How Column-Aware Development Tooling Yields Better Data Models


June 17th, 2023

46 mins 19 secs

Your Host

About this Episode


Architectural decisions are all based on certain constraints and a desire to optimize for different outcomes. In data systems one of the core architectural exercises is data modeling, which can have significant impacts on what is and is not possible for downstream use cases. By incorporating column-level lineage in the data modeling process it encourages a more robust and well-informed design. In this episode Satish Jayanthi explores the benefits of incorporating column-aware tooling in the data modeling process.


  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I'm interviewing Satish Jayanthi about the practice and promise of building a column-aware data architecture through intentional modeling


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • How has the move to the cloud for data warehousing/data platforms influenced the practice of data modeling?
    • There are ongoing conversations about the continued merits of dimensional modeling techniques in modern warehouses. What are the modeling practices that you have found to be most useful in large and complex data environments?
  • Can you describe what you mean by the term column-aware in the context of data modeling/data architecture?
    • What are the capabilities that need to be built into a tool for it to be effectively column-aware?
  • What are some of the ways that tools like dbt miss the mark in managing large/complex transformation workloads?
  • Column-awareness is obviously critical in the context of the warehouse. What are some of the ways that that information can be fed into other contexts? (e.g. ML, reverse ETL, etc.)
  • What is the importance of embedding column-level lineage awareness into transformation tool vs. layering on top w/ dedicated lineage/metadata tooling?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen column-aware data modeling used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on building column-aware tooling?
  • When is column-aware modeling the wrong choice?
  • What are some additional resources that you recommend for individuals/teams who want to learn more about data modeling/column aware principles?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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