Over the last couple of days I have had two meetings with a new partner and we have been exploring the importance of meta-data in the cloud.
So I thought I would look into the subject a little more and provide some insights.
A simple definition of metadata is that it is “data about data”. Properly managed then metadata is generated whenever data is created, acquired, added to, deleted from, or updated across all the data repositories.
Metadata provides a number of very important benefits:
- Consistency of definitions Metadata contains information about data that helps reconcile the difference in terminology such as “clients” and “customers,” “revenue” and “sales,” etc.
- Clarity of relationships Metadata helps resolve ambiguity and inconsistencies when determining the associations between entities stored throughout data environment. For example, if a customer declares a “beneficiary” in one application, and this beneficiary is called a “participant” in another application, metadata definitions would help clarify the situation.
- Clarity of data lineage Metadata contains information about the origins of a particular data set and can be granular enough to define information at the attribute level; metadata may maintain allowed values for a data attribute, its proper format, location, owner, and steward. Operationally, metadata may maintain auditable information about users, applications, and processes that create, delete, or change data, the exact timestamp of the change, and the authorization that was used to perform these actions.
One of the key value of meta-data is the use when it comes to interactions between the data and application code. Meta-data provides the consistent key into using the underlying content. Yoy don’t need to worry about the content you just call in the object by the name of it’s meta-data tag.
This is a great example of how Meta-data is used in the world of the API Economy. APIs are the simple way for applications to interact and meta-data is the way to access the data content in a standardised manner.
IBM Bluemix is a very easy to use platform with access to many API based services and meta-data oriented data services and includes tools like NodeRed to access the Internet of Things which is dependent on meta-data.