Alation vs. Collibra vs. Informatica vs. Atlan: A Comprehensive Comparison for Modern Data Needs

Updated March 28th, 2024

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As cloud technologies and complex data pipelines become more prevalent, data catalogs and governance tools are crucial for ensuring data security, privacy, and compliance. They empower organizations to manage the risks tied to modern data architectures, enabling the confident adoption of new technologies.

Some established data catalog companies have been key players for years. Alation positions itself as a pioneer in data cataloging, while Collibra entered the market a decade ago with its comprehensive Collibra Data Intelligence suite. Informatica, with 30 years of experience, was an early player in data management.

Despite their undeniable impact, the crucial question remains: are they capable of evolving to meet the modern and evolving needs of your business.

Jump to this summary if you have less time on your hands

Drawing from our conversations and collaborations with over 500 data leaders, and insights from pioneering data teams on their innovative data governance and management frameworks, we’ve identified the essential capabilities that your data catalog/governance tool needs to achieve outstanding business outcomes.

  1. Automation for faster time-to-value of your entire data estate
  2. Lineage as a single pane of truth
  3. Adoption by both business and data teams for org-wide collaboration
  4. Configurable and flexible for diverse teams and data stacks
  5. Extensibility of the platform to tackle dynamic and modern data projects
  6. End-to-end support for the entire data journey
  7. Delivering value at the best pricing


Looking for a data catalog with an ROI you can present to your CDO? Atlan is designed for adoption and embedded with automation. It helps you save time, cut cloud costs, and make faster, better decisions that lead to revenue.

Evaluating legacy tools based on these crucial capabilities will provide insight into their potential. Additionally, by including Atlan’s capabilities in the comparison, we aim to give you a sense of what’s being adopted by the foremost data teams in the world.

Important to note that considering these capabilities will also make it super easy to make a business case for your investment to the wider team.

Before we dive deeper into each criterion, let’s see a snapshot of how these tools are ranked in G2, the world’s largest and most trusted software marketplace.

G2 CategoryAtlanAlationCollibraInformatica
Data Lineage9.
Data Discovery9.
Ease of Use9.
Ease of Setup9.
Ease of Admin9.
Metadata Management9.
Quality of Support9.

Automation towards faster time-to-value of your entire data estate

While Alation, Collibra, and Informatica offer automation of workflows, policy enforcement and recently introduced genAI into their platforms, their core approach to data governance and management remains steward-first. This approach places the main responsibility for data quality, management, and enrichment on human data stewards, which can result in manual processes and potential errors.

  • Alation requires an army of data stewards to maintain and build their platform. They have been known to lack automation features which result in a lot of manual processes to manage their platform (source).
  • Collibra despite being a cloud solution contains features that requires to be deployed outside of their SaaS solution through manual processes (source). Also relies on an army of data stewards to run it.
  • Informatica’s connector ecosystem is still geared towards on-prem systems, which leads to cloud-based organizations lacking robust support. It also requires manual intervention to do bulk processes, with a customer reporting having to bulk update data assets through a spreadsheet (source).

Compared to their traditional, manual approaches, modern data governance tools like Atlan offer a significant leap forward, reflected in their higher G2 user ratings.

Atlan offers powerful automation features that streamline the entire data governance process. Some of Atlan’s popular automation capabilities include:

  • Utilizing no-code integrations for effortless metadata ingestion.
  • AI-powered suggestions for efficient enrichment.
  • Rule-based tagging upstream and downstream to ensure comprehensive data descriptions and guarantee always fresh information.

Lineage as a single pane of truth

Data lineage has evolved from a luxury to a critical necessity for companies aiming to optimize data value. Tracking the data journey enables organizations to uncover vital insights, reduce risks, and foster data-informed decision-making, leading to enhanced performance.

While platforms like Alation, Collibra, and Informatica offer column-level lineage capabilities, their approaches can vary significantly in terms of user experience, comprehensiveness, and integration.

  • Though Alation offers column-level lineage, yet some users report limitations (source), particularly with complex data layers. Additionally, accessing this feature requires an additional fee (source) and relies on a 3rd party provider, Manta.
  • Collibra has been having issues with their Lineage Harvester when it comes to technical data (source), leading many to experience incomplete lineage of their data estate.
  • Informatica lineage has been reported to be too complex for business and non-technical users (source). It also doesn’t support robust lineage for tools and data sources not part of the Informatica Data Intelligence Suite.

In comparison, Atlan boasts of a 9.1 rating for Lineage in G2, and moves beyond basic understanding and visibility to unearth insights tailored to your unique business requirements. Popular features include:

  • Granular and column-level lineage, that is quick to set up with an automated, no-code approach.
  • Open API architecture that ensures lineage reaches every corner; all the way to the source of the data estate with out-of-the-box and custom connectors.
  • Proactive impact analysis in GitHub/GitLab further empowers by preventing dashboard disruptions.

Adoption by both business and data teams for org-wide collaboration towards unlocking business value

Adoption of a data cataloging platform is key to ensuring the successful implementation of your data strategy. Org-wide collaboration of both business and technical users can lead to unlocking and discovering critical business value for your organization.

Alation, Collibra, and Informatica all offer different features in their interface to enhance their user experiences.

Alation recently released a consumer-grade user interface that features a search engine-like experience, allowing more business users to utilize their platform. Collibra has a data marketplace that creates curated views and a shopping cart-like experience to interact with your data. Informatica also introduced a bright and fresh new look to their platform with Product 360, creating a modernized interface, and refreshing their 30-year-old UI.

However, despite these many recent iterations and upgrades, many still encounter issues when it comes to using their platforms in their day-to-day workflows:

  • Alation’s UI/UX is known to be outdated and rigid. Reported to not be user-friendly for technical users (source). They also have limited capability to customize according to an organization’s system or goals (source).
  • Collibra’s UI/UX is reported to contain too many functions. Reports of users not finding something easily inside the platform (source), with many failing to understand the tool when they log in (source).
  • Informatica’s UI/UX requires users to navigate across multiple platforms to get things done. Having to log in to multiple administrative endpoints just to do basic tasks such as accessing the business glossary, or administering the platform (source).

Compared to their clunky navigation and complex workflows, Atlan offers a refreshing alternative, boasting a 9.1 G2 UI/UX rating compared to its competitors’ average of less than 8.

Here are some examples of popular UI/UX elements and workflows in Atlan:

  • Effortless integration into your workflow via its Chrome extension.
  • Personalized dashboards for diverse user roles, intuitive search with AI-powered assistance.
  • A unified platform that integrates seamlessly with communication tools like Slack and Jira.

Configurable and flexible for diverse teams and data stacks

Effective data governance hinges on finding a platform that aligns seamlessly with your organization’s unique data landscape and user profiles.

While platforms like Alation, Collibra, and Informatica offer extensive customization options, navigating the setup and integration process can be challenging, as users report:

  • Alation was reported to be challenging to integrate into an existing IT infrastructure. It’s also known to be time-consuming to unlock the full value of the platform (source).
  • Collibra is known to require more work with customers facing challenges in connecting data sources, dependent on the limited availability of supported sources (source). Customers report that it takes over a year to set up and get up and running (source).
  • Informatica was reported to require users to set up separate tools of their suite. Making it a cumbersome experience to fully maximize their platform (source).

In contrast, Atlan, with its modern architecture and user-centric approach, is ranked 9.3 in G2 ratings for ease of setup, use, and administration (significantly exceeding the combined average of 7.5 for all three platforms) (source).

Atlan’s user-friendly approach empowers seamless implementation, broader adoption, and ultimately, more effective data governance and management for your organization. Key features include:

  • Customization with Personas and Purposes: adapting experiences and detailed access policies for various user roles and groups.
  • Enhanced flexibility across your data estate, enabling the capture of specific details via custom metadata.

Extensibility of the platform to tackle dynamic and modern data projects

The ability to adapt to changing technology landscapes and support emerging data projects is essential for any data catalog or governance tool. Alation, Collibra, and Informatica all offer advanced governance features and capabilities.

However, despite these innovations, users have reported limitations in these platforms’ ability to support cutting-edge technologies and agile development methodologies:

  • Alation’s support for modern data sources and technologies is somewhat limited, with users often encountering compatibility issues when working with newer tools or platforms (source).
  • Collibra’s integrations with third-party tools can be cumbersome to set up and maintain, leading to delays and inefficiencies in data governance processes (source).
  • Informatica’s focus on traditional data management approaches hinders its ability to support more innovative and dynamic data projects, particularly in fast-paced environments (source).

For modern data projects harnessing AI and innovative technologies, data governance demands adaptability. Atlan steps forward with an open architecture, empowering your team to unlock new capabilities as your needs evolve. Atlan’s flexible and user-driven customization empowers your team to effectively govern and manage your data estate in a dynamic landscape. To note, you can:

  • Implement tailored data transformations with in-platform custom logic, initiating automated actions for proactive management.
  • Effortlessly create connectors for any data source, apply policies directly at the source, and set up transparent approval workflows.
  • Generating insightful reports through a centralized center

End-to-end support for the entire data journey

Dedicated customer support is critical because data catalogs are only good if they see widespread adoption amongst potential users. Companies need reassurance that their data catalog provider will do everything it can to ensure success.

In Quality of Support, Atlan ranks the highest compared to all three platforms.

G2 CategoryAtlanAlationCollibraInformatica
Quality of Support9.

Delivering value at the best pricing

Pricing for a comprehensive data catalog can be intricate, reflecting its role in servicing your entire enterprise through numerous data connectors and across multiple cloud environments. The scale—and therefore the cost—can significantly differ from one company to another.

For a clearer understanding of data catalog pricing, we offer a comprehensive guide that breaks down the essential factors to keep in mind, aiding in your purchasing decision.

Read more here.

It’s hard to get a sense of Alation, Collibra, and Informatica pricing given the multiple factors to consider when it comes to data catalog pricing. However, users reported issues with their pricing offerings and structure:

  • Users have found Alation’s pricing model to be complex, with reports indicating the need for extra payments to access full platform features (source), adding to the overall cost.
  • Collibra’s pricing model has been described as difficult to comprehend, with criticism focused on its licensing model and add-ons being overly expensive for the provided capabilities (source), raising concerns about value for money.
  • Feedback on Informatica highlights concerns over numerous additional charges (source) and a lack of transparency, leading to unexpected expenses and dissatisfaction with the response to feature requests.

Maximizing value from a data catalog involves ensuring a quick and easy setup to leverage your data estate promptly, availability of out-of-the-box connectors, and an intuitive, user-friendly UI/UX for full platform utilization.

Atlan demonstrates its value early on, often within the first two weeks of setup. It has been known to deliver immediate ROI by optimizing data warehouse storage costs and significantly reducing the time required for tasks from days to mere hours.

Future-proofing your data and AI strategy for the unknown unknowns

Alation, Collibra, and Informatica have long been considered leaders in the data catalog and governance space, their ability to meet the evolving needs of modern businesses is increasingly being called into question. From limited automation capabilities to outdated user experiences, these platforms face numerous challenges in keeping pace with the rapidly changing data landscape.

Instead, consider Atlan, your gateway to a future-proof data strategy. Designed for agility and adaptability, Atlan empowers you to streamline, simplify, and integrate toward unlocking the power of modern data governance and management.

Alation vs Collibra vs Information vs Atlan: Summary

Automation towards faster time-to-value of your entire data estateUp-to-date automation features, AI-driven suggestions, no-code integrationLimited automation, requires additional fees + stewards for key featuresManual processes; rely on data stewardsManual processes, no automation for bulk tasks
Lineage as a single panel of truthGranular, column-level, automated setup, out-of-the-box connectorsColumn-level, limited for complex layers, additional fees, uses 3rd partyTechnical limitations, incomplete lineage, complex UIComplex UI, limited for non-technical users, doesn’t support all tools
Adoption by business and data teams for org-wide collaboration towards unlocking business valueUser-friendly UI/UX, personalized dashboards, AI-powered search, integration with communication toolsClunky UI/UX, limited customization, difficult for technical usersConfusing UI/UX, many functions, users struggle to find informationRequires navigating multiple platforms, cumbersome experience
Configurable and flexible for diverse teams and stacksUser-friendly setup, Personas & Purposes for customized access, flexible metadata captureTime-consuming setup, limited integration optionsChallenging setup, limited data source support, takes over a year to implementRequires separate tools, cumbersome setup for full platform utilization
Extensibility of the platform to tackle dynamic and modern data projectsOpen architecture supports modern data sources & technologiesLimited support for modern technologies, compatibility issuesCumbersome integrations with 3rd party toolsTraditional data management focus, hinders support for innovative projects
Delivering value at the best pricingTransparent pricing; showcases value in just weeksComplex pricing, hidden fees, additional payments for core featuresHard to understand pricing, expensive add-ons, limited capabilitiesLack of transparency, hidden charges, additional costs;

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