If you have migrated to the Cloud with little or no understanding of Metadata, it is never too late to start to learn.

Metadata is data about data. It has its uses. It helps the system track information about your digital data. It is a critical element in keeping track of revisions during collaboration, search operations, service discovery options, mash up compositions, backup versioning, and may even help the organization in addressing the problems of data growth.  Metadata may have a bearing on interoperability, data interchange of data between Clouds and automation of business processes.

Low level Metadata or Basic Metadata is automatically created by most applications. This type of Metadata will include information, such as: date and time of creation, and the identity of the creator. Basic Metadata created at the block level is vital for the de-duplication, compression, encryption, and backup / recovery processes of Cloud backup services.  File level and content level Metadata are more complex and dynamic, and are often used by content management systems for versioning and e-discovery of information.

The key challenge is: “How to capture, process, analyze and manage Metadata for the Cloud?” The Metadata may have to link data entities to different computers, databases, services, and so on.  The organization will have to consciously develop standards and Metadata management tools for Metadata or the Cloud vendor must have the right Metadata generation and management tools in place for the customer especially where mobile applications and distributed computing are essential dimensions of the Cloud configuration.

Different Cloud services access and use Metadata in different ways. Some may use an OSI like model (physical layer, operational layer, semantic layer and contextual layer) with a definition of the interacting layers and their management.  Others may adopt a Hadoop like framework for evolving the Metadata architecture. The Metadata will be distributed and processing will be in parallel.

Since the Cloud increases need for security and privacy, new kinds of Metadata may have to be evolved to address issues of integrity, compliance, security, privacy where content is shared between organizations, groups or individuals. For instance, Metadata may be created to track whether files in a specific physical location comply with extant legal mandates of the region.

The bottom line will be balancing information value against information risk, keeping in mind business requirements, regulatory requirements, and a host of other issues.

Having difficulties understanding Metadata or encountering issues with your Metadata? We are here to help. Please contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.