Data takes space and it takes a lot of time to sort through the data. But not paying attention to data and the signs it is telling you might drive your business down to the ground.
Managing data is half of the hard work and if you manage the data correctly as soon as you receive it from the source, you’ll be able to have an easy-to-view data catalog.
That’s where data catalog tools come in place as they allow you to organize your data and visually display it to the end-user.
If you are not already managing your data correctly and you are having difficulties, this is the article for you. Down below, you can find the importance and benefits of the best data catalog tools, why go with an open-source tool, and even find 10 of the best open-source data catalogs!
Why Should You Use a Data Catalog if You Are Not Using One
Most businesses who struggle with managing data don’t understand the data they have in front of them.
It can be the huge amount of data that’s available, or it can be inefficient organization. With the paper trail reduced and digital storage space increasing, data keeps on accumulating like never before.
The data catalog is a solution that can store and manage different data types, sort through the data, and most importantly, show how and where the data can be used in the business.
Transparency is the key of data catalog tools and if you are not using it, you are most likely missing out on the benefits, have data accumulated, and you are not taking advantage of data catalog tools. You are either struggling with data or you’re not analyzing all of your available data correctly.
Benefits of Open-Source Data Catalog Tools
Now that you understand the importance of data catalog tools, it’s time to learn some of their greatest benefits.
A quality data catalog won’t only allow you to properly catalog all your data. It will also allow you to keep a proper track of data flow between different data types and even show you the flaws in the flow of your data that you can improve.
Another good feature is that sensitive data can also be managed and yet the tool can identify where your sensitive data is shown the most so you can reduce the risk of breaches.
Some of the high-end data catalog tools even offer machine learning features that can learn the way you manage your data and help you out with large data volumes.
But why should you go with an open-source data catalog tool?
Open-source data catalog tools are still high-quality software that comes at a fraction of the price (and sometimes are even free), yet they are great for scaling, offer plenty of customization options, and can be used without any limits (ideal for high data volumes).
Also, as a business or an organization, you won’t have to worry about being dependent on one developer for updates since you can hire developers to develop the open-source further or customize it easily to match your needs.
Also Read: Bad Data Visualization Examples
10 Best Open-Source Data Catalog
Now that you know the benefits and advantages of the combination of open-source data catalog tools, this review wouldn’t be complete without my top 10 picks that will most likely fit everyone’s needs!
If you’ve tried finding an open-source data catalog, the chances are that you came across CKAN multiple times.
CKAN is one of the most popular open-source data catalog tools and there’s a reason for it.
This tool is split into two different tools. One is suitable for the government and one is ideal for enterprises. With that being said, one of the best testimonials of CKAN is that it’s currently being used by the Canadian government, US Data government, OpenData.Swiss, British NHS, and many other reputable organizations.
CKAN is an open-source data management system that allows you to import data from various sources and manage it in a catalog style.
It is developed using Python and it is open-source. CKAN is best at powering data hubs, data portals, and making it easy to sift through data and use it to share and analyze data.
CKAN is a web-based platform that includes all functionality, but it can also be integrated into your system using the CKAN API code.
Along with CKAN, you get to take advantage of the datastore provided by an ad hoc database so you can organize your data and safely store it when it is ready for viewing or analysis.
What I also like about this tool is that it is pretty versatile as it is, so you can modify the user interface and features you’d use the most according to your needs. From there, you can even develop your features in Python that you can integrate on your own.
Metadata is provided by default for all your data and there are optional geospatial features that you can use to manage data efficiently.
Visualization is another great advantage of CKAN as you get to manage your data and display it visually. This removes the need to search for data, but CKAN still comes with a rich search engine that allows you to find data in your filestore.
All of these features are integrated, but if you require more features, you can plug in some of the many extensions available for CKAN such as active directory authentication, PDF viewer, organization hierarchy, multilingual metadata fields, and more.
Knowing that CKAN is one of the most powerful open-source data catalog tools available on the market and yet it hosts webinars that teach you how to take full advantage of their free tool is incredible.
Magda started as a small data management project which turned out to be one of the most popular data management systems to store data in a catalog-style way.
The main mission is to provide what every large organization, company, or business requires when they don’t know what to do with the massive quantities of data.
Magda is designed to be a data catalog system where you can store all your data and find specific data information in one catalog.
Data can be imported from files, databases, or APIs, and when you have the data imported, you will be able to sort through it efficiently before storing it.
When your data is successfully stored in Magda, you will have the chance to see all your data in one place, regardless of where the data came from when it was sourced, and the type of the data.
What I like the most about Magda is that it equally features both small and large data. Most businesses neglect small data thinking that it doesn’t provide as much value as large data.
This is not true and I’m glad that Magda has a solution that doesn’t overlook small data as it can be equally important as large data (or be even more important in some cases).
Some of the best features include an easy way to find data thanks to the efficient search engine which improves functionality. Previews are another great feature that combine well with the extensive search engine.
Data is displayed with helpful charting and a spatial view that’s automatically generated for your data.
Metadata can also be enhanced within the tool and basic formatting is automatically done so you don’t have to spend time doing this for your data.
Since Magda is based on the PassportJS, you get to integrate it with various providers such as Google, Facebook, CKAN, and even VANGuard or others.
Lastly, Magda is still under development which means that there will be many more features that will put a stop to manual data management once for all.
Explore: Misleading Data Visualization Examples
Amundsen is well known for being a product developed by the company Lyft. It is an open-source data discovery and management tool that allows you to discover and import data.
But where Amundsen excels is that it helps you generate the context of how the data is being used or how it could potentially be helpful to your business.
Therefore, no small or large data is left unturned, and as long as it is imported into Amundsen, you’ll be able to use its great features to manage your data.
The most known feature is the search engine inspired by none other than PageRank. Amundsen’s search engine allows you to search your data based on names, tags, descriptions, dates, queries, metadata, viewing activity, and more.
All data is neatly displayed across a visual dashboard where metadata is automatically curated for all your imported data.
From there, you get to share the context of your data with anyone within your team or company, and you also get to learn from others.
Therefore, Amundsen is most suitable for analysts, data scientists, data engineers, software engineers, and even well-known brands.
It was developed and used by Lyft, but it is also being used by other known companies such as Bang & Olufsen, Square, Cameo, and many others.
Atlan is all about providing a modern approach that offers a data catalog with a great discovery system, quality data profiling, and great data lineage with many features suitable for data exploration.
Along with that, Atlan provides many integrations with the help of open APIs that easily extend Atlan and match your needs or purpose.
I should mention that Atlan is not free, but it is free to get started with the demo and then you can pay as you go. Pricing is transparent and you will only have to pay for the features that you use and need to manage your data.
As social proof, I should mention that Atlan is currently used by brands such as Postman, Plaid, Delhivery, Juniper, and many others.
What’s great about the data catalog in Atlan is that it uses your imported data assets to create data tables that are visible as BI reports.
With the great search engine, you can discover your data and browse it within seconds so you’ll never feel like you’re stuck in an endless database where you can’t find what you need.
You can deploy Atlan as a VPC or you can use it as a managed service. No matter which way you choose, Atlan will be able to connect with your database and integrate it into the system so you can start straight away.
Truedat is on a mission to help any business, government, or solopreneur to take advantage of the existing data and turn it into an asset.
Not only do they provide a tool, but they also provide consulting that will help you launch and manage your data efficiently. From complex data issues to analyzing your data and using it to your advantage is Truedat’s main mission.
What I like the most about Truedat is that it allows you to change the way your data is structured so you can get more effective results such as faster data reports, easy data integration into the cloud hosting, and even ingestion process automation (data importing).
Truedat is proudly supporting LaLiga, Naturgy, Orange, BBVA, and many other enterprises.
Percona is made by unbiased open-source database experts who wanted to change the way we deal with data in the modern age we live in.
Therefore, with Percona, you get access to insightful database dashboards that are based on the data you import. Along with that, Percona provides monitoring and management features that are a great addition which is rare to see.
Their software helps reduce the complexity of data importing, management, and viewing and that’s why their mission is to optimize how databases work with a focus on performance.
Security is another aspect they focus on which is truly important as Percona is being used by some of the largest enterprises on the planet. Needless to say, Percona was awarded by SourceForge with a leader tool in data management and monitoring tools.
What’s most important is that Percona is free for life and it is constantly updated to be and stay the number one leader in the industry.
Girder is a tool developed by Kitware and is a web-based open-source data management platform that allows you to import your data and store it in a catalog style.
Data organization is of huge importance for Girder and that’s why it is developed in a way to provide data construction for organizations that have a lot of unstructured data.
Of course, all of this is available in the web browser which means that it’s very easy to get started with Girder.
Since it is an open-source tool, the data architecture is customizable and if you require a custom architecture, you can easily develop the code to change the way Girder works. In other words, you can fully adjust Girder to your own needs.
Girder also includes user management, authentication, and authorization management so you won’t ever have to worry about the safety of your data when imported.
This tool is also compatible with many plugins that can help you modify the way Girder stores and manages your data without having to code everything by yourself.
iRODS is made with the mission to provide an all-in-one yet versatile data management system. Therefore, iRODS is based on four core principles which include:
- Data virtualization
- Data discovery
- Workflow automation
- Secure collaboration
They were fully aware of the need for an all-in-one data management system where you won’t only be able to store all your data in an easy-to-view way.
iRODS managed to accomplish that, but it also introduced seamless data discovery where the biggest benefit is workflow automation.
Data can often bring down many businesses and yet iRODS is working hard to provide a solution.
Therefore, iRODS is a great fit for almost any company (of any size) including researchers, commercial use, and even governmental organizations all around the world.
Once you import your data (virtualize it) into iRODS, you will be able to take control of your data, discover the ways it can be used, how it can benefit your business, but most importantly, have your data stored on one device and yet have it accessible to everyone on your team.
iRODS is currently being used by some of the largest brands and companies in the world such as DDN, Western Digital, Suse, Softiron, Quebec library, OpenIO, and many others.
Rucio is based on all scientific studies on data and it is one of only a couple of scientific data management tools.
Whether you’re a community, organization, a small company, or the largest enterprise in the world, Rucio can help you manage your data in one place, get the most out of it, and have your own data work in your favor.
Rucio is one of the most elaborate data management systems that is ideal for everyone who loves learning visually as Rucio takes your data and teaches you everything about it through elaborate insights and analytics.
I should also mention that Rucio is policy-driven and it is an extremely scalable data management tool that can help you manage your data the way you want.
Some of the most beneficial features of Rucio include a smart namespace that improves data organization, storage support, authentication and authorization, and effortless monitoring.
Rucio is an open-source-based tool and it has been written in the Python language which leaves plenty of room for custom upgrades and improvements to fit your business needs.
It’s very easy to integrate Rucio through existing applications so your workflow system won’t disrupt the way your business collects data.
Consistency and proven track record are of huge importance since data is lost daily and Rucio is always prepared to have your back, no matter how small or big the data is.
Kylo is a lightweight open-source data management system that allows you to input your data and sort it in a preferred hierarchy.
It features almost everything even a large enterprise would need to manage their data efficiently. Kylo is also proud to announce that their management system is beneficial in various industries such as airlines, insurance, financial services, retail and customer goods, banking, and even telecommunications.
Kylo isn’t afraid to think big and that’s exactly what they’re trying to help you achieve. One of the most unique features is the ability to “cleanse” your data as you import it and yet you can still benefit from automatic profiling.
Automatic profiling helps you prepare your data with the help of visual SQL and interactive interfaces.
This helps you discover your data and have a look at it from a completely different angle. Once all your data is stored and visualized in one database, with the advanced search engine, you get to explore your data by searching for metadata to check profile statistics, view lineage, and much more.
Kylo automatically monitors health and feeds which helps you to know how healthy your database is, but it can even detect issues and alert you on time before any data loss or misorganization happens.
Design is also a strong suit of Kylo as it allows users to have their data displayed in a user self-service interface so you and your team members can view the data and draw conclusions from it together.
Even if you start early and do your best to manage your data efficiently, it can easily spiral out of control if you don’t have the right tools.
There’s so much data on the planet that tools such as the best open-source data catalogs mentioned in this post help reduce the paper trail and yet still keep everything in one database that businesses can access from any device.
Data can tell you a lot, and all you have to do is “listen” to it properly.
With that being said, most of these open-source tools are free to use and are easy to integrate into your business so there’s no reason not to tighten your data analytics and use it in your favor!
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.