Apache Airflow® glossary

This glossary defines the concepts and terms essential for understanding and working with Airflow®.


A connection is an object used for storing login credentials and other information Airflow® needs to connect to external services and exchange data with them. Every connection has a unique conn_id value that you can provide to hooks and operators when a connection is required.

DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph)

A DAG is a collection of tasks in Airflow® organized in a way that corresponds to their dependencies and relationships. DAGs are used to define and manage workflows. The word acyclic means that task execution doesn't contain any loops and must ultimately end. Learn more


An executor is a mechanism that handles task execution. Depending on where tasks run, executors are divided into local and remote. Local executors run tasks inside the scheduler process, while remote executors usually use a pool of remote workers.


A hook is a high-level abstraction of an external API that allows Airflow® to communicate with that system without low-level code or dedicated libraries.


An image is a container image with a specific version of Airflow®, OS, and Python. When deploying a Managed Apache Airflow® cluster on DoubleCloud, you can use either the default image with only the necessary packages, or a custom image that you build for your specific workflow.


A predefined template for a task that can be used declaratively inside a DAG. Core operators include BashOperator for running bash commands, PythonOperator for executing Python functions, and EmailOperator for sending out emails.


The Scheduler is a process that runs in the background and constantly monitors DAGs and tasks. It schedules the tasks when they need to run and distributes tasks across workers. Learn more


A sensor is a special type of Operator designed to wait for something to occur.


A task is a unit of execution in Airflow®. Tasks have dependencies that are referred to as upstream and downstream tasks in the Airflow® terminology.