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Cross-deployment dependencies

Cross-DAG dependencies serve a common use case: configuring a DAG to run when a separate DAG or a task in another DAG completes or updates a dataset. But what about situations in which a dataset or DAG you monitor exists in a separate deployment? For example, you might want to make a task dependent on a dataset update in a DAG that is owned by a different team and located in a separate deployment. Astro also supports the orchestration of tasks using this kind of relationship, which is referred to as a cross-deployment dependency.

This guide uses the following terms to describe cross-deployment dependencies:

  • Upstream deployment: A deployment where a DAG must reach a specified state before a DAG in another deployment can run.
  • Downstream deployment: A deployment in which a DAG cannot run until a DAG in an upstream deployment reaches a specified state.

Cross-deployment dependencies require special implementation because some methods, like the TriggerDagRunOperator, ExternalTaskSensor and direct Airflow Dataset dependencies, are only designed for DAGs in the same deployment. On Astro, there are two recommended methods available for implementing cross-deployment dependencies: Astro Alerts and triggering updates to Airflow Datasets using the Airflow REST API.

Feature overview

In this guide, you'll learn when to use the following Astro and Airflow features to create dependencies across Astro deployments. Astro supports cross-deployment dependencies in any Workspace or cluster.

  • Astro Alerts. Recommended for most Astro use cases as no code modification is required.
  • Airflow Datasets. Can be used to trigger a DAG after a task in another DAG updates a dataset.

Best practice guidance

Astro Alerts and Airflow Datasets are the best methods for implementing cross-deployment dependencies. The dagRuns endpoint of the Airflow API can also be used for this purpose and might be appropriate in cases where you want tasks that do not update datasets to trigger DAGs. This method will not be covered here, but you can implement it by following the guidance in Airflow REST API.

To determine whether an Astro Alert or the Datasets feature is the right solution for your use case, consider the following guidance.

Astro Alerts:

You can use Astro alerts to implement cross-deployment DAG dependencies using the DAG trigger communication channel. They are simple to implement and are the preferred method in the following situations:

  • If you need to implement a dependency trigger based on any DAG state other than success, such as a DAG failure, a task taking longer than expected, or a DAG not completing by a certain time.
  • If you need to implement a simple one-to-one cross-deployment dependency (one upstream DAG triggers one downstream DAG) and do not want to update your DAG code.
  • When your DAGs do not already use the Datasets feature and when it is easy to identify the relevant dependent DAGs, which is not always the case in larger organizations.

Airflow Datasets:

Datasets represent a significant evolution in the way Airflow can be used to define dependencies and, for some, offer a more natural way of expressing pipelines than traditional DAGs. Datasets, which offer more flexibility for cross-deployment dependencies than Astro alerts, are the preferred method in the following scenarios:

  • You need to implement dependencies in a many-to-one pattern, so you can make a DAG dependent on the completion of multiple other DAGs or tasks. This is not possible using Astro Alerts.
  • You need to implement dependencies in a one-to-many pattern, so one DAG or task triggers multiple DAGs or tasks. While this is also possible using Astro Alerts, it requires a separate alert for each dependency.

Before Airflow 2.9, you could only create updates to Airflow Datasets from within tasks located in the same deployment as the Dataset. As of Airflow 2.9, you can update a dataset with a POST request to the datasets endpoint of the Airflow REST API, which supports implementation across deployments.

Astro alerts example

Assumed knowledge

To use Astro Alerts to create cross-deployment dependencies, you should have an understanding of:


This example shows you how to create dependencies between DAGs in different Astro deployments using Astro Alerts.



Create a dependency between DAGs in separate deployments with an alert trigger on Astro.

  1. First, create a Deployment API token for the upstream Deployment.
  2. Click Alerts in the Workspace menu, and create a new alert.
  3. Enter an Alert name that you'll remember, select the Alert type (like DAG Success), and then select DAG Trigger as the Communication Channel.
  4. In the Deployment menu for the DAG Trigger communication channel, select the downstream deployment from the list.
  5. In the DAG NAME menu, select the DAG you want to trigger.
  6. Paste your API token in the DEPLOYMENT API TOKEN field.
  7. Run the upstream DAG, verify that the alert triggers, and confirm the downstream DAG runs as expected.

Alert dialog

Datasets example

Assumed knowledge

To use Airflow Datasets to create cross-deployment dependencies, you should have an understanding of:


This section explains how to use the Airflow API's Datasets endpoint to trigger the downstream DAG in another deployment when a dataset is updated. Typical dataset implementation only works for DAGs in the same Airflow deployment, but by using the Airflow API, you can implement this pattern across deployments.

While you can also use the HttpOperator or a custom Python function in an @task decorated task to make the API request to update the dataset, an advantage of using a listener is that the dataset is updated and the downstream DAG runs whenever any DAG updates the dataset. This means you don't need to implement an API call in every upstream DAG that updates the same dataset.



  1. In your upstream Deployment, which is the Deployment for which you did not create an API Token, use Variables in the Astro UI to create an environment variable for your API token, and use API_TOKEN for the key.
  2. For your downstream Deployment, follow the guidance in Make requests to the Airflow REST API - Step 2 to obtain the Deployment URL for your downstream Deployment. The Deployment URL should be in the format of
  3. In your upstream Deployment, use Variables in the Astro UI to create an environment variable where you can store your downstream Deployment URL, using DEPLOYMENT_URL for the key.
  4. In the upstream Deployment, add the following DAG to your Astro project running in the upstream Deployment. In the get_bear task, the TaskFlow API automatically registers MY_DATASET as an outlet Dataset. This creates an update to this Dataset in the same Airflow deployment. The dependent on_dataset_changed task creates or updates the Dataset via a request to the Airflow API Datasets endpoint in a different Airflow deployment.
from airflow.datasets import Dataset
from airflow.decorators import dag, task
from pendulum import datetime
import os

URI = "file://include/bears"
TOKEN = os.environ.get("API_TOKEN")

start_date=datetime(2023, 12, 1),
schedule="0 0 * * 0",
def producer_dag():
def get_bear():
print("Update the bears dataset")

def on_dataset_changed(dataset: Dataset):
print('Oh! This is the bears dataset!')
payload = {
'dataset_uri': dataset.uri
response =
'Authorization': f'Bearer {TOKEN}',
'Content-Type': 'application/json',
'Accept': 'application/json'

bear = get_bear()


  1. Deploy the project to Astro.
  2. Deploy a DAG of any kind to your downstream Deployment. In this DAG, use a dag_id of consumer_dag and schedule it on the same dataset in the producer_dag.

For example:

from airflow.decorators import dag, task
from datetime import datetime
from airflow.operators.empty import EmptyOperator
from airflow.datasets import Dataset

URI = "file://include/bears"

start_date=datetime(2023, 12, 1),
def consumer_dag():
def wait_for_bears():
print("The bears are here!")



After deploying both projects to their respective Deployments on Astro, you should see runs of your producer_dag trigger your consumer_dag automatically. If the downstream DAG is not firing, verify that the upstream Deployment's environment variables, the API token and deployment URL, correspond to the downstream Deployment's API Token and Deployment URL. Also, a successful request to the Airflow API will emit a payload containing DAG run information related to the dataset. Check the task logs for output that looks similar to this:

[2024-05-13, 11:21:06 UTC] {} INFO - {'created_dagruns': [], 'dataset_id': 1, 'dataset_uri': 'file://include/bears', 'extra': {'from_rest_api': True}, 'id': 4, 'source_dag_id': None, 'source_map_index': -1, 'source_run_id': None, 'source_task_id': None, 'timestamp': '2024-05-13T11:21:06.252976+00:00'}

See also

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