Running DBT in Github actions

What is dbt-action-nix?

dbt-action-nix is a GitHub Action that simplifies the setup and execution of dbt in your CI/CD workflows. It leverages Nix, a powerful package manager and build system, to create reproducible and isolated environments. By using Nix, dbt-action-nix ensures that your dbt projects have a consistent and reliable environment, eliminating many of the headaches associated with dependency management and versioning.

Problems dbt-action-nix Solves

  1. Dependency Management Hell: Managing dependencies for dbt projects can be challenging, especially when different team members or CI/CD systems might have slightly different environments. dbt-action-nix uses Nix to define the exact environment needed for your dbt project, ensuring that all dependencies are precisely managed and versioned. This eliminates the “works on my machine” problem and makes it easier to onboard new team members.
  2. Reproducibility: Traditional package managers can sometimes lead to non-reproducible builds due to changes in the ecosystem or dependency conflicts. Nix provides a reproducible environment by defining exact versions of every dependency, ensuring that every build is identical to the last one. This is critical for maintaining data quality and consistency in dbt projects.
  3. Isolation: dbt-action-nix ensures that the environment used to run your dbt models is completely isolated from the host system. This prevents conflicts with other projects or tools installed on the same machine, providing a clean and controlled execution environment.
  4. Simplified CI/CD Integration: Setting up CI/CD pipelines for dbt can be cumbersome, especially when dealing with complex environments. dbt-action-nix integrates seamlessly with GitHub Actions, providing a straightforward way to add dbt steps to your workflows. This makes it easy to run dbt commands, generate documentation, and ensure that your dbt models are tested and validated as part of your CI/CD process.

Key Features

  • Ease of Use: Simple setup with minimal configuration required. Just add dbt-action-nix to your GitHub Actions workflow, and you’re ready to go.
  • Environment Consistency: Leverages Nix to create a consistent and reproducible environment for your dbt projects.
  • Dependency Isolation: Ensures that your dbt environment is isolated from the host system, preventing conflicts and ensuring clean builds.
  • CI/CD Integration: Easily integrate dbt steps into your GitHub Actions workflows to automate testing, documentation generation, and deployment of dbt models.

Getting Started

To get started with dbt-action-nix, check out the repository on GitHub. The README provides detailed instructions on how to add it to your workflows and customize it for your specific needs.


dbt-action-nix aims to streamline the process of integrating dbt into your CI/CD pipelines by providing a reproducible, isolated, and easy-to-use environment. By leveraging the power of Nix, it ensures that your dbt projects run smoothly and consistently, reducing the risk of environment-related issues and making your data workflows more robust.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on dbt-action-nix. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it works for your projects!