Metadata are data about data; each metadata describes an individual data, content item or a collection of data which includes multiple content items. Metadata Synchronization consolidates related data from different systems and synchronizes them for easier access.
Metadata are very important components of any data warehouse implementation because they are of great help in facilitating the understanding, use and management of data. The metadata which are required for efficient data management may vary depending on the type of data and the context where these metadata are being used.
For instance, in a library database system, the data collection may involve the contents of book titles which are being stocked so the metadata to use should be abut the a title that would often include the description of the content, the book author, the date of publication and the physical location.
In the context of the camera, the metadata to use would describe such data as photographic image, the date when the photograph was taken, and other details that pertain to the settings of the camera. Within the contest of an information system, the data would pertain to the content of the files of the computers and so the metadata to use may include individual data item, the name of the field and its length and many other aspects of the file.
If we take the scenario of a real data warehouse environment, there would be millions of metadata describing the millions of data coming from different data sources.
For example, in a multinational corporation, the company may have several branches spread in a wide geographical locations. In each of these branches, there may be data coming several aspects of the business such as sales, procurement, manufacturing, human resource, purchasing and many other complex departments of the modern business setting.
Each of these departments of the company comes up with their own sets of the data but even if these data are primarily needed to ran and manage their own departments, their departmental data are also needed by the entire business enterprise in order to come up with statistical analysis and reports which will become the basis for future decisions to move the company forward and compete in the industry arena.
To efficiently manage the information system in general and the data warehouse in particular, there has to be a way to "iron out" the disparity of all sorts of data including metadata itself. In fact, since the very structure of an enterprise information system involves disparate data sources giving out disparate data, there is a world standard of processes called ETL which stands for extract transform and load which takes in all sorts of data from disparate systems and platforms and transform these disparate into a unified format that the business enterprise can understand and thus efficiently process.
The same is true with metadata. They need to be synchronized so that the information system would know which metadata comes and is needed by what department and when the particular given period the metadata will be given.
Given the different geographical sources of the company branches, metadata should also be synchronized so that they entire system can get the impression of a barrier free information system.
Synchronization is a process that is not just for metadata. It could be for types of computing processes as well. This will have to ensure that end users are getting up to date, relevant and accurate data so that their decisions may be based on facts.