The term ‘metadata’ describes the information that is used by Ajilius to create a data warehouse and its ETL / ELT code. Metadata is the descriptive information about the tables, columns, data sources and other features of our warehouse. When Ajilius creates a table, or a warehouse, or a batch update procedure, it reads the metadata and generates code suitable for the target platform.
Ajilius stores its metadata separate from the data warehouse. Because Ajilius supports multiple data warehouses, each warehouse has its own repository. We store that metadata in a database for each warehouse. A common repository stores information that Ajilius uses for all warehouses.
The main benefit of external metadata is that it makes portability simple. The data warehouse market is increasingly fluid, and the ability to take advantage of new platform offerings could be a big advantage. Hadoop, for example, is offering increasing capability at very low prices, and the ability to quickly switch between an RDBMS and Hadoop using Ajilius could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you’re interested in migration as a feature, make sure that you ask your DW Automation provider to demonstrate this capability against an existing warehouse. No-one comes close to our “three-click migration”.
Another benefit is that we don’t need to migrate metadata into production. The concept of separation between development and production isn’t seen as important by some of our competitors, but we’ve seen scenarios where production data warehouses are hosted on managed platforms to which the DW developers do not have deployment rights. Ajilius makes it easy to generate scripts which can be tested and scheduled by a production operations team, independent of the development platform.
Being a metadata-driven product isn’t enough in today’s data warehouse market. Unless that metadata helps you to migrate across platforms and integrate with your operations framework, you’ve bought just another ETL tool, not a modern data warehouse automation platform.