Updated April 26th, 2024

Data Catalog Pricing: Understanding What You’re Paying For

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Many potential data catalog customers find themselves confused over how pricing works.

What should you expect to pay? The answer to that depends on a number of variables, including the number of users supported, data connectors, the volume of data processed, and support & integration needs.

In this article, we look at the factors that enter into data catalog pricing so that you can evaluate costs across service providers. We also discuss how to prepare for a data catalog pricing discussion.


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Table of contents

  1. How to think about data catalog pricing
  2. Data catalog pricing: core factors
  3. Base platform
  4. Users
  5. Enhancements
  6. Support
  7. Additional costs related to your data catalog
  8. How to prepare for a data catalog pricing discussion
  9. Let Atlan help

How to think about data catalog pricing

For some data catalogs - mainly, those offered as embedded services from cloud providers, like AWS Glue - pricing is more or less straightforward. These tools are offered as pay-as-you-go services with pricing publicly available.

However, these data catalogs aren’t as complete as dedicated data catalogs. And they often don’t integrate well with tools outside the cloud provider’s ecosystem.

Pricing is more complex for a dedicated data catalog - one you can use to service your entire enterprise across hundreds of data connectors and multiple clouds. Since this scale varies greatly between companies, so does the cost.

It’s important to contextualize the cost of a data catalog purchase. The key question to answer is: What business value will I get from my data catalog?

From a financial standpoint, you need to weigh the value a data catalog gives you against the initial and ongoing cost. Data catalogs can deliver revenue and savings by:

  • Enabling employees to make confident decisions with trusted data
  • Accelerating data & AI projects
  • Safeguarding stakeholders with secure & compliant data operations
  • Realizing ROI on your data stack

There are also non-financial considerations, such as increasing employee satisfaction and boosting corporate data literacy.


Data catalog pricing: core factors

As a general rule, data catalog service providers break down their pricing based on the following factors:

  • Base platform
  • Users
  • Enhancements
  • Support

Let’s explore each in detail.


Base platform

This is how much the provider will charge for the platform’s core functionality. This price also usually includes a set number of:

  • Initial users
  • Data connectors (connections to external data sources)
  • Tables indexed by the data catalog

This price will typically include the cost of one production server and may also cover one or two non-production servers. This enables you to test changes and automations in a pre-prod environment before promoting them to work on production data.


Users

Many data platform providers will also charge by the number of users. Typically, there are different costs for different levels of users. Common user types include:

TypeLevel of access
Viewer or guestRead-only access without editing
Regular usersGeneral read/write access to existing data
StewardsRead/write, can add new entities and approve/reject changes to metadata
AdminsFull system control, including creating other users and adding data connectors

A given provider may also provide bulk discounts for volume user license purchases.

Some providers may not charge by user. Instead, they allow unlimited users but charge based on a combination of the events, computing core processing units, data volume, and data processing used to maintain your data catalog. This is usually calculated as a specialized unit of measure that’s convenient for the data catalog provider but can be hard for users to understand.


Enhancements

Enhancements fall into two categories.

Users, tables, and connectors


The first is charges for users, tables, and connectors that go beyond the defaults provided as part of the base platform. It’s important to understand what volume of users, data sources, and tables you expect your data catalog to handle, as this is where costs can add up.

For example, your typical organization has around 400 disparate data sources. Enterprises can have over 1,000.

Other add-ons


The second is any add-ons that aren’t considered “base” functionality. This can include, for example, a data quality package available as an add-on to the data catalog purchase.

Pricing for add-ons can differ wildly from provider to provider, as some will include a feature as part of their base platform that another provider considers an add-on.


Support

Support also breaks down into two separate categories.

Implementation support


First, there’s the initial support required to get your data catalog up and running. Again, the costs here can differ extremely across providers.

Some legacy data catalog service providers have extremely complicated setup procedures that more or less require assistance from their professional services teams. Others will have simpler setup procedures and a host of easy-to-use data connectors that enable DIY setup by your own IT or data engineering departments.

Ongoing support


Second, there’s the cost of ongoing support. This will cover raising platform issues escalated by users as well as issues your IT or data engineering teams have with systems integration work. Ongoing support costs may be tiered, with higher levels of support receiving faster service and shorter time to resolution.


Keep in mind that these are the direct costs for licensing a data catalog. There are other factors you should keep in mind beyond data catalog pricing that impact the Total Cost of Ownership. These include:

Hosting costs


Do you intend to host a data catalog in your own cloud provider instead of using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model?

If so, you’ll need to calculate the computing, storage, and data transfer costs associated with your cloud provider’s region.

Internal support burden


As issues arise with your data catalog, you’ll need a team to take point on new requests.

This team will resolve simple issues and escalate harder issues to the service provider They will also take the lead on updating internal documentation in response to frequently asked questions.

Internal training & support


Users, stewards, and admins will need training on the new data catalog. Some of this can come from your provider. But you’ll still need training on how this new addition to your modern data stack integrates with your day-to-day processes.


How to prepare for a data catalog pricing discussion

With this knowledge, you can better prepare for a pricing discussion with a data catalog provider. Before entering the discussion, make sure you’ve assessed the following:

  • Know your user cases and requirements. Use our data catalog purchasing guide to determine what use cases are top of mind for your organization. This will help you understand what features you need from a data catalog. That, in turn, which additional features outside of a provider’s base platform you need to license.
  • Know your data estate. Have a sense of the size and maturity level of your data estate. This will include the number of data sources and tables that you plan to track.
  • Estimate usage. How many users will need read access? Edit access? How many admins will you need to support?
  • Estimate integration work required. Does your chosen data catalog provider support a large number of out-of-the-box connectors? Does it have a simple, DIY setup procedure? Do you have unsupported third-party systems or internal systems that will require custom programmatic work to integrate? The answers to these questions will impact how much you’ll need to spend in the integration phase.

Let Atlan help

At Atlan, we’ve worked hard to make the hard stuff easy. Atlan is a state-of-the-art data catalog designed with a DIY setup procedure, dozens of out-of-the-box connectors, and an intuitive UI - all of which lead to lower TCO. Contact us today to discuss how Atlan can take your data management to the next level.


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