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Virtual Database

Definition - What does Virtual Database mean?

A virtual database is a type of database management system that serves as a container to transparently view and query several other databases through a uniform API that culls from multiple sources as if they were a single entity. These databases are connected via a computer network and then accessed as if they are from a single database. A virtual database's goal is to be able to view and access data in a unified way without needing to copy and duplicate it in several databases or manually combine the results from many queries.

Virtual databases are also known as federated databases.

Techopedia explains Virtual Database

Each of the combined databases in the system is completely self-sustaining and functional, and is able to function on its own without depending on other existing databases. When an application requests to access a virtual database, the system figures out which of the databases contain the data being requested by the user and passes on the request to that database. The most important and challenging part of building a virtual database is building a universal data model, which serves as the map or guide to every source of data within the company.

By incorporating several databases under a centralized container, a virtual database offers a lot of benefits. One of its key advantages is that it serves as an alternative merging technique for multiple databases, a rather difficult task to do for most end-users. It can also assist developers in avoiding the tight connection of applications by removing vendor and schema lock-in. Applications just need to be connected to the virtual database to be able to access multiple databases.

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