Try to remember all the times, when you had to collect data from many different sources. I guess, this reminds you all those situations when you have been searching and processing data for many hours, because you had to check every source one by one. After that it turns out that you had missed something and you spent another day attaching that missing data. However, there is solution, which can simplify your work. That solution is called data federation.
What is data federation and how does it work ?
Data federation is a kind of software that standardizes the integration of data from different (sometimes very dispersed) sources. It collects data from multiple sources, creates strategic layer of data and optimizes the integration of dispersed views, providing standardized access to those integrated view of information within single layer of data. That created layer ensures re-usability of the data. Due to that data federation has a very important significance while creating a SOA kind of software (Service Oriented Architecture - a computer system, where the main aim is to create software that will live up user's expectations).
The most important advantages of good data federation software
Data federation strong points:
- Large companies process huge amounts of data, that comes from different sources. In addition, with the company development, there are more and more data sources, that employees have to deal with and eventually it is nearly impossible to work without using specific supportive software.
- Standardized and simplified access to data – thanks to that even when we use data from different, dispersed sources that additionally have different formats, they can look like they are from the same source.
- Users can easily create integrated views of data and libraries of data store, that can be used multiple times.
- Data are provided in real time, from original sources, not from cumulative databases or duplicates.
- Efficient delivery of up-to-date data and protection of database in the same time.
Data federation weaknesses
There is no garden without weeds, so data federation also have some drawbacks.
While using that software, parameters should be closely watched and optimized, because aggregation logic takes place in server, not in the database. Wrong parameters or other errors can influence on the transmission or correctness of results. We should also remember that data comes from big amount of sources and it is important to check their reliability. Through using unproven and uncorrected data, we can have some errors in our work and that can cause financial looses for our company. Software can't always judge if the source is reliable or not, so we have to make sure, that there ale special information managers, who watch over the correctness of data and decide what sources can our data federation application use.
As you can see, data federation system is very important, especially for big companies. It makes work with big amount of data from different sources much easier.
Top Data Federation tools
Below a list of the most popular enterprise data integration tools providing the data federation features:
- SAP BusinessObjects Data Federator
- Sybase Data Federation
- IBM InfoSphere Federation Server
- Oracle Data Service Integrator
- SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server - data federation features
Data federation - further reading on data federation