Primer: The Virtual DatabaseBy Regina Kwon Print
What is it? A way to manage many different data sources as though they were all in one place.
The details vary by vendor, but every virtual database has a generic data model. This model has to be precise enough to be useful ("Color" instead of "Feature1"), but not so precise that it starts to be exclusive ("SizeInMillimeters" instead of "Size"). A virtual database also has a map that shows how it relates to its data sources. Although it doesn't need to have a place to store the data it is managing, a virtual database does need a place to store its model, mappings and other information.
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