Dagster vs dbt Cloud™ - how to compare

Dagster vs. dbt Cloud™

Which is the better tool for deploying dbt™ models? Is it dbt Cloud™, the dedicated dbt scheduling solution, or is it Dagster, the a generalized data orchestration platform?

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Life beyond dbt™:
Look at all of your organization’s data

dbt Cloud is a dedicated tool for orchestrating dbt models. It provides a focused but limited understanding based on source freshness and exposures, and it cannot take action or understand how other parts of your organization function.

Dagster creates a single pane of glass to view all of your organization’s data in one platform. You can observe the relationships between your application database, various data sources, your data warehouse, BI reporting, and your machine learning models.

Here are the main differences between dbt Cloud and Dagster:

Asset-awareyesyes
Cron-based Schedulingyesyes
Integrated IDEyesno
Full-featured orchestration (retries, debugging, logging, history)noyes
Flexible scheduling optionsnoyes
Native asset observabilitynoyes
Partitioned data supportLimited (incremental models)yes
Dynamic alertingnoyes
Cost managementnoyes
Data warehouse supportLimited (short list)All databases

Unify your stack

Dagster orchestrates all of your data processes, including that of other tools, into one coherent asset-focused framework. Dagster unifies all of your tools under one control plane, with intelligent schedules that run your entire data pipeline, all at once. With Dagster you understand where things fail, no matter where the error occurs.

dbt Cloud only schedules dbt models. Many users schedule a dbt job at some arbitrary time after their data ingestion (i.e., 1 hour after they think it’ll be done). However, this is unreliable as the data ingestion may have failed. Nonetheless, dbt Cloud will run and charge you for the models built with stale data.

Orchestrate your Python, SQL, and more - anywhere.

With Dagster, you can execute any workloads you may need using Python. Execute bash scripts, Java, R, C#, Rust workloads, and more. Dagster can connect to any database or warehouse using the same Python SDKs you’d use in regular scripts.

dbt Cloud has limited Python support. It uses your data warehouse’s runtime to materialize Python models. Therefore, you’re constrained by their limitations. For example, you’re only able to use Python packages approved by Snowpark or GCP Dataproc, and you may not have outside network access when your Python model runs. dbt Cloud restricts users to only the 6 data warehouses that they support, which is a significantly shorter list than dbt-core’s list of adapters.

Partition your dbt models

With Dagster, you can partition your data assets created from dbt models by date range or any other dimension. You can add on or rebuild your dbt models one partition at a time, with complete control. You can develop with an individual partition and scale in production.

dbt Cloud does not support partitioning, but requires incremental models to add to existing tables.

Get started with a free 30-day trial

Every Dagster Cloud trial includes:

Unlimited code locations
Unlimited branch deployments
Serverless or Hybrid
Authentication & SSO
Event logging
Unlimited alerts
Data quality checksLearn more
Insights (Operational observability)Learn more
Embedded ELTLearn more
Declarative asset schedulingLearn more
dbt-native orchestrationLearn more
Easily migrate & run existing Airflow DAGsLearn more
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Dagster user logo for logo_loom.Dagster user logo for logo_doordash.Dagster user logo for logo_aritzia.Dagster user logo for logo_petalcard.Dagster user logo for logo-flexport.Dagster user logo for logo_amino_health.Dagster user logo for logo_thinking_machines.Dagster user logo for logo_workday.Dagster user logo for logo_earnest_research.Dagster user logo for logo_gopuff.Dagster user logo for logo_vmware2.Dagster user logo for logo_prezi.Dagster user logo for logo_virta_health.

Ready to get started?

Migration made easy

We provide a straightforward migration path from dbt Cloud to Dagster, no code changes required.

Run your dbt models in Dagster Cloud in under half an hour and enjoy the power of a fully-featured modern control plane for your data pipelines, end-to-end.

Check out the migration guide

Ramp up quickly

We offer many resources to get started, including the free trial with starter templates, an active and growing community on Slack, and detailed docs with AI assistant and tutorials.

A great place to start is with our free Dagster University course content.

Check out Dagster University.
Dagster Cloud for Enterprise
Looking for unlimited deployments, advanced RBAC and SAML-based SSO, all on a SOC2 certified platform? Contact the Dagster Labs sales team today to discuss your requirements.