Federated Database System

A federated database system is a type of meta-database management system (DBMS), which transparently maps multiple autonomous database systems into a single federated database. The constituent databases are interconnected via a computer network and may be geographically decentralized. Since the constituent database systems remain autonomous, a federated database system is a contrastable alternative to the (sometimes daunting) task of merging several disparate databases. A federated database, or virtual database, is a composite of all constituent databases in a federated database system. There is no actual data integration in the constituent disparate databases as a result of data federation.

McLeod and Heimbigner were among the first to define a federated database system, as one which "define the architecture and interconnect databases that minimize central authority yet support partial sharing and coordination among database systems".

Through data abstraction, federated database systems can provide a uniform user interface, enabling users and clients to store and retrieve data in multiple noncontiguous databases with a single query -- even if the constituent databases are heterogeneous. To this end, a federated database system must be able to decompose the query into subqueries for submission to the relevant constituent DBMS's, after which the system must composite the result sets of the subqueries. Because various database management systems employ different query languages, federated database systems can apply wrappers to the subqueries to translate them into the appropriate query languages.

  • Note: this description of federated databases does not accurately reflect the McLeod/Heimbigner definition of a federated database. Rather, this description fits what McLeod/Heimbinger called a composite database. McLeod/Heimbigner's federated database is a collection of autonomous components that make their data available to other members of the federation through the publication of an export schema and access operations; there is no unified, central schema that encompasses the information available from the members of the federation.

Among other surveys, defines a Federated Database as a collection of cooperating component systems which are autonomous and are possibly heterogeneous. The three important components of an FDBS as pointed out in are autonomy, heterogeneity and distribution. Another dimension which has also been considered is the Networking Environment Computer Network, e.g., many DBSs over a LAN or many DBSs over a WAN update related functions of participating DBSs (e.g., no updates, nonatomic transitions, atomic updates).

Read more about Federated Database System:  FDBS Architecture, Five Level Schema Architecture For FDBSs

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