Metadata-Driven Data Pipelines: The Secret Behind Data Magicians’ Greatest Tricks

29 Apr 2023 | Blog, What is


AgileData mission is to reduce the complexity of managing data.

In the modern data world there are many capability categories, each with their own specialised terms, technologies and three letter acronyms, We want managing data to be simply magical, so we share articles that explain these terms as simply as we know how.

In this article we describe what is Metadata-driven data pipelines.

Metadata-driven data pipelines are the secret behind seamless data flows, empowering data magicians to create adaptable, scalable, and evolving data management systems. Leveraging metadata, these pipelines are dynamic, flexible, and automated, allowing for easy handling of changing data sources, formats, and requirements without manual intervention.


Hello, fellow data magicians!

Ever wondered how you can create seamless data flows that don’t need constant tinkering?

The answer lies in metadata-driven data pipelines.

Today, we’re going to delve into the mystical world of these pipelines, explore what they are, and learn how they make you the go-to wizard in your data realm.

Data is an organisations lifeblood, data pipelines move that blood

First, let’s set the scene. As data magicians, you know that data is the lifeblood of any organisation, and for the data to be useful, it needs to be transformed, enriched, and analysed. And that’s where data pipelines come in. Think of a data pipeline as a network of interconnected processes that allow data to flow seamlessly from its source to its destination.

Sounds like magic, right? 

Metadata Magic

Now, let’s talk about the secret ingredient that makes this magic happen: metadata.

Metadata is often referred to as “data about data”. It describes the properties, structure, and context of the actual data, making it easier for both humans and machines to understand and process.

For instance, when it comes to an image file, metadata might include the file format, dimensions, and date it was created.

Metadata-driven data pipelines

When you combine metadata with data pipelines, you get metadata-driven data pipelines.

These pipelines are designed to manage and process data by leveraging metadata at every stage. In a nutshell, metadata-driven data pipelines are data pipelines that can adapt, scale, and evolve without you needing to manually adjust them every time there’s a change in the data or its requirements.

So, how do metadata-driven data pipelines work their magic?

The answer lies in their ability to be dynamic, flexible, and automated. Let’s break it down.


Metadata-driven data pipelines are built to handle change. As you know, data is always changing – new sources, formats, and requirements emerge every day.

Metadata-driven data pipelines use metadata to understand these changes and adjust the pipeline accordingly. For example, when a new column is added to a data source, the pipeline will automatically detect the change and update itself to handle it.


Metadata-driven data pipelines can adapt to a wide range of scenarios, thanks to the power of metadata. This means that as a data magician, you won’t have to worry about creating custom pipelines for each unique data transformation.

Metadata-driven data pipelines can handle complex transformations, data quality checks, and schema changes with ease, making your life a whole lot easier.


Metadata-driven data pipelines are designed to be self-managing, reducing the need for manual intervention.

They can automatically detect changes in data sources, formats, and requirements, making it easy for you to focus on what really matters – analysing the data and extracting valuable insights.

And the best part? Metadata-driven data pipelines can learn from their past experiences, becoming more efficient and effective over time.

Creating Metadata-driven data pipelines

By now, you might be wondering how to create your own metadata-driven data pipeline. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here’s a high-level overview to help you get started.

Identify your data sources, formats, and requirements.

This is crucial because the metadata you generate will depend on these factors. Make a list of all the data sources you’ll be working with, the formats they come in, and the transformation requirements. 

Generate metadata for each data source.

Once you have a clear understanding of your data landscape, it’s time to create metadata. This can be done using various techniques, such as manually curating the metadata or using automated tools and processes to extract it. Make sure your metadata is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date, as it will play a critical role in the success of your metadata-driven data pipeline.

Design and build your metadata-driven data pipeline.

With your metadata in hand, you can start designing the pipeline architecture. This involves creating a flexible, modular, and scalable framework that can accommodate various data sources, formats, and requirements. Keep in mind that automation is key – the more you can automate, the more efficient and adaptable your pipeline will be.

Implement data transformations and quality checks using metadata.

As your data flows through the pipeline, it will need to be transformed and enriched based on your requirements. Leverage your metadata to drive these transformations, ensuring that your pipeline can adapt to changes in the data landscape without manual intervention. Additionally, use metadata to enforce data quality checks, validating and cleaning the data as it moves through the pipeline.

Monitor and optimise your metadata-driven data pipeline.

Once your pipeline is up and running, it’s important to continuously monitor its performance and make improvements as needed. This may involve updating your metadata, refining your transformations, or tweaking the pipeline architecture to better handle changes in data sources, formats, and requirements.


And there you have it! By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a powerful metadata-driven data pipeline that can adapt, scale, and evolve with the ever-changing data landscape.

As a data magician, you now possess the secret to performing some of the most extraordinary tricks in the world of data analytics.

Metadata-driven data pipelines are the key to unlocking the full potential of your data. By using metadata to drive your pipelines, you’ll create a dynamic, flexible, and automated system that can handle the complexities of today’s data landscape with ease. So, go forth and wield your newfound power, dear data magicians, and make the world a better place, one byte at a time.

Keep making data simply magical

The AgileData product has the pattern of Metadata-driven data pipelines built into its core.

Every action you take in the AgileData App is stored in our config engine, our version of metadata. 

Whether your collecting new data, designing the data, creating a new change rule, or applying a trust rule it is all stored in the AgileData config. We use this config when ever we need to execute code.  We use this config when we collect and store the data, when we validate the data. when we change and combine the data, when we you consume the data.

Config is the lifeblood of the AgileData product and platform.

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