When prompted, confirm the deletion by typing DELETE.

Next Steps

Now that you've created and run your first DAG on Astro, the next step is to add your own DAGs, build out the rest of your Astro project, and start testing real data. See:

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