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November 9, 2010

Metadata in Data Integration

Filed under: Data Integration, ETL — Tags: — Katherine Vasilega @ 4:00 am

Metadata unfolds the definitions, meaning, origin and rules of the data used in a data warehouse. When talking about metadata, it is important to keep in mind that there are two metadata types involved in the data integration and warehousing process: business metadata and technical metadata. These two types illustrate both business and technical approaches to data integration. Let’s have a look at both.

Business metadata stores business definitions of the data. It contains high-level definitions of all the fields present in the data warehouse. Business metadata is mainly used by report authors, data managers, testers, and analysts.

Technical metadata is a representation of the ETL process. It stores data mapping and transformations from source systems to the target and is mostly used by data integration specialists and ETL developers.

Most specialists agree that metadata management projects require a certain amount of customization. Well-built ETL tools take that need into consideration, and offer some means to extend functionality and provide metadata integration. Still, the metadata management needs of individual enterprises are so widely varied that trying to create a one-size-fits-all metadata data integration solution is kind of impossible.