Apache Airflow vs IBM BPM comparison

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13,533 views|9,821 comparisons
96% willing to recommend
IBM Logo
9,434 views|7,274 comparisons
90% willing to recommend
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Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Apache Airflow and IBM BPM based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Business Process Management (BPM) solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM Report (Updated: April 2024).
771,740 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The best feature is the customization.""I found the following features very useful: DAG - Workload management and orchestration of tasks using.""The product is stable.""The tool is user-friendly.""I like the UI rework, it's much easier.""Apache Airflow's best feature is its flexibility.""Since it's widely adopted by the community, Apache Airflow is a user-friendly solution.""The solution is quite configurable so it is easy to code within a configuration kind of environment."

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"It is being able to see the process, and understanding what the process is versus having to bury it in code somewhere.""I liked its robustness the most. It was a very robust platform in my experience. It seemed like a very stable and powerful tool for handling lots of concurrent users and hammering at the system.""The solution offers great notifications.""Automation is the most valuable feature of IBM BPM.""The integration and design are valuable features.""I think the best way it can be it improved, is to make it easier to install. It's a very complicated piece of software, and there are a lot of things you have to do to get it set up. It's not just running an installer. You install WebSphere. You install the BPM product, and there's a large host of other steps you have to do: run queries against the database, you have to manually configure a bunch of properties files for your environment. I think if they could streamline all that, so it wasn't a considerable effort to install, that would be very useful. Because from an engineering point of view, you want to spend as little time as possible actually installing a product.""By automating several tasks, we have already reduced a lot of work for the business.""Technical support is good. They are very responsive. It is usually me who takes more time to get back to them than they take to get back to me, which is good."

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Cons
"Apache Airflow could be improved by integrating some versioning principles.""The documentation must be improved.""We cannot run real-time jobs in the solution.""The dashboards could be enhanced.""One specific feature that is missing from Airflow is that the steps of your workflow are not pipelined, meaning the stageless steps of any workflow. Not every workflow can be implemented within Airflow.""The platform's stability needs improvement, particularly regarding occasional interruptions due to networking issues.""The graphical user interface can be improved.""Airflow should support the dynamic drag creation."

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"I would like to see a lot more case studies.""Our developers are complaining that it's too complex to maintain.""The initial setup was complex.""Needs better reporting. I do not think that we are fully taking advantage of what it already has yet.""The options for customization could be improved. More customization using your own code would be beneficial.""I hope IBM uses something from IBM Content Navigator to make the interface easier to navigate.""IBM BPM integrated with Spark UI and the UI is now much better, but they still need to improve the UI because competitors have predefined templates and other additional features. In these competitor's solutions, you are able to use the templates, map your data, and the form is ready to use. With this solution, you need to write a lot of code to have the same quality as the competitor's templates. It would be a benefit to make this platform more towards low-code or no-code.""The coaches and the user interface are the areas that can be improved a lot. It is good in terms of data processing, but the UI, scripting, and coaches are not very user-friendly and developer-friendly. Performance is always an issue. The scripting and the pattern that it uses are very tedious for new developers to understand, and it takes time to master it in depth. When comparing IBM BPM with IBM APN, a lot of things are provided out of the box in IBM APN. We don't have to write code or a Java connector to make a functionality work. It would be very helpful and time-saving for developers if IBM BPM is improved in this area to provide many functionalities or drag-and-drop options so that the developers don't have to write the code."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Apache Airflow is a free solution that can be downloaded and ready for use at any moment."
  • "The pricing for the product is reasonable."
  • "Although Airflow is open source software, there's also commercial support for it by Astronomer. We personally don't use the commercial support, but it's always an option if you don't mind the extra cost."
  • "We are using the open-source version of Apache Airflow."
  • "We use a community edition of Apache Airflow. It is open source and free."
  • "Apache Airflow is open-source and free of charge."
  • "It's open-source."
  • "The solution is open source so is free."
  • More Apache Airflow Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It may be cheaper for organizations to pay for the Viewer licenses that are immediately up and running in the cloud, rather than paying for someone to administer publishing to an intranet."
  • "Starting out with Express can also help reduce the cost for adopting the product."
  • "​We have definitely seen ROI. When we first kicked it off, we said it had to pay for itself within three years, and it did."
  • "It gives us a good return on investment."
  • "We chose to purchase IBM BPM because it was bundled with the actual RPA program/solution that we decided to purchase. We decided to use Automation Anywhere tool (RPA), and it is was bundled with IBM BPM."
  • "Our customers do see ROI. They'll identify some particularly painful or uncoordinated processes to start with, then build out from there, picking off low hanging fruit."
  • "It has a low cost to implement. You'll get your money back in the same year that you complete the project."
  • "The cloud and license of the subscription model for IBM BPM can be complex. There are a lot of alternatives to choose from."
  • More IBM BPM Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Camunda Platform allows for visual demonstration and presentation of business process flows. The flexible Java-based option was a big win for us and allows for the integration of microservices very… more »
    Top Answer:Apache Airflow is easy to use and can monitor task execution easily. For instance, when performing setup tasks, you can conveniently view the logs without delving into the job details.
    Top Answer:We researched both IBM solutions and in the end, we chose Business Automation Workflow IBM BPM has a good user interface and the BPM coach is a helpful tool. The API is very useful in providing… more »
    Top Answer:The product is expensive considering the hardware and software costs.
    Ranking
    Views
    13,533
    Comparisons
    9,821
    Reviews
    22
    Average Words per Review
    492
    Rating
    8.0
    Views
    9,434
    Comparisons
    7,274
    Reviews
    24
    Average Words per Review
    417
    Rating
    7.7
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Airflow
    WebSphere Lombardi Edition, IBM Business Process Manager, IBM WebSphere Process Server
    Learn More
    Overview

    Apache Airflow is an open-source workflow management system (WMS) that is primarily used to programmatically author, orchestrate, schedule, and monitor data pipelines as well as workflows. The solution makes it possible for you to manage your data pipelines by authoring workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. By using Apache Airflow, you can orchestrate data pipelines over object stores and data warehouses, run workflows that are not data-related, and can also create and manage scripted data pipelines as code (Python). 

    Apache Airflow Features

    Apache Airflow has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Smart sensor: In Apache Airflow, tasks are executed sequentially. The smart sensors are executed in bundles, and therefore consume fewer resources.
    • Dockerfile: By using Apache Airflow’s dockerfile feature, you can run your business’s Airflow code without having to document and automate the process of running Airflow on a server. 
    • Scalability: Because Apache Airflow has a modular architecture and uses a message queue to orchestrate an arbitrary number of workers, you can easily scale it. 
    • Plug-and-play operators: With Apache Airflow, you can choose from several plug-and-play operators that are ready to execute your tasks on many third-party services.

    Apache Airflow Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Apache Airflow. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • User friendly: Using Apache Airflow requires minimal python knowledge to get started.
    • Intuitive user interface: The Apache Airflow user interface enables you to visualize pipelines running in production, monitor progress, and also troubleshoot issues when needed.
    • Easy integration: Apache Airflow can easily be integrated with cloud platforms (Google, AWS, Azure, etc).
    • Visual DAGs: Apache Airflow’s visual DAGs provide data lineage, which facilitates debugging of data flows and also aids in auditing and data governance. 
    • Flexibility: Apache Airflow provides you with several ways to make DAG objects more flexible. At runtime, a context variable is passed to each workflow execution, which is quickly incorporated into an SQL statement that includes the run ID, execution date, and last and next run times.
    • Multiple deployment options: With Apache Airflow, you have several options for deployment, including self-service, open source, or a managed service.
    • Several data source connections: Apache Airflow can connect to a variety of data sources, including APIs, databases, data warehouses, and more.  

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the Apache Airflow solution.

    A Senior Solutions Architect/Software Architect says, “The product integrates well with other pipelines and solutions. The ease of building different processes is very valuable to us. The difference between Kafka and Airflow, is that it's better for dealing with the specific flows that we want to do some transformation. It's very easy to create flows.”

    An Assistant Manager at a comms service provider mentions, “The best part of Airflow is its direct support for Python, especially because Python is so important for data science, engineering, and design. This makes the programmatic aspect of our work easy for us, and it means we can automate a lot.”

    A Senior Software Engineer at a pharma/biotech company comments that he likes Apache Airflow because it is “Feature rich, open-source, and good for building data pipelines.”

    IBM BPM is a business process management tool that provides a robust set of tools to author, test, and deploy business processes, as well as full visibility and insight to managing those business processes. The solution provides tooling and run time for process design, execution, monitoring, and optimization, along with basic system integration support. To support various levels of complexity and involvement with business process management, there are two different editions of the product: IBM BPM and IBM BPM Express.

    IBM BPM Features

    IBM BPM has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Process designer authoring tool
    • Collaborative editing and immediate playback of processes
    • Interactive user interfaces
    • Process rules based on IBM Operational Decision Manager
    • IBM Integration Designer (BPEL and SOA)
    • Designing and building case management systems
    • Process portal
    • Real-time monitoring and reporting
    • Performance analytics and optimizer
    • Performance data warehouse
    • IBM Process Center with a shared asset repository
    • IBM Process Federation Server
    • Built-in enterprise service bus (ESB)
    • Transaction support
    • Integration adapters
    • Network deployment support
    • High availability: clustering and unlimited cores

    IBM BPM Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing IBM BPM. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Increased efficiency and cost savings: IBM BPM can help you optimize existing processes and incorporate more structure into the development of new processes by removing process redundancies and bottlenecks.
    • More scalable processes: The solution enables better process execution and workflow automation, which transfers well when scaling processes.
    • Greater transparency: Because IBM BPM’s process automation clearly defines owners for tasks along the process, it provides more transparency and accountability throughout a given process. In turn, this fosters more communication among teams.
    • Less dependency on development teams: IBM BPM offers low-code features which remove potential dependencies on development. Business users can be onboarded onto these tools quickly and easily, thereby increasing process automation across the company.

    Reviews from Real Users

    IBM BPM is a solution that stands out when compared to many of its competitors. Some of its major advantages are that it’s good for developing complex apps, is robust, and has helpful team management and process performance features.

    Zoran C., Owner/CEO at IT SPHERE, says, “It is perfect if you have to develop complex apps without much coding (only java script). It is also good if you don't have much IT resources in your company and would like to involve business analysts in the process of developing apps. My opinion is that it can do about 50% of all developers' work.”

    Suhas V., BPM Architect at GBM, mentions, “Overall the solution is robust and has the ability to integrate with any product for complex workflows."

    A BPM Consultant at a financial services firm comments, "Some of the features that I like the most are team management and process performance. They are both very useful and very powerful with regard to the workflow."

    A Digital Banking & Innovation Director at a financial services firm expresses, “The processing functionality makes it easy to change processes and workflows easily.”

    Sample Customers
    Agari, WePay, Astronomer
    Barclays, EmeriCon, Banca Popolare di Milano, CST Consulting, KeyBank, KPMG, Prolifics, Sandhata Technologies Ltd., State of Alaska, Humana S.A., Saperion, esciris, Banco Espirito Santo
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider21%
    Financial Services Firm21%
    Media Company16%
    Non Profit5%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm22%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm57%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Insurance Company10%
    Real Estate/Law Firm3%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm29%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise6%
    Large Enterprise66%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business16%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise73%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise59%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise70%
    Buyer's Guide
    Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM
    April 2024
    Find out what your peers are saying about Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM and other solutions. Updated: April 2024.
    771,740 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Apache Airflow is ranked 2nd in Business Process Management (BPM) with 31 reviews while IBM BPM is ranked 5th in Business Process Management (BPM) with 105 reviews. Apache Airflow is rated 8.0, while IBM BPM is rated 7.8. The top reviewer of Apache Airflow writes "Enable seamless integration with various connectivity and integrated services, including BigQuery and Python operators ". On the other hand, the top reviewer of IBM BPM writes "Offers good case management and its integration with process design but there's a learning curve". Apache Airflow is most compared with Camunda, Informatica Cloud API and App Integration, IBM Business Automation Workflow, AWS Step Functions and Bizagi, whereas IBM BPM is most compared with Camunda, Pega BPM, Appian, IBM Business Automation Workflow and AWS Step Functions. See our Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM report.

    See our list of best Business Process Management (BPM) vendors.

    We monitor all Business Process Management (BPM) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.