Types of Catalog Sources

Alation supports several distinct source types. When adding a Source to your catalog you will choose from the following list:

Data Source

A source that points to a database of a specific type.

To connect to Data Sources, Alation provides built-in JDBC drivers. However, you can optionally use custom non-built-in JDBC drivers to connect.

If you need to connect to a database type that Alation does not currently support with a native driver, you can add your Data Source as Custom DB.

Virtual Data Source

A source that documents a database for which Alation does not offer a native connector or that cannot be accessed from Alation because of data policy restrictions or for any other reasons. Metadata for virtual data sources can be provided via API or imported from a file.

File System

A source that documents data stored on a file system. Use the File System source to catalog the supported file system types.

BI Server

A source that documents BI servers, reports, and dashboards available to analysts in your organization. Connection to supported BI servers and file systems is established with the help of Alation-developed connectors and in compliance with the network requirements of the organization.

You can also catalog API Resources Cataloging using the dedicated API.  An API resource is a type of source that catalogs API endpoints that can be used by analysts to retrieve data at a company.

All the sources available in your catalog will be listed on the Sources page.

Each source added to Alation has a dedicated catalog page that has all the relevant fields with information about this source and its data.

After you have added your source to the Alation catalog, you can run Metadata Extraction. For data sources, run Data Profiling to pull in metadata and data samples. To get lineage information and an insight into which part of data is used the heaviest, perform Query Log Ingestion.

Connection between the data source and its underlying database allows you to run SQL queries against this database from Compose, Alation’s querying tool.