A metabase (sometimes called a metadatabase or metadata repository) is a database for storing metadata (data that describes data) for a specific purpose. For example, a metabase might include metadata about all configuration information in a system gathered from a number of sources. A physical metabase is one in which the metadata is actually collected into a single place before it is accessed. A virtual metabase is one in which metadata is gathered on the fly when it is needed, possibly when a program is executing.
An example is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) metabase for computer vulnerability data, ICAT, which can be accessed from a search index to connect users to multiple vulnerability databases and patch Web sites. ICAT is available for public access.
Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) includes a metabase designed to store IIS configuration settings. MetaMatrix's product, MetaBase, is designed to enable data management across a large enterprise with diverse types and sources of data.