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).

Strengths of a good data federation software

Data federation weaknesses

There is no garden without weeds, so data federation also have some drawbacks.

While using federation software, parameters and queries should be closely watched and optimized, because aggregation and join logic takes place in a database, not in the federation server.
Wrong parameters or other errors can influence on the transmission or correctness of results. Data is coming from multiple sources and it is important to check its reliability and usablitiy.
Using incorrect or unproven data might cause errors and that can lead to financial losses of a company. A data federation software can't judge if a source is reliable or not, so it's beneficial when there are information managers who govern the data and decide what sources can be used by data federation applications and how they should be accessed.

A reliable data federation system is very important, especially for big companies. It makes work with big amount of data from different sources much easier.

Best 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
  • Cisco data federation - component of the data virtualization platform

    Data federation and Data virtualization

    Data federation is a subset of data virtualization which is a broader category and might include also data caching, data warehouse and ETL replication, propagation through SOA / BPM / ESB, web / portals / social platforms / CMS integration.
    More information on Data virtualization tools and software reviews plus analysis of advantages and disadvantages of using a data virtualization platform.