Published in TDAN.com October 2005
I’ve been heavily involved in the metadata management market for over 20 years now. Never before has there been such a time when metadata has been so prevalent and forthcoming! Just about
everyone seems to be talking about metadata! You know the old saying “be careful what you wish for …”. The “MetaData Management Renaissance” has begun! Here are some
recent industry trends and announcements that I find quite interesting:
InfoLibrarian Corporation (www.infolibcorp.com) has recently announced that it is shipping the industry’s first
“metadata integration appliance”. InfoLibrarian has cleverly packaged and pre-installed its metadata management application (metadata repository software) onto a 64-bit Intel/Linux
server that you simply “plug into” your corporate network when it arrives after shipment. Because the software is pre-installed, it requires little additional setup and helps you to
significantly reduce your metadata software implementation efforts. The appliance is scalable, so you can purchase additional servers (and stack them) for more “horse power”. And
because each appliance has a unique IP address, the technical support team at InfoLibrarian can help you to install fixes and software updates from their desktops at corporate headquarters!
Business Objects (NASDAQ BOBJ) has recognized the importance of metadata management for building, maintaining, and using a data warehouse or business intelligence project, and
will soon release a new software product called “Business Objects Metadata Manager”. BOBJ wants to bring “metadata to the business user” by providing a browser-based UI
and a series of “business focused metadata reports” (such as data lineage, impact analysis, etc …). The new tool will initially focus on integrating metadata from the BOBJ
toolset, but will also support metadata sourcing from modeling tools (ERwin), database tools (Oracle, Sybase, SQL/Server, DB2/UDB), other ETL tools (Informatica) and even other BI tools (Cognos)
! The product will be formally announced at the upcoming Business Objects International User Conference (Orlando, FL – Nov 6-9, 2005). After completing a vigorous beta-testing program, the
new tool will become available for purchase in Q1/2006.
Microsoft has recently announced the new, upcoming version of its Windows operating system, called “Windows Vista”. This new version of Windows is in beta-test the
remainder of 2005 and is expected to ship in G/A in mid-2006. But what is quite interesting about Windows Vista is that it leverages the collection of metadata. In a recent eWeek magazine article
dated August 22, 2005, reporter Jason Brooks says “One of the most immediately visible differences between Windows XP and Vista is the new system’s overhauled file manager (Windows
Explorer) into which Microsoft has stuffed a bunch of potentially interesting new features. Explorer now sports a search box in the upper right corner of the interface. If you type in a search
term and hit Enter, the search tool will deliver results from the file names, keywords, descriptions and other METADATA of the files in the folder you have open.” It looks like Microsoft is
finally leveraging metadata to help make our desktop work experience more effective. Within Vista, I would speculate that we will probably be more frequently prompted to enter metadata
definitions to better describe our Office documents, desktop files, and other corporate information assets.
Speakercraft Corporation (www.speakercraft.com) which makes hi-fidelity speaker devices for MP3 and other music players
says they are delivering a new, updated speaker system which connects to an Apple iPod and “delivers (displays) full METADATA”. When I asked an actual iPod user for more information,
my 16-year old son Adam tells me “Yes, Dad – OF COURSE an iPod collects (and stores) metadata about your song catalog. Get with it Dad! Everyone who uses an iPod knows what metadata
- The first OPEN SOURCE metadata solution has debuted from a company called SuperLuminate (www.superluminate.com). Chief developer
Patrick Nolan says “SuperLuminate is a web based application, built to LAMP open source standards using the Apache web server, MySQL database, and the PHP web scripting language.
SuperLuminate targets those companies that need a data dictionary but can’t currently justify or afford a flagship product.”
The “good news for metadata” is that there are more vendor software solutions today than ever, including many new start-up companies that have been launched in the new millennium. And
we are also seeing established software companies (such as Business Objects) incorporating metadata management utilities within their standard product offerings. I have personally counted over 30
different software vendors who participate either directly or indirectly in the metadata management market. Several of these vendors do not officially classify themselves as “metadata
management tools” but still catalog and organize corporate metadata definitions. Welcome to the Metadata Renaissance!