A data catalog is a metadata repository that helps companies organize and find data that’s stored in their many systems. It works like a library catalog. But instead of detailing books and journals, it has information about tables, files, and databases. This information comes from a company’s ERP, HR, Finance, and E-commerce systems (as well as social media feeds).
The catalog also shows where all the data entities are located. A data catalog contains a number of critical information about each piece of data, such as the data’s profile (statistics or informative summaries about the data), lineage (how the data is generated), and what others say about it.
A catalog is the go-to spot for data scientists, business analysts, data engineers, and others who are trying to find data to build insights, discover trends, and identify new products for the company.
A data catalog works differently than a data lake. While they are both a central repository of data, you must move all the data into the technology while using a data lake. For example, if the data lake is in S3, you must move all the data to S3. This can become very expensive and is only applicable for certain use cases. On the other hand, a data catalog contains the metadata and its whereabouts, which enables the user to move to the appropriate place.