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What is a Federated Database Management System?

A Federated Database Management System (FDBMS) is a type of distributed database management system that allows users to access and manipulate data stored in multiple databases. It is a system that integrates data from different sources, providing a single view of the data to users. This type of system is useful in situations where data is distributed across multiple autonomous databases, and there is a need to access and analyze the data in a unified way. A system in which each server is an autonomous and centralized DBMS that has its own local users. The term Federated Database system or in short FDS is basically used when there is some global view or schema of the Federation of the database which is basically shared by the applications. These systems are a hybrid between distributed and centralized systems. 

How Does a Federated Database Management System Work?

A Federated Database Management System works by creating a virtual database that integrates data from multiple autonomous databases. The system consists of a federated database server, which acts as a mediator between the user and the autonomous databases. The federated database server receives queries from the user and distributes them to the appropriate autonomous databases. The results from the autonomous databases are then combined to form a unified view of the data, which is returned to the user.

Issues in DBMS – In heterogeneous FDBMS one server may be network DBMS another an object DBMS and a third a relational or hierarchical DBMS in such cases we may need to have canonical language system and which include language translators to translate subqueries from the canonical language to the language of the server. The type of heterogeneity present in FDBMS may arise basically from several sources. Following types of Heterogeneity or Issues will occur in FDBMS.

  1. Differences in data model – In an organization, we may have different types of the data model for databases such as relational, file, object data model and modeling capabilities of these models vary from one another. Hence to deal with them uniformly in a single language is too challenging. Hence Difference in the data model is the basic issue in FDBMS.
  2. Difference in Constraints – Constraints facilities and its implementation vary from one system to another. There are basically comparable features that must be reconciled in the basic construction of global schema. And this global schema also has to deal with potential conflicts among constraints. For example, the relationship from the ER model is represented as referential integrity constraint in the relational model.
  3. Difference in Query Language – For the same data model, we have so many languages and their version also varies. For example, even in SQL, we have so many versions such as SQL-89, SQL-92 and SQL-99 and these versions have their own set of data types, comparison operators, string manipulation and so on.

  A federated database management system (FDBMS) is a type of distributed database system that allows multiple, autonomous databases to be integrated into a single, unified system. FDBMSs can be used to provide a unified view of data from multiple sources, to share data between different organizations, or to provide access to data from legacy systems. However, there are several issues that can arise when using a federated database management system:

Data consistency: In a federated database system, data may be replicated across multiple databases, and there may be inconsistencies between the different copies of the data. Ensuring data consistency can be a complex and time-consuming process.

Query optimization: Query optimization can be more challenging in a federated database system than in a centralized database system because the data is distributed across multiple databases. Query optimization techniques that work well in a centralized system may not be effective in a federated system.

Security: Federated database systems can introduce new security risks, as data may be accessed by users from multiple organizations or networks. Ensuring the security of the data and access control can be a major challenge in a federated database system.

Performance: In a federated database system, performance can be impacted by the need to access data across multiple databases. This can result in increased network traffic, which can lead to slower query response times.

Heterogeneity: In a federated database system, each database may have a different schema, data model, or data format. Integrating data from heterogeneous sources can be complex and may require significant data transformation and integration work.

Governance: Federated database systems require coordination and governance between different organizations that may have different priorities, standards, and policies. Ensuring consistent governance can be a challenge in a federated database system.

  while federated database systems offer many benefits, they also require careful planning, design, and management to ensure that the system meets the needs of all stakeholders and provides reliable, secure, and efficient access to data.


A Federated Database Management System (FDBMS) is a type of DBMS that allows multiple autonomous databases to be integrated into a single logical database. While FDBMS has several benefits, such as increased flexibility, scalability, and data sharing, it also poses several challenges that need to be addressed. Some of the issues related to FDBMS are:

  1. Heterogeneity: One of the main challenges of FDBMS is the heterogeneity of the different databases that are integrated into the system. These databases may have different data models, query languages, and data types, making it challenging to integrate them into a single logical database.
  2. Data Consistency: Another challenge of FDBMS is ensuring data consistency across multiple autonomous databases. Since each database may have different data validation rules and constraints, there may be inconsistencies in the data that need to be resolved.
  3. Data Security: FDBMS requires a complex security mechanism to ensure that data is secure across all the integrated databases. Access control, authentication, and authorization need to be managed centrally to avoid data breaches.
  4. Query Optimization: FDBMS requires efficient query optimization algorithms that can handle complex queries that span multiple databases. The query optimizer needs to consider the performance of each individual database and the network latency between the databases.
  5. Transaction Management: FDBMS requires transaction management protocols that can handle distributed transactions that span multiple autonomous databases. The protocol needs to ensure that transactions are executed atomically, consistently, and reliably.
  6. Scalability: FDBMS needs to be designed to handle large volumes of data and a large number of users accessing the system simultaneously. The system needs to be scalable and able to handle increasing data volumes and user loads.


Advantages of using a federated database management system:

Data integration: A federated database management system allows the integration of data from different databases and platforms, enabling organizations to combine data from multiple sources into a single view. This makes it easier for organizations to analyze data and gain insights, even if the data is distributed across multiple systems.

Data sharing: A federated database management system enables the sharing of data among different members of the federation, even if they are located in different geographical regions. This can improve collaboration among different departments within an organization, as well as with external partners and customers.

Scalability: A federated database management system can scale to accommodate large volumes of data and high traffic loads, by adding or removing members from the federation as required.

Flexibility: A federated database management system is flexible and can be customized to meet the specific needs of an organization, enabling it to accommodate changes in data requirements, business processes, and technology platforms.

Cost-effective: A federated database management system can be more cost-effective than a centralized database system, as it allows organizations to leverage existing database systems and infrastructure, rather than requiring them to invest in a new centralized system.

Autonomous control: A federated database management system allows each member of the federation to maintain autonomy and control over their own data, while still enabling the sharing of data and integration of systems.

Security: A federated database management system can provide a higher level of security, as each member of the federation can implement their own security policies and access controls to protect their data.

 Disadvantages of federated database management:

Complexity: Federated databases are much more complex than traditional centralized databases, due to the need to manage multiple data sources, schemas, and distributed transactions. This complexity can make it more difficult to design, implement, and maintain the system.

Performance: Federated databases may suffer from performance issues due to the overhead of managing distributed transactions and the need to retrieve data from multiple sources. This can lead to slower response times and increased network traffic.

Security: Federated databases may be more vulnerable to security breaches since they are spread across multiple locations and may be accessed by different users and applications. Ensuring data privacy, integrity, and security across all the distributed databases can be a significant challenge.

Cost: Federated databases can be expensive to implement and maintain, especially if they require specialized hardware, software, and network infrastructure. In addition, there may be licensing and support costs associated with each of the individual databases that make up the federated system.

Complexity of Data Integrity and Consistency: The consistency and integrity of data is a major concern when working with federated databases, because they are distributed across multiple locations. Ensuring that data is consistent and accurate across all the databases can be a significant challenge, especially when dealing with conflicting data from different sources.

Limited Support: Federated database management systems are not as widely used as traditional centralized databases, which can limit the availability of support and expertise. This can make it more difficult to find qualified personnel to implement, maintain, and troubleshoot the system.

Conclusion: A Federated Database Management System is a powerful tool for integrating data from multiple autonomous databases. It provides a unified view of the data, which can be useful in situations where data is distributed across multiple systems. However, there are also several issues associated with its implementation, including data inconsistency, security and privacy risks, performance issues, and complexity. Businesses considering implementing a Federated Database Management System should carefully weigh the benefits and risks to determine if it is the right solution for their needs.

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Last Updated : 25 Apr, 2023
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