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Alation Data Catalog

The first data catalog designed for human collaboration

What if you had a recommendation engine for your data? Data inventory was automated. A searchable catalog revealed user behavior of data. And the system proactively made smart recommendations inline, as you wrote queries.

Alation makes all of this possible with the world’s first collaborative data catalog for the enterprise. It’s a powerful solution that dramatically improves the productivity of analysts, the accuracy of analytics, and empowers better business decisions for all.

A Data Catalog Is Only As Good As Its Applications

Alation surfaces proactive recommendations to data consumers through applications

Browse all your data – no technical jargon needed

We took inspiration from Google for a simple interface to connect the language of your business to the technical schema of your data. Finding the data you need is no longer stalled by tricky semantic translations.

Increase productivity for both the SQL-savvy and the novice

Unfamiliar with a data environment, and unsure of which data to use in your query? Alation helps you build the query and signals whether data is trustworthy with inline recommendations powered by the Alation Data Catalog.

Context and trustworthiness shared through curation

In the creative flow of analysis, it’s easy to forget governance policies and best practices. Alation ensures that analytics stewards can easily apply policies that are surfaced directly in the natural workflow of analysts.

Have One Trustworthy Source of Data

What is this database table about?
What columns are in this table?
Can I see a sample of the data?

Automated Data Catalog

Alation indexes all of your data for business use. Technical metadata is surfaced where it is most relevant to the data consumer – in-context with data definitions and sample data. And machine learned patterns of usage are surfaced alongside the technical details, all to create complete context for the user.

How much curation progress have I made on my data?
How should I prioritize my efforts in order to make the most impact?

Analytics Stewardship

Being a data steward can be a daunting responsibility. The work is often tedious and difficult to track, measure or even know whether it’s making a difference. With Alation’s Analytics Stewardship application, stewards are able to prioritize which data to curate first, apply policies, measure curation progress and ensure analysts see guidelines and policies within their natural workflow.

What does the acronym ‘DRG’ stand for?

Business Glossary

Alation’s machine learning algorithms learn the lexicon of your business. This means it extracts the natural language meaning from technical jargon, making it easier for everyone to understand. Alation will even auto-suggest new business terms to add to the glossary based on usage data.

Who can help me better understand this data?

Behavior-based Insights

By ingesting and parsing your analytic ecosystem’s query logs, Alation understands the user behavior that surrounds your data. This helps to determine which data is most popular, which joins and filters are applied most often, what the data’s lineage is, who the top users are, and helps identify data stewards.

How is downstream data impacted by a change upstream?

Data Lineage

Insights are only as good as the underlying data. Alation’s interactive lineage graph shows the relationships between the raw data to the tables and BI reports — all the way down to the column level. If a data object is deprecated, Alation flags all of the downstream assets that are impacted.

How do I know I can trust this data?

Social Curation

Taking inspiration from social networks, Alation crowdsources knowledge about data and makes it available across the enterprise — for all to benefit. Alation clearly communicates endorsements, warnings, and deprecations. This highlights the trustworthiness of data and clearly indicates who the subject matter experts are, just in case you still have questions.

See your data

Alation is a complete repository for all the data assets & data knowledge in your organization. Alation is a single point of reference for your:

  • Business glossary
  • Data dictionary
  • Wiki articles

Understand your data

Alation samples data & monitors usage to ensure that users have accurate insight into data accuracy. This includes providing insights through:

  • Catalog activity
  • Data sampling
  • Interactive lineage

Collaborate with data

Alation provides deep insight into how users are creating & sharing knowledge from raw data. This includes surfacing details that include:

  • Top users
  • Popularity of schemas, tables, and columns
  • Shared joins, filters, and queries

How Alation Creates a Data Catalog

Automating the Metadata Inventory

Traditionally creating an inventory of all the data knowledge in the organization has required a time-intensive & people-heavy approach. Alation uses search techniques perfected in the consumer space to simplify & automate creating an inventory of your data assets.

Simply connect Alation to your data sources and the system crawls & indexes data assets stored across different physical repositories including databases, Hadoop files and data visualization tools.

Alation automatically ingests technical metadata, user permissions and business descriptions into a central repository that is a foundational resource for all data users in your organization.

Alation Crawls & Indexes

  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • SQLServer
  • Teradata
  • Redshift
  • Tableau
  • and more…

Leveraging User Behavior as Suggestions

Anyone who has participated in a knowledge management project knows how fundamentally unscalable the approach is — no one likes to write documentation.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could only train all of your analysts to work like that one wonderful data scientist on the team? She just seems to know naturally how to ask the right questions and access the best data.

Alation taps into the trail left by your best analysts, their SQL log files. By parsing the SQL used to access data during the normal flow of their work, Alation’s algorithms can identify meaningful patterns.

More importantly, these patterns can be used as a foundation for automated interventions during any analyst’s workflow. SmartSuggestions in Alation Compose show how recommendations for best practices or policy compliance can be driven intelligently.

Behavior I/O

Data scientists are familiar with the concept of a supervised learning system. Algorithms get better as they receive more feedback. As people confirm good matches, they’re also teaching the machine what a good match is. The machine subsequently gets better and better at suggesting matches. The humans train the machines. You can think of this virtuous cycle as “Behavior I/O”

Documentation through Engagement

With limited stewardship resources and the volume of enterprise data growing rapidly, organizations are struggling to effectively steward their data. Without proper documentation and context, the business is unable to fully take advantage of its trove of valuable data assets.

Those who know the data best often make the best stewards. They could be anyone from data analysts sitting in the line of business to individuals in IT. These stewards can interpret, evaluate and apply policies to the data by way of describing, tagging and classifying data or simply linking directly to the appropriate policy.

Alation’s Analytics Stewardship application increases stewardship productivity by helping them prioritize which data should be curated first. Alation also measures and showcases the impact of the stewards’ efforts. As a result, the enterprise derives greater business value from their Data & Analytics Governance programs.

Analytics Stewardship Capabilities

  • Policy Center
  • Catalog Sets
  • Stewardship Dashboard
  • Data Objects Without Stewards
  • Curation Progress
  • Agile Approval
  • Inbox and Task Management
  • Auto-Discovered Glossary

Using APIs for Virtual Data Pipelines

Alation can operate stand-alone or as a significant component in your organization’s footprint for managing data. Alation uses native connectors or APIs to read technical metadata and business definitions from existing third party repositories. Just as easily, third party tools can access Alation as a point of reference in their work managing data throughout the enterprise.

Alation APIs Feed These Tools

  • Data integration
  • Data preparation
  • Data quality
  • Data profiling
  • Auditing
  • BI and Data visualization
  • and more…