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Prefect is a modern workflow management system designed to help you build, schedule, and monitor data workflows. It is often compared to Apache Airflow, as both systems are built on 00 Python and have similar goals in terms of orchestrating complex data pipelines. However, Prefect offers some unique features and improvements over Airflow that make it an attractive alternative.

Key features

  1. Hybrid execution model: Prefect combines the benefits of a centralized server for monitoring and management with decentralized execution. This means that your tasks run on separate infrastructure, which can help with scaling, security, and resource management.
  2. Dynamic pipelines: Prefect allows you to create dynamic pipelines that can change during runtime, making it easier to handle complex dependencies, conditional logic, and error handling.
  3. First-class support for failures: Prefect has built-in support for retries, timeouts, and error handling, which makes it easier to build resilient workflows.
  4. Modern UI: Prefect comes with a modern, intuitive web-based UI for monitoring and managing your workflows, as well as a GraphQL API for programmatic access.


To install Prefect, use the following command:

pip install prefect

Note that at the time of writing, pipx install prefect won’t work.

Example usage

Here’s a simple example of using Prefect to create a workflow with two tasks:

# file:
from prefect import task, flow

def say_hello():
    print("Hello, world!")

def greet(name):
    print(f"Hello, {name}!")

def main():
    hello = say_hello()
    greet_hello = greet("Prefect")

if __name__ == "__main__":

Then, register the deployment:


To schedule and monitor your Prefect workflows, you can use Prefect’s server and agent components. First, start the Prefect server with Docker by running:

prefect server start

Then, start a Prefect agent to execute your flows:

prefect agent local start

You should now be able to see and manage your flow through the Prefect web UI at http://localhost:8080.

In summary, Prefect is a modern, flexible, and powerful alternative to Apache Airflow for building, scheduling, and monitoring data workflows. With its hybrid execution model, dynamic pipelines, first-class support for failures, and flexible deployment options, it offers several advantages that make it an attractive choice for managing complex data pipelines.


Page last modified: 2023-12-08 04:41:37