Lifecycles and Phases

Flowman sees data as artifacts with a common lifecycle, from creation until deletion. The lifecycle itself consists of multiple different phases, each of them representing one stage of the whole lifecycle.

../_images/flowman-lifecycle.pngFlowman Lifecycle

Execution Phases

The full lifecycle consists out of specific execution phases, as follows:

  1. VALIDATE. This first phase is used for validation and any error will stop the next steps. A validation step might for example check preconditions on data sources which are a hard requirement.
  2. CREATE. This will create all relations (tables and directories) specified as targets. The tables will not contain any data, they only provide an empty hull. If a target already exists, a migration will be started instead. This will migrate a relation (table or directory) to a new schema, if required. Note that this is not supported by all target types, and even if a target supports migration in general, it may not be possible due to unmigratable changes.
  3. BUILD. The build phase will actually create all records and fill them into the specified relations.
  4. VERIFY. The verify phase will perform simple checks (for example if a specific Hive partition exists), or may also include some specific user defined tests that compare data. If verification fails, the build process stops.
  5. TRUNCATE. Truncate is the first of two phases responsible for cleanup. Truncate will only remove individual partitions from tables (i.e. it will delete data), but it will keep tables alive.
  6. DESTROY. The final phase destroy is used to physically remove relations including their data. This will also remove table definitions, views and directories. It performs the opposite operation than the create phase.

Built In Lifecycles

Some execution phases can be performed in a meaningful way one after the other. Such a sequence of phases is called lifecycle. Flowman has the following lifecycles built in:


The first lifecycle contains the three phases VALIDATE, CREATE, BUILD and VERIFY.


The second lifecycle contains only the single phase TRUNCATE


The last lifecycle contains only the single phase DESTROY

Targets & Lifecycles

Each target supports a certain subset of execution phases. Not all targets support all phases. For example the widely used relation target which is used for creating data sinks and for writing new data into them supports the phases CREATE, BUILD, VERIFY, TRUNCATE and DESTROY. On the other hand the measure target which collects some data dependent metrics is only executed during the VERIFY phase.

Of course when a specific target participates in multiple execution phases, it will perform different actions in each of the phases. The documentation of each target will contain the details of the supported phases and what action is performed in each of them.