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Is there a good end-to-end meta data tool?

    Ask The Experts published in DMReview.com
June 5, 2002
  By Michael Jennings and David Marco


Is there a good end-to-end meta data tool? I am concerned that companies pass off their approaches as meta data when they actually address just one end of the data warehousing spectrum.


Mike Jennings’ Answer: In my experience, no. There are methods and techniques for sharing meta data between products (data modeling, DBMS, ETL, reporting); no one tool controls the entire process. Most products concentrate on sharing of technical meta data (table name, column, length, data type, etc.) but neglect business meta data (table name, column name, column description, lookup values and description, etc.). This lack of support for business meta data is most apparent when attempting to make this critical information available to end user through the front-end delivery environment (reporting, portal, etc.).

An example from a recent ETL tool evaluation I was involved in, most of the vendors captured the technical meta data about the source-to-target mappings (at a table/column level not down to domain level) being developed in their respective tool. Some even, have methods to capture operational meta data during ETL processing to analysis post processing statistics. What I did not see in many of the ETL tool meta data stories is the ability to capture and store versions of technical meta data over time (data lineage). Business meta data was captured or could be documented only to a limited degree. Code or domain level transformation meta data is not addressed is not captured in these tools.

When I ask conference attendees in my sessions what they are using for managing meta data the majority of the participates indicate they are using home-grown solutions.

David Marco’s Answer: There are several fine end-to-end meta data integration tools including Computer Associates Advantage DS and Advantage 390, ASG Rochade and Data Advantage Group’s Meta Center. For more information on these products please feel free to visit http://www.ewsolutions.com/research_paper.asp.


Check out DMReview.com's resource portals for additional related content, white papers, books and other resources.

Michael Jennings is a recognized expert with more than 20 years of information technology experience and speaks frequently on business intelligence/architecture issues at major industry conferences and has been an instructor at the University of Chicago's Graham School. He is a co-author of the book Universal Meta Data Models and a contributing author of the book Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository. He works for EWSolutions, a GSA schedule and Chicago-headquartered strategic partner and systems integrator dedicated to providing companies and large government agencies with best-in-class business intelligence solutions using data warehousing, enterprise architecture and managed meta data environment technologies (www.EWSolutions.com). He may be reached directly via e-mail at MJennings@EWSolutions.com.

David Marco is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of enterprise architecture, data warehousing and business intelligence and is the world's foremost authority on meta data. He is the author of Universal Meta Data Models (Wiley, 2004) and Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository: A Full Life-Cycle Guide (Wiley, 2000). Marco has taught at the University of Chicago and DePaul University, and in 2004 he was selected to the prestigious Crain's Chicago Business "Top 40 Under 40."  He is the founder and president of Enterprise Warehousing Solutions, Inc., a GSA schedule and Chicago-headquartered strategic partner and systems integrator dedicated to providing companies and large government agencies with best-in-class business intelligence solutions using data warehousing and meta data repository technologies. He may be reached at (866) EWS-1100 or via e-mail at DMarco@EWSolutions.com.

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