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Manage development Deployments on Astro

For most teams working on Astro, Astronomer recommends using multiple Airflow Deployments for running and testing development and production versions of your pipelines, and promoting code between them using CI/CD. This allows you to develop your pipelines faster, more securely, and more reliably.

There are many ways to organize your code, CI/CD pipelines, and Deployments to support a sustainable development lifecycle on Astro, and no single setup will work for all teams. However, there are a two main options for managing your development Deployments and promoting code from development to production:

  • Maintain a permanent development Deployment that contains the code from a permanent dev branch of a version-controlled code repository. You can hibernate this Deployment so that it doesn't consume resources when you're not using it.
  • Configure CI/CD workflows to create preview Deployments that map to feature branches which are deleted when the feature branch is merged into production.

This guide covers how to choose which of these methods is best for your team and how to implement both using Astro features.


This guide does not provide detailed guidance on how to set up code repositories such as GitHub or how to configure CI/CD tools. Consult the documentation for your organization's tooling for specific and up-to-date guidance.

Feature overview

This guide highlights how to use the following Astro features to manage your Deployments:

Best practice guidance

It's a best practice to maintain multiple environments for separate development and production versions of a data pipelione. While there are many ways to do this, the two options covered in this guide — permanent development Deployments and ephemeral preview Deployments mapped to feature branches — will work for most teams.

In general, preview (ephemeral) Deployments offer a better development experience. Since each feature branch maps to its own Astro Deployment, you don't have to worry about conflicts from other developers working on a development branch at the same time. If you have larger teams working on Astro or deploy changes frequently, this is a good option. However, managing Deployments in this way requires more setup to ensure the Deployments have access to external systems and resources, which in turn requires a more complex CI/CD implementation. Your team should have experience with CI/CD to make this pattern successful. Preview Deployments can also come with less predictable costs, especially at larger scale with many feature Deployments being regularly spun up and down.

Permanent development Deployments are easier to set up and manage. You only need to set up the environment once, and Astro's GitHub integration offers far simpler CI/CD implementation for GitHub users. In many cases, this pattern is also more cost-effective, as you can maintain one development Deployment and use Astro's hibernation feature to reduce costs for the Deployment when you aren't using it. This option is often best for smaller teams, teams that deploy infrequently, and teams who are very cost conscious.


Hibernating development Deployments reduces the cost of maintaining multiple permanent Deployments.

Hibernating development Deployment example

This example shows you how to map a permanent branch on GitHub to a permanent development Deployment with a hibernation schedule. If your team doesn't use GitHub, you can also implement a branch-based hibernating development Deployment using CI/CD templates.



You can extend this example to encompass any number of Astro Deployments and development branches.


  1. Create a new development Deployment. Make sure Development Mode is enabled when you create the Deployment. See Create a Deployment.
  2. Create a hibernation schedule for your development Deployment. Choose a schedule that will not interfere with your typical development times. Note that you cannot deploy to a Deployment that is hibernating. See Hibernate a development Deployment.
  3. Configure branch-based deployment using the GitHub integration, mapping one branch of a GitHub repository to the development Deployment you created. See Deploy code with the Astro GitHub integration.

Ephemeral preview Deployment example

This example shows how to implement ephemeral Deployments for feature development that are spun up and down by CI/CD.



You can extend this example to encompass any number of Astro Deployments.


  1. Obtain an API token in the Astro UI. See Create an API token.
  2. Install the Astro CLI in your CI/CD tool. See Authenticate an automation tool to Astro.
  3. Create a CI/CD pipeline using a GitHub Actions template or, if using a different CI/CD tool, shell scripts that contain logic for managing preview Deployments based on branches. These workflows require at least an Astro Deployment name or ID and a branch name. See Create a CI/CD pipeline and Template options.

Business-tier users can add an additional layer of security by enforcing CI/CD for deploys rather than allowing manual deploys with the Astro CLI. See Enforce CI/CD.

See also

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