Data Catalog Market: Current State and Top Trends in 2024

Updated May 27th, 2023
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In the increasingly digital and data-centric business world, the power to effectively curate, navigate, and comprehend vast data landscapes is a vital strategic asset. Central to this capability is the data catalog.

As we journey through 2024, the landscape of the data catalog market is diverse and rapidly evolving, with new trends and key industry players propelling significant shifts.

Table of contents #

  1. The State of the Data Catalog Market
  2. Evolving trends in modern data catalogs
  3. A spotlight on dedicated data catalogs
  4. Navigating cloud-specific data catalogs
  5. Wrapping up
  6. Data catalog market: Related reads

The State of the Data Catalog Market #

The data catalog market isn’t merely growing - it’s flourishing, reflecting the indispensable role of data management in the era of digital transformation. Let’s see why.

Data is no longer a byproduct of business operations, but a critical asset that drives insights, decisions, and innovations.

In terms of market spending, the global big data and business analytics market is expected to reach $448 billion by 2027 as reported by Datanami. This reflects a 13% CAGR from 2017 (when the market was worth $151 billion).

As data volumes continue to multiply at an unprecedented rate, the demand for robust data catalogs will only increase. A thriving data catalog market underscores the importance of cataloging and its impact on your business outcomes.

By effectively curating and managing data assets spread across your data estate, you can leverage them to get actionable insights, drive informed decision-making, and thereby, improve their business outcomes.

In practice, this means better decisions, improved efficiency and productivity, enhanced compliance and risk management, and ultimately greater customer satisfaction.

Next, let’s take a look at the trends that are shaping the data catalog market.

As the data catalog universe continues to expand and diversify from its humble beginnings as simple data repos and query tools, the demands placed on data catalogs are evolving in tandem.

Let’s delve into the key trends in the modern data catalog space in 2024:

  • Active metadata
  • Emphasis on data lineage
  • Open API support
  • Machine Learning and AI automation
  • Data privacy and security
  • Ease of setup and use

Let’s explore each trend further.

Active metadata #

The concept of active metadata has emerged as a critical aspect of cataloging.

It represents an evolution from the conventional way of handling metadata, actively bridging the gap between data and applications by pushing the metadata where it needs to be. This approach expands beyond merely collecting and storing metadata in a passive catalog.

A dynamic, two-way flow of enriched metadata and context is introduced across the entire data stack. By enabling automation and programmatic use cases, active metadata becomes a key driver in proliferating contemporary data concepts like the data mesh and data fabric.

The value and potential of active metadata have led to a clear delineation between traditional data catalogs and their modern counterparts. As businesses and data practitioners have recognized the significance of metadata modernization, an active metadata category has started to evolve distinctively.

Gartner’s scrapping of the Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management Solutions and instead, replacing it with a Market Guide for Active Metadata in 2021 highlights this trend.

Also read → Why was the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management scrapped?

Intelligent data platforms are using active metadata as their foundation to fuel their entire data stack. They offer capabilities such as role-based customization, embedded collaboration through integrations with tools like Slack and Jira, and rule-based automation.

In many ways, active metadata marks a new era in the data catalog industry.

Emphasis on data lineage #

Understanding the journey of data - from its origin through its various interactions and transformations - has become a focal point for businesses.

Modern data catalogs are integrating comprehensive cross-system data lineage features, allowing users to track data provenance and changes over time.

Most lineage metadata comes from the scripts that move data from one layer to another, such as ETL scripts. Here’s how data catalogs capture lineage at various levels:

  • Table-level lineage focuses on the metadata of a relational database or data warehouse table, illustrating the transformation process of tables without specific column details.
  • Column-level lineage provides detailed insights into how specific columns in a table have evolved.
  • Business data lineage provides context through lineage, offering comments, classifications, and justifications that inform various teams.
  • Technical data lineage, mostly for engineers and analysts, gives an end-to-end view of the data transformation processes.

Open API support #

To ensure seamless integration with a variety of data sources and other data management tools, modern data catalogs are providing open API support.

This facilitates flexibility and adaptability, key characteristics in a constantly evolving data landscape. As a result, you can bring in data assets from any data product you want.

Machine Learning (ML) and AI automation #

Companies have started leveraging ML and AI to automate metadata discovery, data classification, and data quality assessments. This enhances data catalog efficiency, ensuring data professionals spend less time cataloging and more time deriving valuable insights.

For example, Atlan AI enables natural language search for data assets and simplifies complex SQL transformations. The automation of documenting data assets and business definitions expedites the process of data governance.

Data privacy and security #

With stricter data regulations like GDPR and CCPA, data catalogs are incorporating advanced privacy features. This includes automated data classification for sensitive data, integrated access controls, and audit trails to ensure compliance and security.

Ease of setup and use #

The growing emphasis on data literacy across all business roles has led to a demand for data catalogs that are easy to set up and intuitive to use.

User-friendly interfaces, guided setup processes, and understandable metadata descriptions are becoming standard features, broadening the use of data catalogs beyond technical data professionals.

The emergence of these trends is a clear indication that data catalogs are responding to the increasingly complex and dynamic data needs of businesses in 2024.

A spotlight on dedicated data catalogs #

While multi-purpose data management tools include cataloging capabilities, dedicated data catalog solutions continue to gain in popularity. These platforms offer deep functionality, including data lineage tracking, advanced metadata management, and automated data classification.

Humble brag alert! The recent Forrester Wave Report identified Atlan as a major player in the enterprise data catalog market. Atlan had the top slot with maximum scores on 17 out of 26 evaluation criteria.

Atlan stood out for its variety of data sources supported, collaboration tools, support for active metadata, and DataOps support. Atlan also enables efficient data sharing within hybrid distributed ecosystems.

Prominent cloud service providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have each developed their own data catalog services — Azure Data Catalog, AWS Glue Data Catalog, and Google Data Catalog, respectively.

These services cater to the growing demand for efficient metadata management, data discovery, and data lineage capabilities within the cloud ecosystem.

However, when compared to modern data catalogs like Atlan, these cloud-native offerings may fall short. They often lack some capabilities for integration with extensive collaboration tools, AI-based automation, and comprehensive data lineage tracking that are typically found in dedicated data catalog platforms.

Some cloud-specific data catalogs do offer support for hybrid deployments. However, they generally focus more on cloud-based data sources and may not be the best fit for organizations with significant on-premise data needs.

Wrapping up #

Cloud-specific data catalogs serve as convenient options for organizations heavily invested in a particular cloud ecosystem. However, businesses seeking more modern capabilities will do better with a dedicated data catalog solution.

If you’re considering a dedicated data catalog, you should see for yourself why Forrester rated Atlan so highly. Start a free trial today to see how Atlan can simplify how you manage data.

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