Gartner defines data fabric as a design concept that serves as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connecting processes. A data fabric utilizes continuous analytics over existing, discoverable, and inferenced metadata assets to support the design, deployment and utilization of integrated and reusable data across all environments, including hybrid and multi-cloud platforms. 

In practice, a data fabric solution starts with the capability of automatically collecting all forms of metadata, be it technical, business, operational, or social, and building a catalog automatically on the basis of these facts of the data assets.

This bottom-up, fact-based approach is essential to a self-defined data fabric with discoverable, trusted, and reusable data.