Top 5 data virtualization tools features

Data virtualization is a tool that manipulates and retrieves data without the limitations of format or location. Data virtualization technology leverages distributed data management processing to bridge different data sources. This unifies data into a single location, providing a single user view of all relevant data.

A data virtualization tool improves the speed of access and manipulation of data. It does this without communicating with the original source of the data. This allows organizations to deliver data sets cost-effectively while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their system.A data virtualization tool improves the speed of access and manipulation of data. It does this without communicating with the original source of the data. This allows organizations to deliver data sets cost-effectively while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their system.

How does data virtualization work?

Data virtualization is a tool that acts as a middleman between the user and the data source. This tool creates a virtual data fabric, connecting multiple data sources and providing access to data users. This creates a single virtual view of the data within the organization, even if data is stored across multiple physical locations.

Typically, three different layers create the entire data virtualization environment:

The connection layer

This layer is responsible for connecting the different data sources owned by an organization. This is essentially the creation of a network to access an organization's data in real-time.

Abstraction layer

This layer connects multiple data sources with the data owners. The layer gives control of the data sources to manage and use the logic of the data to the organization.

Consumption layer

This layer includes tools and applications that request abstract data. It delivers this data to the designated locations.

The advantages of data virtualization

There are a few key benefits of using data virtualization tools.


Data virtualization allows companies to adopt newer systems, transforming infrastructure from legacy systems to modern cloud-based systems. This is all done without compromising on business or data security. This means that organizations can move to a more efficient data environment without creating disruptions in business operations.

Data security

When data virtualization is implemented within an organization, the goal is to avoid connecting to the source of the data in an effort to improve the speed of access to data. Since the source of the data remains largely untouched by any users or applications, cybersecurity teams within the organization are better equipped to protect data.

Data governance

Data virtualization helps centralize control over data. The original source of the data is untouched, while access to everything that is required is distributed to the designated users. This allows an organization to maintain effective control over data governance and compliance throughout the enterprise without leaving any gaps in the system.

Warp speed

Data virtualization allows companies to enhance the speed of access to data. A virtual data fabric is created on top of the multiple data sources, allowing users to access data without actually having to go to the source. This means the transfer of information is sped up, and time to implementation is reduced.

Cost efficiencies

Data virtualization removes a multitude of moving parts from the system. It allows companies to upgrade their infrastructure without having to overhaul their entire system. This allows them to save on massive hardware costs. Since data virtualization eliminates the need for data duplication, the cost of storage, operations, and maintenance is significantly reduced.

Traditional data warehouses require massive infrastructural effort to execute. Data is duplicated across multiple locations, and this requires companies to invest large amounts of resources into hardware and software, as well as time in moving the data to multiple locations where such infrastructure is set up. Often, there are also a range of data types stored, which need additional processing to utilize.

Data virtualization simply transforms the access plane of the data into a virtual fabric, allowing the companies to keep their data in its original location without creating any copies. This saves resources and time for the organization.

The top 5 features of great data virtualization tools

A data virtualization tool is an important asset for organizations seeking to consolidate their approach to data. There are five top features that good data visualization tools should have.

1. Data modeling

One of the greatest data virtualization tool features is GUI modeling. This allows the tool to use graphical tools to eliminate the need to write custom code. This makes the tool much more user friendly, helping to reduce the load on IT teams and data scientists.

2. Centralized deployment of rules

The virtual data fabric that a data virtualization tool creates allows an organization to implement rules across multiple facets of the organization through a central location. This is made possible by bridging multiple data sources without having to reach and engage with their physical location.

The risk associated with business data is critically high. Since the data is a prized asset of the organization, it must be protected at all costs. When organizations choose to consolidate their data, movement and duplication only make the sources more vulnerable. Data virtualization presents a secure solution to businesses by removing the need to move data, simply removing or creating access to users. This is simple to do, and controlled through the virtual fabric.

3. Zero-latency

It is key for organizations to ensure that data access is a seamless exercise with no latency. One way businesses have been doing this is by creating duplicates of the data in multiple locations. However, this is a cost-heavy and inefficient exercise that can also put data at risk. Therefore, organizations leveraging data virtualization capabilities reduce the latency of access to data to zero. There is no requirement to create copies of the data closer to the end-user. This means super-fast, safe, and smooth data access.

Traditional storage methods such as a data warehouse create duplicates of the data in multiple sources in order to improve the speed of access to data. This means that the location of the data in a data warehousing environment is across multiple servers. These are being accessed in real-time. This creates a far bigger risk for data security, trading safety for speed.

The location of the data does not change during a data virtualization exercise. The process simply sends queries for data without actually accessing the source of the data for every instance. This significantly reduces the time to implementation as well as latency in access to data, while not sacrificing data security.

Because the virtual data fabric easily connects across the organization’s multiple sources of data, this helps users get access to the entire repository of the company without having to create duplicate data. This saves time for businesses on two fronts—once on the access front reduces time to receive data from the source, and second on the duplication front by allowing businesses to avoid creating copies for faster access.

4. Data transformation

A key feature of data virtualization is its ability to create virtual replications of the data that is stored on physical servers. This allows companies to move their key assets of the network without the hassles of creating copies in other physical locations. This exercise is an act of data transformation for an organization and allows them to model data easily and efficiently.

This can help with data consistency, reduce the need for cleansing, and ensure more accurate data.

Solutions such as data warehousing require an intensive extract, transform, load (ETL) process. This involves the duplication of data onto multiple locations, while keeping the data similar and representation different. This creates delays in implementation as well as increasing the likelihood of complications in the process, creating more risk for organizations.

However, a data virtualization tool does not require complicated design or massive installation efforts. The tool simply creates a virtual data fabric that makes access to transformed data from multiple sources efficient and secure.

5. Access controls

Data virtualization helps organizations control the access of data for an organization. Since data is a sensitive asset for any organization, it is important that companies protect it. Data virtualization does this by removing the requirement to move the physical location of the data, thereby removing contact with the source. This allows the organization to gain effective control of rights associated with the data and can deploy protocols to ensure who can and cannot get access to the data.

As data safety and security requirements are constantly being changed, an organization needs to ensure they are compliant. Data virtualization tools can help to avoid breaches of legislation or security problems. Data virtualization tools make it simple to add or remove user access with ease.

How to choose the best data virtualization tool

There are key factors to bear in mind when choosing a data virtualization tool. To ensure the best outcomes for the business, a great piece of software should consider a number of things.


When a data virtualization tool is used, a single layer of access is deployed throughout the system to obtain access to data stored in multiple locations. This can create a high load on the system and send a large number of push queries in order to get access to the data. Therefore, when choosing a data virtualization tool, it is important to understand that the tool must have the ability to deal with a large volume of queries without placing a huge load on the existing system.


Data security is a key consideration when choosing a data virtualization tool. The tool that is chosen must have the ability to keep company data secure and prevent any breaches. Although the process ensures that access to data is limited and sources are protected, the tool must have the necessary measures deployed to ensure that the virtual data fabric that is created is not compromised at any cost.


Data virtualization is a complicated process. When companies choose tools to take their data access over the network, they must take into account the complexities in the installation and deployment of the tool. A highly complicated tool requires more resources and time to install and creates unnecessary delays. Furthermore, a complicated installation process requires careful attention to prevent any errors with the process, where if an error has occurred the resolution is highly complicated as well.

Your organization needs data virtualization

One of the biggest reasons that organizations choose to deploy a data virtualization tool over other methods is to streamline their operations and reduce overhead costs. The process of data virtualization allows businesses to make data accessible throughout the organization, from many different locations, accessible with a single view. This allows users to make informed decisions on relevant, up-to-date data.

Traditional approaches of consolidating data require businesses to invest heavily in infrastructure to move data between and from locations. Data virtualization circumvents this by providing a simpler solution of moving access to the virtual environment. This is a far more scalable approach since it does not require businesses to create copies and invest in infrastructure. This allows businesses to scale faster and more efficiently.

A data virtualization tool is required for any organization wanting to move access to their data over the network without investing heavily in infrastructure. The data virtualization exercise helps businesses expand their enterprise, without limitations of infrastructure. This makes the process an affordable alternative to traditional approaches to business growth while keeping data secure and safe to access.

The process helps protect the source of the data and creates secure access controls for the organization to be deployed in the virtualized environment. A data virtualization exercise transforms an organization, making it more efficient as well as cost-effective.

Modern organizations have complex data needs. Alongside massive volumes, varied data forms, and high security requirements, there are operational data needs too. There must be access to data from multiple locations at the same time, however, moving the data to different locations every time access is required is impractical. Data virtualization offers an unparalleled value proposition to businesses in allowing them to get access to their data through a virtual fabric without having to make adjustments with the source or create duplicates.

Data Virtualization Tools Features Diagram