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Data federation technology represents an alternative model for the storage, collection and use of enterprise data. The term refers to software resources that help users create a virtual database through building the acquisition of remote data into middleware that may be used to present data, which is stored throughout a diverse architecture, to users.
Data federation technology is also known as data virtualization technology.
Experts define a virtual data federation technology database as a data structure that contains metadata about remote data, rather than the actual data. The traditional alternative is to build a separate and collective on-site data warehouse, but modern vendors have circumvented this by offering data federation technology solutions that serve as a "digital reference resource," where data from multiple locations can be recalled as required. Various names are used to refer to the types of approaches that use data federation technology, including data virtualization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or enterprise information integration (EII). These types of provisions appeal to a variety of businesses in certain fields, like data governance.