Published on 27 Oct 2023 in DevOps   Data Engineering   Cloud Computing

Navigating Continuous Data Pipelines: An Extensive Look into CI/CD with Azure DevOps, dbt, Airflow, GCS, and BigQuery


Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) serve as the backbone of modern data engineering, enabling seamless and reliable data pipelines. This article embarks on an extensive exploration of CI/CD implementation, employing Azure DevOps, dbt, Airflow (via Cloud Composer), Google Cloud Storage (GCS), and BigQuery. We will walk through each tool, its role in the pipeline, and how they interconnect to form a cohesive data engineering workflow.

Azure DevOps: The Cornerstone of CI/CD

Azure DevOps is a comprehensive suite of development tools facilitating CI/CD practices. It provides version control, automated builds, and deployment configurations.

Establishing a CI/CD Pipeline

Setting up a CI/CD pipeline begins with defining the workflow in a YAML file. This file outlines the build and deployment process.

- main

  vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

- script: echo Building the project...
  displayName: 'Build step'
- task: PublishBuildArtifacts@1
    pathtoPublish: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'
    artifactName: 'my_artifact'
    publishLocation: 'Container'

In this YAML file, we define a simple pipeline triggered on changes to the main branch, utilizing an Ubuntu VM, and comprising two steps: a build step and a publish artifacts step.

dbt: Data Build Tool for Transformations

dbt is instrumental for defining, documenting, and executing data transformations in BigQuery.

Crafting a dbt Model

      materialized: table
        - "GRANT SELECT ON  TO GROUP analytics"

Here, we define a dbt model to materialize a table and set permissions using a post-hook.

Cloud Composer and Airflow: Orchestrating Data Workflows

Cloud Composer, leveraging Apache Airflow, orchestrates complex data workflows, scheduling, monitoring, and managing workflows in a cloud environment.

Sculpting an Airflow DAG

from airflow import DAG
from airflow.operators.dummy_operator import DummyOperator
from datetime import datetime

default_args = {
    'owner': 'airflow',
    'depends_on_past': False,
    'start_date': datetime(2022, 1, 1),

dag = DAG(
    description='An example DAG',

start = DummyOperator(

Here, an example Airflow Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) is created, defining the order of task execution and their dependencies.

Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery: Storing and Analyzing Data

GCS and BigQuery form a potent duo for data storage and analysis.

Uploading and Querying Data

# Uploading data to GCS
gsutil cp data.csv gs://my_bucket/data.csv

# Loading data into BigQuery
bq load --autodetect --source_format=CSV my_dataset.my_table gs://my_bucket/data.csv
-- Querying data in BigQuery
SELECT * FROM `my_project.my_dataset.my_table`


The amalgamation of Azure DevOps, dbt, Cloud Composer, GCS, and BigQuery under the umbrella of CI/CD fosters a streamlined, reliable, and robust data engineering infrastructure. This detailed walkthrough delineates how these tools can be orchestrated to accelerate the development cycle, fortify data pipelines, and propel organizations towards a data-driven epoch with assurance.