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Unfortunately there's not really a better approach at this point. Our metadata system was designed many years ago on the premise that it was not updatable at runtime and was just a hand-off from Designer. We have been working to update that design through the 7 and 8 releases but we're not to the point of allowing metadata updates involving structural changes on a live vdb. You can do things to ensure that only a minimal amount of metadata is reloaded, such as only invalidating the metadata cache for specific schemas via the restart-vdb operation or by separating your vdb into several imported vdbs such that only the vdbs that change get redeployed.
Thanks Steven. Based on your commend I saw that the AdminApi provides a restartVDB method which is possible to specify a model to be restarted. I'll give it a go.