What is Federated databases

Federated Databases: An Overview

Federated databases are gaining popularity among businesses as they offer a way to integrate data without centralizing it in a single location. A federated database is comprised of multiple databases that are distributed across different locations, each with its own schema and data models. These databases are integrated under one umbrella, allowing users to perform queries across multiple databases as if they were a single unit.

In this article, we will look at the basics of federated databases, how they work, and their benefits and challenges. We will also highlight how federated databases are being used in the market today, and their potential for the future.

How Do Federated Databases Work?

With federated databases, data is stay distributed, but it is integrated virtually so that access and control are centralized. It is a contrast to a centralized database where all data is stored in one central repository. In a federated database architecture, there are multiple nodes, each containing a database. Queries can be executed on one or more nodes in the system. Data is often transferred via a middleware layer which manages the communication between the nodes.

Federated databases use a heterogeneous database management system (DBMS) or systems to integrate data. The integration of each database has some unique challenges, and as each DBMS is different, integrating them all can be quite challenging. To overcome this challenge, a middleware component is used, which acts as a traffic cop for each database. The traffic cop will take in a query, break it into subqueries, and pass these to the different DBMS, and finally combining the results and returning them to the user.

Benefits of Federated Databases

Federated databases offer several benefits, such as:

  • Scalability: Federated databases allow companies to add additional database nodes to their system, increasing the capacity to store and process more data. This makes federated databases scalable so that as a company grows, it can add extra capacity when it is needed.
  • Increased Availability and Redundancy: Federated databases always have multiple copies of the same data stored in different locations. Therefore, in the event of a failure, databases can continue to work as the system can switch to another node. This ensures that the database remains available even in the event of a failure.
  • Flexibility: Federated databases allow companies to retain control over their data without the need to centralize it. Data can be stored in various formats, models, and schemas, making it more flexible for users to access and query the data they need.
  • Better Performance: Federated databases distribute queries among multiple nodes, so they can handle large data volumes more efficiently than centralized databases. This can result in faster response times and better performance overall.
Challenges of Federated Databases

Federated databases are a complex integration of multiple databases, each with its own schema, data models, and query languages. This can be a particular challenge when attempting to integrate external databases, as they may use their own DBMS, and require a significant effort to integrate. Federated databases also require a high level of expertise to maintain and manage, which can be a challenge for small businesses with limited resources.

Use Cases of Federated Databases

Federated databases are used in a wide range of applications such as customer data management, financial data processing, distributed data warehousing, and many more. Some use cases of federated databases include:

  • Financial Data Processing: Federated databases can be used to consolidate financial data from multiple branches or even financial services. In this case, data is processed and consolidated from all the different branches, which brings larger datasets to a central location. This improves risk assessments, fraud detection, and compliance reporting, among others.
  • Distributed Data Warehousing: By bringing data together from multiple sources and storing it in a distributed network, federated databases are ideal for creating a distributed data warehouse. Organizations with multiple departments or geographically dispersed offices can use federated databases to centralize data in a way that makes it easier to maintain and use.
  • Customer Data Management: Federated databases are ideal for storing and managing customer data across multiple databases. By using a federated database, the data is centralized but still distributed, and users can access it as if it were in a single database.
The Future of Federated Databases

The use of federated databases is expected to continue to grow in the future as more organizations start to see the benefits of distributed data processing. The improved production of federated databases will see more and more applications of federated databases. The big data processing area is expected to benefit from federated databases, which are perfect for dealing with large data volumes, complex data processing, and data integration. Additionally, with more advanced data warehousing and customer data management capabilities appearing on the market, federated databases will be the ideal storage mechanism.


Federated databases are playing an increasingly important role in managing large amounts of data, especially for companies with distributed branches, multiple data sources, and complex data queries. The distributive nature of these databases presents many advantages, including improved scalability, better redundancy, increased flexibility, and reduced storage costs. There are challenges in managing and maintaining these databases, but the potential benefits outweigh the risks, especially for organizations looking to harness big data's power. With more enhanced capabilities appearing in the market, federated databases' future is promising, and they are widely being adopted by several companies.

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