Azure Data Factory Control Flow vs Data Flow

If you are familiar with SQL Service Integration Services (SSIS), then you must understand the difference between Control Flow  and Data Flow. The concepts apply to Azure Data Factory as well.

Control Flow Activity is an activity that affects the path of execution of the Data Factory pipeline. E.g. for each activity, which creates a loop if conditions are met.

Data Flow Transformations are the used where we need to transform the input data e.g. Join or Conditional Split.

Let’s look at some of the differences between Control Flow activities and Data Flow Transformations

Control Flow ActivityData Flow Transformation
Affects the execution sequence or path
of the pipeline
Transforms the ingested data
Can be recursiveNon recursive
No source/sinkSource and sink are required
Implemented at the pipeline levelImplemented at the activity level

We will have a look at various control flow activities in a future post. For now, please refer to the links below to get the current list.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/data-factory/concepts-data-flow-overview

Current list of Control Flow activities:

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