Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Catalogsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Data Catalogs Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Andrew Brust

1. Summary

In today’s technology environment, many organizations find themselves trying to analyze data dispersed across numerous disparate sources, including databases, data warehouses, data lakes, and enterprise applications. It is difficult, if not impossible, to coordinate and document the work being performed across these widespread sources without a centralized access point from which to connect, manage, and view the data. Additionally, the variety and heterogeneity of data creates data management challenges at a deeper layer. Enter the data catalog, which addresses these challenges, as well as others, including compliance with data protection regulations.

Data catalogs have become much more than their forbear metadata repositories and data dictionaries. Within the industry, improved prerequisite functionality and core standards have emerged and stabilized, while vendors continue to add capabilities and improve upon the baseline. Beyond these changes in the technology itself, the vendor ecosystem is dynamic as well. This has resulted in new vendors coming on the scene, as well as mergers and acquisitions that caused other vendors to exit. And this isn’t just corporate trivia, because transactions like these can force customer migrations to new solutions—or buttress existing platforms with improved or new capabilities.

With so many features and options available, it can be difficult to assess existing offerings and finalize a data catalog purchase decision. The compliance mandates of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) add time sensitivity to the decision as well. To evaluate and select which platform best meets your organization’s needs successfully and in a timely manner, it is crucial both to develop a broad understanding of core data catalog technology and features, and to acquaint yourself with the particulars of the vendors and their offerings.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report is designed to be a strategic resource for making that decision. In this report, we provide an overview of data catalog capabilities and define specific criteria and metrics for selecting a data catalog solution, enabling IT organizations to make better decisions while adopting solutions. This evaluation extends to table stakes that are common to virtually all products in this sector, key criteria that define differentiating features to focus on, and emerging technologies that point to ongoing innovation in this space. Finally, we describe a set of evaluation metrics—high-level characteristics that help describe the impact that solutions can have on your organization and are helpful in assessing specific products. Whether you are looking to extend an existing investment or have yet to invest in a data catalog solution, this report lays the groundwork for informing the selection and implementation of a data catalog platform to meet your needs.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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