Maximizing the Power of Data Catalogs With Revelate and Alation

Focused woman utilizing a data catalog tool on her laptop to explore and manage data resources.

Table Of Contents

In centuries past, sea mariners navigated with a nautical compass to ensure they stayed on course. Now, modern business users rely on a data catalog to rapidly navigate the complex landscape of data in a similar way. (Thankfully they can do so without unexpected detours or the occasional snarky comments from a mischievous GPS voice.)

Alation, an AI-driven data catalog platform, operates like a navigational compass expertly guiding enterprise users through the expansive data landscape. It uses AI to provide contextual knowledge and intelligent recommendations, equipping users with valuable insights on effectively using their data. 

However, one shortcoming of Alation lies in its limited ability to seamlessly integrate with external data sources, which can hinder the ability of enterprises to access a wider range of data. Many teams choose to pair Alation with Revelate to overcome this limitation.

Revelate’s robust capabilities in accessing and seamlessly integrating external data sources enable enterprises to bridge the gap and unlock a more comprehensive array of data, including third-party data sets, APIs, and external databases. This collaborative approach enables Alation users to overcome the inherent limitations and enhance their insights by combining the power of Alation’s internal data organization and Revelate’s seamless integration with external sources.

Revelate’s data productization capabilities allow Alation users to transform curated data into valuable data products, including APIs, dashboards, and data services. By doing so, Alation users can monetize their data assets, unlock new revenue streams, and enhance the overall value of their data.

With Revelate as a trusted co-pilot, Alation users have more options to maximize the potential of their data and drive business growth.

Alation: An intelligent data cataloging solution

Alation integrates AI into multiple core features of its data catalog platform. Its AI-powered algorithms enable robust data lineage functions and enhance data discovery, data quality, and metadata curation. Let’s delve into how Alation’s AI transforms and enhances these essential components of the data catalog.

Data quality

Data quality ensures that information contained within a data catalog is accurate, reliable, and fit for its intended purpose. Machine learning can maintain this quality through automated data profiling and robust rule creation.  

Alation leverages machine learning to analyze and understand the characteristics and patterns of data, identifying potential issues or anomalies. Those insights establish data quality rules that ensure cataloged information is accurate and reliable. Additionally, Alation continuously improves its data quality measures, providing users with trustworthy data assets.

Alation users can integrate data quality information into a data asset’s profile through its Open Data Quality Initiative, which features an Open Data Quality Framework (ODQF). The ODQF enables enterprise users to assess data quality at the point of discovery, eliminating the need to interrupt their workflow and enabling faster decision-making based on the suitability of the data.

The ODQF grants enterprises the freedom to choose the data quality vendor that best suits their specific needs and requirements. As a result, it helps businesses avoid vendor lock-in, giving them more flexibility to address their data quality pain points specific to their industry. 

If Alation users are searching for a vendor offering advanced data quality features, Revelate emerges as a strong contender. Revelate goes beyond basic data profiling by conducting a comprehensive analysis of data patterns, distributions, relationships, and anomalies and providing statistical summaries. Alation users with access to this capability can gain deeper insights into data quality. 

Revelate also incorporates workflows for data quality remediation, empowering users to define and automate corrective actions for identified quality issues.

Automated data discovery

Automated data discovery in data catalogs is like having a skilled navigator aboard your data ship, guiding you through the vast seas of your organization’s data landscape. Automated data discovery enables you to explore uncharted data assets, uncover hidden data sources, and navigate complex data relationships, steering your organization toward valuable insights and data-driven decision-making. 

Alation’s natural language search capabilities make data catalogs more user-friendly and accessible to diverse users. It empowers data catalogs to automatically translate complex technical jargon into easily understandable business terms. For example, Alation’s data catalog can intelligently consolidate product inventory data from multiple assets and then harmonize naming conventions and abbreviations. The catalog presents the consolidated data under a unified label like “Product Inventory,” for a user-friendly, cohesive view.  

Revelate offers unique data discovery capabilities that complement Alation. Revelate users can leverage advanced data profiling techniques to uncover hidden insights and patterns within their data. Its data discovery features go beyond basic data profiling by providing sophisticated analysis of data relationships, dependencies, and associations. This allows users to discover meaningful connections and correlations that may not be immediately apparent. 

In addition, Revelate also offers advanced data exploration capabilities, including interactive visualizations and intuitive user interfaces, empowering users to navigate and explore their data in a more intuitive and interactive manner. These data discovery capabilities provide users with a deeper understanding of their data and unlock valuable insights for informed decision-making.

Metadata curation

Metadata helps users understand the characteristics, context, and relationships of data, similar to how a nautical compass helps to reveal a ship’s position. Metadata curation systematically ensures metadata is accurate, relevant, and aligned with data governance policies. When enterprises curate metadata, they enhance their capability to produce high-quality data products.  

Alation relies on a mix of machine learning and data stewards to curate metadata. The data catalog automatically parses query logs and mines them for behavioral insight. “[If] the data isn’t trustworthy, whether because it’s stale or miscalculated, an Alation steward (will) slap a deprecation or warning on the data asset,” declared Aaron Kalb, Alation VP and co-founder and VP of design.  

Alation can also bulk update data objects’ metadata without manually updating each object, saving curators significant effort. Its ability to facilitate bulk updates makes it more likely that metadata will be populated and stay up-to-date.

In addition to Alation’s capabilities, Revelate brings unique metadata features to complement the platform. For instance, Revelate enables users to automatically capture and catalog metadata from various sources, including databases, files, and APIs. The platform also provides extensive metadata visualization and exploration capabilities, allowing users to understand the relationships between different metadata elements.    

Data monitoring and anomaly detection

Data monitoring tracks data asset accuracy, consistency, and timeliness in real-time, much like how a nautical compass continuously tracks and provides updates on a ship’s heading, speed, and direction. Both provide alert notifications when there are any deviations from expected patterns. 

In 2021, Alation partnered with Bigeye to bring data quality monitoring to their catalog. Bigeye’s data monitoring platform helps data teams identify problems with data quality and maintain dependable data pipelines. Bigeye adapts to business changes by automatically surveilling the data and examining nine categories of potential issues and more than 60 data quality metrics. Alation immediately notifies the data team if there is a problem with the data or data pipeline, allowing them to address the issue.

Alation users can employ data profiling to spot anomalies. Data profiling documents data assets and dependencies, such as data lineage, metadata, and data relationships, helps enterprises comprehensively analyze and assess their data. It also breaks down patterns in data, allowing stewards to more easily discover and investigate data quality.

Revelate can help strengthen Alation’s data monitoring capabilities through its customizable data quality rules and alerts to promptly identify data anomalies. The platform’s proactive monitoring empowers users to swiftly address data issues and streamline data validation through the implementation of automated workflows.

Data lineage

Data lineage highlights the origins, transformations, and flow of data, much like how a compass displays the course from a starting point to a destination. Data lineage enables users to trace the path of data, identify its source, track its transformations, and determine its destination.

Data catalogs incorporate data lineage features to capture and document data modifications. They can provide a record of how data was used, who viewed it and whether it was sent, transformed or received in real time. Alation’s data catalog has several data lineage tools, including data lineage APIs that automate table-to-table lineage and enable manual expansion of data flow graphs. 

In collaboration with Manta, a unified lineage platform, Alation has automated the process of generating enriched, column-level data lineage from diverse data sources. This joint solution provides enterprises with cross-system and cross-level data lineage that enables them to meet regulatory compliance requirements. The data catalog even offers real-time notifications for upstream data changes, enabling enterprises to stay informed.

Alation’s automated approach for data lineage also reduces the likelihood of data becoming isolated in separate, disconnected repositories, as it can efficiently track and document the flow of data across systems and applications.

While Alation provides comprehensive data lineage, Revelate takes it a step further by offering end-to-end visibility into the (broader) entire data lifecycle. It can track data across various systems and processes, providing a granular and comprehensive view of data lineage. It also incorporates advanced lineage mapping techniques such as impact analysis and dependency tracking. This deeper level of data lineage enhances regulatory compliance and data-driven decision-making within organizations.

Using Revelate and Alation

By harnessing the power of Revelate, Alation data viewers can seamlessly transition from passive observers to active data consumers. Growing demand for data products has driven this transformation, as evidenced by Alation’s recent integration of “data marketplaces” into its catalog. With this new feature, Alation’s data catalog users can directly purchase data from platforms like Snowflake or Amazon Data Exchange without leaving the catalog interface. However, the integration of Revelate into Alation goes beyond facilitating data purchases from external platforms.

What is Revelate?

If Alation is a ship’s nautical compass, Revelate is the engine that propels the ship. Revelate’s data fulfillment platform drives the data integration, processing, and productization tasks. Revelate also gathers data from various sources, processes it for usability, and transforms it into valuable data products users can share. Revelate users can then access the data by adding these data products to a public, private, or hybrid web store. These data products represent the refined versions of the original collected data, carefully prepared for data sharing purposes.

Alation’s data catalog tools serve a distinct yet complementary purpose. The catalog helps businesses organize their internal data more effectively and categorize data based on their business requirements. Alation even employs machine learning to reveal relevant metadata, making it easier to discover and access data assets.

Revelate serves a different purpose. The platform helps companies effectively combine and integrate data from multiple sources, guaranteeing its reliability, consistency, and suitability for analysis and decision-making. It also offers enterprises tremendous potential for substantial revenue generation. The effectiveness of data management determines the size of this value. 

Leveraging Revelation and Alation for enhanced benefits

Revelate enhances Alation’s functionality by adding the capability to integrate, refine, and package data for specific use cases or external distribution. The Revelate platform specializes in data integration and data productization features, whereas Alation primarily operates as a data catalog with robust machine learning capabilities, particularly in data discovery. Integrating these platforms can significantly improve a business’ ability to collaborate with external data providers. It will also expand business access to a wider array of data resources, enabling them to gain a significant competitive edge in the market.

Revelate + Alation generates revenue

Alation’s data cataloging features are enriched by its powerful machine learning capabilities that provide enterprise users with valuable insights. However, Alation’s capabilities to access data from external systems and prepare it for distribution to internal and external stakeholders may have certain limitations. Consequently, when evaluating the capabilities of Alation, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements of your data access and distribution needs to ensure that it aligns effectively with your organizational requirements.

Like a well-tuned engine propelling a ship through uncharted waters, Revelate confidently drives forward to confront this challenge directly. As a comprehensive data fulfillment platform, Revelate provides a robust set of features meticulously designed to streamline data acquisition, integration, management, and delivery, ensuring smooth sailing toward data-driven success. Revelate empowers users to independently create data products, supported by robust integration capabilities. It effectively bridges the gap between accessing data from external systems, integrating it into a cohesive structure, and packaging it for seamless distribution to both internal and external stakeholders.

Together, Revelate and Atlan provide enterprises with a comprehensive and focused solution for efficient data management and productization. Combining both platforms allows enterprises to unlock the maximum value from their data assets to drive business success.

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