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Airflow and Kubernetes at JW Player, a match made in heaven?


Learn how JW Player leverages Apache Airflow and Kubernetes to author, schedule, execute and monitor workflows containing thousands of tasks on a monthly basis. In this talk we'll provide an overview of our architecture, best practices for designing jobs and share some of the lessons that we learned.

At JW Player multiple teams use Apache Airflow to author, schedule and monitor workflows defined as acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. Every single month we use Apache Airflow to run thousands of tasks. Our tasks are very heterogeneous: we have tasks that perform conventional ETL, but also more complicated tasks that train and evaluate Machine Learning models, or use existing Machine Learning models to analyze new data that flows into our systems at a daily basis. Our tasks interact with many different systems ranging from databases (PostgreSQL, Snowflake), to machine learning frameworks (TensorFlow), to storage systems (S3), to Hadoop clusters running Spark on EMR.

While the tasks that we run through Apache Airflow are very diverse and touch many different systems, they have one thing in common: every single task that we run at JW Player through Airflow is packaged as a Docker image. This has several benefits, but the most important one is that it allows us to leverage Kubernetes' JobController to execute our tasks through a (custom variant of) the KubernetesPodOperator. This allows us to use and scale our compute resources more effectively while also providing engineers certain guarantees around reproducibility and isolation due to the nature of Docker containers.

In this talk aimed at Software Engineers and Data Scientists we will provide an overview of the architecture that we adopted for Apache Airflow at JW Player. We will share some insights into the engineering decisions that we have made and we will share best practices for designing and testing jobs themselves.


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