What "Data Lineage Done Right" Looks Like And How They're Doing It At Manta


July 31st, 2022

1 hr 5 mins 18 secs

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About this Episode


Data lineage is the roadmap for your data platform, providing visibility into all of the dependencies for any report, machine learning model, or data warehouse table that you are working with. Because of its centrality to your data systems it is valuable for debugging, governance, understanding context, and myriad other purposes. This means that it is important to have an accurate and complete lineage graph so that you don’t have to perform your own detective work when time is in short supply. In this episode Ernie Ostic shares the approach that he and his team at Manta are taking to build a complete view of data lineage across the various data systems in your organization and the useful applications of that information in the work of every data stakeholder.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Ernie Ostic about Manta, an automated data lineage service for managing visibility and quality of your data workflows


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you describe what Manta is and the story behind it?
  • What are the core problems that Manta aims to solve?
  • Data lineage and metadata systems are a hot topic right now. What is your summary of the state of the market?
    • What are the capabilities that would lead a team or organization to choose Manta in place of the other options?
  • What are some examples of "data lineage done wrong"? (what does that look like?)
    • What are the risks associated with investing in an incomplete solution for data lineage?
    • What are the core attributes that need to be tracked consistently to enable a comprehensive view of lineage?
  • How do the practices for collecting lineage and metadata differ between structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data assets and their movement?
  • Can you describe how Manta is implemented?
    • How have the design and goals of the product changed or evolved?
  • What is involved in integrating Manta with an organization’s data systems?
    • What are the biggest sources of friction/errors in collecting and cleaning lineage information?
  • One of the interesting capabilities that you advertise is versioning and time travel for lineage information. Why is that a necessary and useful feature?
  • Once an organization’s lineage information is available in Manta, how does it factor into the daily workflow of different roles/stakeholders?
  • There are a variety of use cases for metadata in a data platform beyond lineage. What are the benefits that you see from focusing on that as a core competency?
  • Beyond validating quality, identifying errors, etc. it seems that automated discovery of lineage could produce insights into when the presence of data assets that shouldn’t exist. What are some examples of similar discoveries that you are aware of?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen Manta used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on Manta?
  • When is Manta the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Manta?

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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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