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CI/CD for Data

Why do I need CI/CD?

Data pipelines feed processed data from data lakes to downstream consumers like business dashboards and machine learning models. As more and more organizations rely on data to enable business critical decisions, data reliability and trust are of paramount concern. Thus, it’s important to ensure that production data adheres to the data governance policies of businesses. These data governance requirements can be as simple as a file format validation, schema check, or an exhaustive PII(Personally Identifiable Information) data removal from all of organization’s data.

Thus, to ensure the quality and reliability at each stage of the data lifecycle, data quality gates need to be implemented. That is, we need to run Continuous Integration(CI) tests on the data, and only if data governance requirements are met can the data can be promoted to production for business use.

Everytime there is an update to production data, the best practice would be to run CI tests and then promote(deploy) the data to production.

How do I implement CI/CD for data with lakeFS?

lakeFS makes implementing CI/CD pipelines for data simpler. lakeFS provides a feature called hooks that allow automation of checks and validations of data on lakeFS branches. These checks can be triggered by certain data operations like committing, merging, etc.

Functionally, lakeFS hooks are similar to Git Hooks. lakeFS hooks are run remotely on a server, and they are guaranteed to run when the appropriate event is triggered.

Here are some examples of the hooks lakeFS supports:

  • pre-merge
  • pre-commit
  • post-merge
  • post-commit
  • pre-create-branch
  • post-create-branch

and so on.

By leveraging the pre-commit and pre-merge hooks with lakeFS, you can implement CI/CD pipelines on your data lakes.

Specific trigger rules, quality checks and the branch on which the rules are to be applied are declared in actions.yaml file. When a specific event (say, pre-merge) occurs, lakeFS runs all the validations declared in actions.yaml file. If validations error out, the merge event is blocked.

Here is a sample actions.yaml file that has pre-merge hook configured to allow only parquet and delta lake file formats on main branch.

name: ParquetOnlyInProduction
description: This webhook ensures that only parquet files are written under production/
      - main
  - id: production_format_validator
    type: webhook
    description: Validate file formats
      url: "http://lakefs-hooks:5001/webhooks/format"
        allow: ["parquet", "delta_lake"]
        prefix: analytics/

Using hooks as data quality gates

Hooks are run on a remote server that can serve http requests from lakeFS server. lakeFS supports two types of hooks.

  1. webhooks (run remotely on a web server. e.g.: flask server in python)
  2. airflow hooks (a dag of complex data quality checks/tasks that can be run on airflow server)

In this tutorial, we will show how to use webhooks (python flask webserver) to implement quality gates on your data branches. Specifically, how to configure hooks to allow only parquet and delta lake format files in the main branch.

The tutorial provides a lakeFS environment, python flask server, a Jupyter notebook and sample data sets to demonstrate the integration of lakeFS hooks with Apache Spark and Python. It runs on Docker Compose.

To understand how hooks work and how to configure hooks in your production system, refer to the documentation: Hooks.

lakeFS hooks - Promotion workflow

Follow the steps below to try out CI/CD for data lakes.

Implementing CI/CD pipeline with lakeFS - Demo

The sample below provides a lakeFS environment, a Jupyter notebook, and a server on which for the lakeFS webhooks to run.

Prerequisites & Setup

Before we get started, make sure Docker is installed on your machine.

  • Start by cloning the lakeFS samples Git repository:

    git clone
    cd lakeFS-samples
  • Run following commands to start the components:

    git submodule init
    git submodule update
    docker compose up

Open the local Jupyter Notebook and go to the hooks-demo.ipynb notebook.


To explore different checks and validations on your data, refer to pre-built hooks config by the lakeFS team.

To understand the comprehensive list of hooks supported by lakeFS, refer to the documentation.