Get Metadata activity in Azure Data Factory

APPLIES TO: yesAzure Data Factory yesAzure Synapse Analytics (Preview)

You can use the Get Metadata activity to retrieve the metadata of any data in Azure Data Factory. You can use this activity in the following scenarios:

  • Validate the metadata of any data.
  • Trigger a pipeline when data is ready/available.

The following functionality is available in the control flow:

  • You can use the output from the Get Metadata activity in conditional expressions to perform validation.
  • You can trigger a pipeline when a condition is satisfied via Do Until looping.


The Get Metadata activity takes a dataset as an input and returns metadata information as output. Currently, the following connectors and corresponding retrievable metadata are supported. The maximum size of returned metadata is 2 MB.


If you run the Get Metadata activity on a self-hosted integration runtime, the latest capabilities are supported on version 3.6 or later.

Supported connectors

File storage

Connector/Metadata itemName
Amazon S3 √/√ √/√ x/x √/√* x √/√*
Google Cloud Storage √/√ √/√ x/x √/√* x √/√*
Azure Blob storage √/√ √/√ x/x √/√* √/√
Azure Data Lake Storage Gen1 √/√ √/√ x/x √/√ x √/√
Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 √/√ √/√ x/x √/√ x √/√
Azure Files √/√ √/√ √/√ √/√ x √/√
File system √/√ √/√ √/√ √/√ x √/√
SFTP √/√ √/√ x/x √/√ x √/√
FTP √/√ √/√ x/x x/x x √/√
  • When using Get Metadata activity against a folder, make sure you have LIST/EXECUTE permission to the given folder.
  • For Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage, lastModified applies to the bucket and the key but not to the virtual folder, and exists applies to the bucket and the key but not to the prefix or virtual folder.
  • For Azure Blob storage, lastModified applies to the container and the blob but not to the virtual folder.
  • lastModified filter currently applies to filter child items but not the specified folder/file itself.
  • Wildcard filter on folders/files is not supported for Get Metadata activity.
  • structure and columnCount are not supported when getting metadata from Binary, JSON or XML files.

Relational database

Connector/Metadata structure columnCount exists
Azure SQL Database
Azure SQL Managed Instance
Azure SQL Data Warehouse
SQL Server

Metadata options

You can specify the following metadata types in the Get Metadata activity field list to retrieve the corresponding information:

Metadata type Description
itemName Name of the file or folder.
itemType Type of the file or folder. Returned value is File or Folder.
size Size of the file, in bytes. Applicable only to files.
created Created datetime of the file or folder.
lastModified Last modified datetime of the file or folder.
childItems List of subfolders and files in the given folder. Applicable only to folders. Returned value is a list of the name and type of each child item.
contentMD5 MD5 of the file. Applicable only to files.
structure Data structure of the file or relational database table. Returned value is a list of column names and column types.
columnCount Number of columns in the file or relational table.
exists Whether a file, folder, or table exists. Note that if exists is specified in the Get Metadata field list, the activity won't fail even if the file, folder, or table doesn't exist. Instead, exists: false is returned in the output.


When you want to validate that a file, folder, or table exists, specify exists in the Get Metadata activity field list. You can then check the exists: true/false result in the activity output. If exists isn't specified in the field list, the Get Metadata activity will fail if the object isn't found.


When you get metadata from file stores and configure modifiedDatetimeStart or modifiedDatetimeEnd, the childItems in output will include only files in the given path that have a last modified time within the specified range. In won’t include items in subfolders.


Get Metadata activity

	"name": "MyActivity",
	"type": "GetMetadata",
	"typeProperties": {
		"fieldList" : ["size", "lastModified", "structure"],
		"dataset": {
			"referenceName": "MyDataset",
			"type": "DatasetReference"


	"name": "MyDataset",
	"properties": {
	"type": "AzureBlob",
		"linkedService": {
			"referenceName": "StorageLinkedService",
			"type": "LinkedServiceReference"
		"typeProperties": {
			"filename": "file.json",

Type properties

Currently, the Get Metadata activity can return the following types of metadata information:

Property Description Required
fieldList The types of metadata information required. For details on supported metadata, see the Metadata options section of this article. Yes
dataset The reference dataset whose metadata is to be retrieved by the Get Metadata activity. See the Capabilities section for information on supported connectors. Refer to the specific connector topics for dataset syntax details. Yes
formatSettings Apply when using format type dataset. No
storeSettings Apply when using format type dataset. No

Sample output

The Get Metadata results are shown in the activity output. Following are two samples showing extensive metadata options. To use the results in a subsequent activity, use this pattern: @{activity('MyGetMetadataActivity').output.itemName}.

Get a file's metadata

  "exists": true,
  "itemName": "test.csv",
  "itemType": "File",
  "size": 104857600,
  "lastModified": "2017-02-23T06:17:09Z",
  "created": "2017-02-23T06:17:09Z",
  "contentMD5": "cMauY+Kz5zDm3eWa9VpoyQ==",
  "structure": [
        "name": "id",
        "type": "Int64"
        "name": "name",
        "type": "String"
  "columnCount": 2

Get a folder's metadata

  "exists": true,
  "itemName": "testFolder",
  "itemType": "Folder",
  "lastModified": "2017-02-23T06:17:09Z",
  "created": "2017-02-23T06:17:09Z",
  "childItems": [
      "name": "test.avro",
      "type": "File"
      "name": "folder hello",
      "type": "Folder"

Next steps

Learn about other control flow activities supported by Data Factory: