Azure Data Factory – How to backup and restore a pipeline

I think we can all agree that backups are only a good thing, they form the bread and butter of any IT administrators’ tasks. In this post I will cover how to export and import an Azure Data Factory Pipeline and how to import it again.

I use this method as part of my change control process, to ensure there is a pre change backup incase a pipeline change needs to be reverted. This method is also useful if you need to move a Pipeline to another Data Factory or ever another subscription/tenant.

I will assume you already have an Azure Data Factory setup and know the basics of what Pipeline. But if not look at a resource like Pluralsight (affiliate link) for some excellent learning material, free trails are available

How to export an Azure Data Factory Pipeline

  • Open your ADF at or via the Azure portal at
  • Under the Author section select the Pipeline you want to backup
  • At the top right, click the three dots’ “Actions” icon
  • Click “Export template”
  • A compressed file will be downloaded contain a couple JSON files. This is a template that can re reimported to the same of different data factory to recreate your Pipeline.

How to import an Azure Data Factory template

If you are importing into a different Data Factory you will need to recreate any Linked Server connections either before or during importing. They don’t need to be the same name.

If you are re-importing into the same Data Factory you can either delete the previous Pipeline and Datasets if they still. Or when you import, they will be imported with a different name. the original Pipeline and any Datasets will not over written.

To import a previously exported template

  • Under the Author section
  • Click the plus icon as if you were creating a new Pipeline or other resource
  • Under Pipeline click “Import from pipeline template”
  • Browse to and select you previously exported template compressed file
  • If you Pipeline used any Linked Servers you will be prompted to select them, or you can create new at this point.

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