With an accurate and updated data catalog, users can more easily access and understand the needed data. But what tools are right for your business? In today’s article, we’ll cover some of the top data catalog tools available in 2024.
What is a data catalog tool?
Data catalogs are inventories of all the data assets in an organization. A data catalog contains the metadata that helps define the data type, the relationship between assets and more. It uses metadata to enable data professionals to collect, organize, access, and enrich metadata to support data discovery and governance.
For a full checklist of all requirements you should consider when evaluating a data catalog, download the complete data catalog buyer's guide.
Why are data catalog tools useful?
Effective data catalogs are more than just a repository of definitions and assets. For data catalogs to be valuable, they need to be user-friendly for both technical and non-technical users.
Data catalog tools are useful for several reasons, including improved data efficiency, enhanced data context, streamlined data access, and improved data analysis. Here are some key benefits of using a data catalog tool:
- Improved Data Efficiency: Data catalogs make it easier to find data, avoid duplication, understand data better, ensure data rules are followed, make data integration smoother, and encourage teamwork.
- Enhanced Data Context: Data catalogs provide detailed information about datasets, including their origin, quality, usage, and connections to other datasets. This information makes it easier for users to understand the meaning, importance, and suitability of the data, leading to better decision-making and analysis.
- Streamlined Data Access: A well-designed data catalog makes it easier for users to find the right datasets and build and launch new use cases. It also helps quickly identify areas for improvement in their data management strategy
- Improved Data Analysis: Data catalogs improve data analysis by making it easier to find data, offering context with metadata, ensuring data quality, and enabling teamwork
- Increased User Trust: By providing important information about each dataset, data catalogs help ensure that users are using the correct data for their applications, thus increasing user trust
Overall, data catalogs play an important role in enabling organizations to make better use of their data and drive insights that can help inform business decisions.
How to choose the right data catalog tool for your company
When evaluating a data catalog tool, there are several factors you should consider. Here are some steps to take to choose the best tool for your business:
- Consider Your Needs — First, it can be helpful to clearly outline the needs and goals of your business and what you expect from your data catalog tool to help you achieve these goals. Talking to your data team and other decision stakeholders can help you outline these goals. Once you have your goals in mind, it will be easier to narrow down the selection of potential tools.
- Compare Tools — Next, you can compare the different data catalog tools. Take a look at the different features and see how they can help you reach your data goals. See if the tools have capabilities outside of data cataloging and if those features are important to you. You should also keep your budget in mind, as the price of each tool can vary.
- Seek Feedback — Once you’ve lined up a few options, it’s good to seek some second opinions. Talk to your data team and other team members to get feedback about each of your options. This could help you narrow down your options even more before you start trying tools out. It’s also a good idea to ask peers in your industry about their experience with data catalog tools and if they have any recommendations.
- Demo Your Tool — Now you’re ready to give the tools you’ve selected a trial run. Most companies offer free trials or demos to show you how their tool could help your organization. Make sure your team members can test these tools too. This allows you to get a comprehensive picture of each option and see if your team has any favorites.
Choosing the right data catalog tool is important, so make sure to weigh your needs and goals when making your decision.
What are the key features of a data catalog tool?
The key features of a data catalog tool include:
- Data Integration & Discovery: The ability to connect to various data sources and automatically discover metadata from systems, applications, databases, files, and external APIs. Continuous data discovery is essential to keep the catalog up to date
- Search and Find Functionality: A data catalog should provide robust search capabilities, allowing users to find and access relevant data efficiently. This includes full-text search powered by AI and LLMS.
- Metadata Management & Templates: Good data catalogs allow the addition of custom metadata, tagging data with information such as data category, business owners, and other important details.
- Data Lineage: Data lineage helps users understand the origin and destination of any data asset in a data catalog. It is essential for meeting regulatory requirements for the traceability of calculations and data preparation.
- Business Glossary: A business glossary is crucial for linking technical metadata to business terms, providing a common understanding of the organization's data assets.
- AI and Machine Learning: Many modern data catalogs use AI and machine learning algorithms for tasks such as metadata harvesting, cataloging, tagging, and automated search recommendations.
- Collaboration Features: Collaboration tools such as the ability to rate a dataset, comment on it, share it with coworkers, and other social features are important for user adoption.
- User Access controls: The catalog should allow you to set granular role-based access controls (RBAC) to ensure data governance.
- Automations: Automation through AI to ensure that the catalog is always up to date, as manual maintenance can lead to obsolete data and decreased user adoption
- User Experience: The catalog should be designed and accessible for users of all types of techncial backgrounds with advanced features reserved for technical users such as data stewards and engineers. Usability is a key factor for long-term user adoption across the business.
- Data Monitoring and Observability: rather than having a separate tool and creating additional costs as well as platforms to manage, choose a tool that provides more than just data cataloging. The most comprehensive tools bring data monitoring into the catalog to give you visibility into the health of your entire stack in one place.
Top Data Catalog Tools Comparison
Secoda is a data management platform that consolidates your data catalog, monitoring, dictionary, lineage, governance, access management, and documentation.
Secoda makes your data easily searchable for all users in one collaborative and intuitive platform. Since the beginning, Secoda has been dedicated to democratizing access to data knowledge at scale. We’ve built AI solutions that allow any employee to easily search, understand, and use company data, regardless of their technical ability. This feature is essential for data-driven organizations that require fast, accurate, and intuitive search capabilities to navigate their vast data landscapes efficiently.
With the most powerful and comprehensive search, Secoda enhances everyone's ability to quickly find the data they need.
Here are some of the benefits of Secoda:
- AI powered search, lineage, and documentation generation
- The ability to consolidate your catalog, lineage, documentation, and data monitoring and observability
- Automated data lineage and documentation across tables and columns
- No-code data centralization on a highly scalable platform
- Contextual search results across tables, columns, dashboards, metrics and queries
- Enable self-service analytics for nontechnical users
- Out-of-the-box integrations with BI tools, data warehouse tools and more
Collibra’s Data Catalog tool makes it easier for organizations to find and understand data across sources. Users can connect business and technical data with column-level data lineage to add additional context to data insights. Collibra’s tool also includes features for data access management, data policies and lineage management.
Here are some of the benefits of Collibra Data Catalog:
- Data quality and pipeline monitoring
- No-code data policy building
- Centralize data assets for improved data access and discovery
- Automated data governance
Collibra's data catalog offers a demo for businesses. Pricing depends on the needs of your company.
Stemma is a data catalog tool focused on building a self-serve data culture. It features tools for automated data documentation for improved data discovery and change management tools for greater visibility into upstream and downstream data assets.
Here are some of the benefits of Stemma:
- Automated data stewardship
- Table and column-level data lineage
- Engagement monitoring tools to foster the adoption and democratization of data
- Various tool and workflow integrations
Stemma offers companies a free demo. Pricing depends on the needs of your company.
SelectStar is a data discovery platform that enables automation for many data discovery-related tasks. With SelectStar, users can harness tools for data governance, metadata management and data discovery to improve data access and data-driven insights.
Here are some of the benefits of SelectStar:
- Automated data lineage, ERDs and documentation
- Column-level data lineage
- Automated popularity ranking of data
- Platform designed for highly technical users
Alation Data Catalog utilizes business intelligence and machine learning to drive data culture and improve productivity. Alation also includes features for top-down data governance and enterprise wide collaboration.
Here are some of the benefits of Alation Data Catalog:
- Machine learning and business intelligence
- Integrated knowledge capture and enterprisewide communication
- Built-in SQL editor
- Intuitive integrations for data sources and business tools
Alation Data Catalog offers a demo to companies that are interested in learning more. Pricing depends on the needs of your company.
Castor is an automated data catalog platform. Castor makes it easy for team members to collaborate and share data in real time and automate documentation. Castor also offers features for column-level, cross-system lineage automation, data governance and AI data mapping.
Here are some of the benefits of Castor:
- Automated data documentation and lineage
- Feedback loops in the Castor dashboard for real-time collaboration
- Sync documentation from data warehouses, BI & data quality tools, dbts, CSVs and Excel files.
- Slack notification system for capturing tribal knowledge
- Explore data stacks based on user behavior
Castor provides companies with a free trial or a demo. Pricing is $10,000 yearly for the Starter tier, and higher tiers use custom pricing.
Atlan is a traditional data catalog. Atlan enables easy and intuitive self-service analytics through its data discovery tools. Atlan also offers tools for data lineage, data governance and more.
Here are some of the benefits of Atlan’s Data Catalog tool:
- Searchable assets linked to business metrics
- Data discovery through SQL syntax
- Companion Sidebar for discovering trust signals
- Sync documentation from data warehouses, BI & data quality tools, dbts, CSVs and Excel files.
Atlan will demo its product for your business. Pricing depends on the needs of your company.
Amundsen is an open-source data discovery and metadata engine. Amundsen allows users to see automated and curated metadata and easily share data context with other team members. It also supports numerous integrations to fit in your current data stack.
Here are some of the benefits of Amundsen
- Open source
- Automated metadata and documentation
- Easy to integrate with other major data tools
- Automated context sharing
- Simple text search for data
Amundsen was open-sourced by Lyft and is available to use
Try Secoda Today
Organizations looking for an all-in-one data management and data discovery tool should choose Secoda. Secoda has the data catalog features you need to organize and centralize your data, along with numerous tools for other aspects of data management. Businesses that want to easily enable self-service analytics in their organization can trust Secoda to get them there. Try Secoda today to see if our platform is right for you.