Who, What, and Why DAGSTER!

Ajith Shetty
5 min readJul 24, 2021
Source: https://dagster.io/

We have 100s of blogs talking about Dagster and what does it do. And having a discussion between airflow vs Dagster for a long long time.

But here we are talking a step back and talking about the origin of the Dagster and shall answer below questions.

  1. How did it start
  2. Why did it come to an existence
  3. Why do we need it

A Quick Intro to Dagster

Dagster is developed by Elementl founded by Nick Schrock CEO of Elementl, a company aiming to reshape the data management ecosystem, and the creator of Dagster, a new programming model for data processing.

Just before we spill the beans on Dagster, let’s talk about real world problems in the Data Engineering and Data Science world?

Almost 99.999 percent of the time we hear people talking about how bad the data is and how painful it is to fix it.

Data People would like to know below to know more about it:

  1. From where the hell we get the data
  2. I have no Idea what does this mean
  3. I don’t trust this data nor I can test my Model with this.
  4. Well, its 2021 and this isn’t Sexy.

Data Engineers and Data Science Spend their 80% of the time Cleaning the data and 20% doing the actual Job.

I think we have laid down the problem statement already and now let´s see how did Dagster is going to help us.

So we have this 2 teams Data Engineering and Data Science sitting at SILO and asking one another to do their job.

Data Science builds the Model And gives it to Data Engineer and Data Engineer Productionise.

But they do not know what is happening in the other side.

Its 21st century and we need a tool which takes away all your pain of building testing productionise and I worry only about solving the problem

Dagster just does what it is supposed it. Brings them together.

Dagster takes care of the whole end to end pipeline.

We can create a collaborated pipeline across the Units like Data Engineers and Data Scientists.

It can take away the repetitive jobs of cleaning your data and testing it all again. By the UI directly we can validate our data test and develop our pipeline.

Lets look at the core principles of Dagster

  1. Develop and test instantly

2. Support the current tools

3. Incremental adoption of tools support

4. Productivity gain immediately

Develop and Test Instantly

Dagster has a rich UI and it is very verbose.

It displays the logs instantly and helps you code better. It provides auto completing type aheads.

We can type and see how it is reacting.

We can write and test again and again.

You can execute a piece of your pipeline right on your UI.

Support the current Tool

We can create and link the dependencies with our current tech stack. It could be Spark, S3, Snowflake etc.

Incremental adoption of tools support

One of the coolest thing I have seen is the PaperMill integration.

ENAAF: Execute your Notebook As A Function

We can create our dagster pipeline and integrate with the Jupyter Notebooks using PaperMill.

Now Dagster can run your pipeline and outputs a notebook.

Which you can take and run in your Jupyter and work on it.

Productivity gain instantly

It’s not wrong to say that we are too dependent with Airflow and we have our dags built already and it is a big change to move to Dagster.

But Dagster has a way, we can link Dagster with Airflow and can create Dags on the go.

Let’s Summarise


The core of any deployment of Dagster is Dagit, a process that serves a user interface and responds to GraphQL queries.

Editor: To write, implement and test the logics

Dag view: Unify your view of pipelines

Console: To run the Dagster locally

Dagster python API

A core Api which is built on top of Python.

Integrates with

Supports Spark with Python and Scala

Can write SQL query

Can connect to Snowflake and other DBs

Create Airflow DAG using the API

Integrate with Jupyter Notebook

Reference, Image Courtesy and Motivated by

Numerous talk and presentations by Nick Schrock - founder and CEO of Elementl

Want to learn more?

I hope this blog was helpful and helped you to understand the the basics of Dagster and why do we need it.

Ajith Shetty

BigData Engineer — Love for Bigdata, Analytics, Cloud and Infrastructure.

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Ajith Shetty

Bigdata Engineer — Love for BigData, Analytics, Cloud and Infrastructure. Want to talk more? Ping me in Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajshetty28/