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Data virtualization describes the process of integrating disparate systems (databases, applications, file repositories, websites, data services vendors, etc.) through a common data access approach (which may be any of several data access mechanisms).
This integration enables data consumers (applications and/or users) to target this common data access point rather than making each data consuming tool handle multiples of any or all of these.
To resolve differences in source and consumer formats, semantics, etc, various abstraction and transformation techniques are used.
This concept and software is a subset of data integration and is commonly used within business intelligence, service-oriented architecture data services, cloud computing, enterprise search, and master data management.
- Linked Data can use a single hyperlink-based Data Source Name (DSN) to provide a connection to a virtual database layer that is internally connected to a variety of back-end data sources using ODBC, JDBC, OLE DB, ADO.NET, SOA-style services, and/or REST patterns.
- Database virtualization may use a single ODBC-based DSN to provide a connection to a similar virtual database layer.
Data Virtualization software is an enabling technology which provides some or all of the following capabilities:
- Abstraction – Abstract the technical aspects of stored data, such as location, storage structure, API, access language, and storage technology.
- Virtualized Data Access – Connect to different data sources and make them accessible from a common logical data access point.
- Transformation – Transform, improve quality, reformat, etc. source data for consumer use.
- Data Federation – Combine results sets from across multiple source systems.
- Data Delivery – Publish result sets as views and/or data services executed by client application or users when requested.
Data virtualization software may include functions for development, operation, and/or management.
Reference Books 
- Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility
- Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems: Revolutionizing Data Integration for Data Warehouses
Enterprise Information Integration (EII) and data federation have been used by some vendors to describe a core element of data virtualization: the capability to create relational JOINs in a federated VIEW.
See also 
- Data integration
- Enterprise Information Integration (EII)
- Master data management
- Database virtualization
- Disparate system
In alphabetical order:
- Composite Software
- Denodo Technologies
- Informatica Corporation
- OpenLink Software
- Radiant Logic
- SAS (software)
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