A distributed database is a database in which data is stored across different physical locations. It may be stored in multiple computers located in the same physical location (e.g. a data centre); or maybe dispersed over a network of interconnected computers. Unlike parallel systems, in which the processors are tightly coupled and constitute a single database system, a distributed database system consists of loosely coupled sites that share no physical components.
System administrators can distribute collections of data (e.g. in a database) across multiple physical locations. A distributed database can reside on organised network servers or decentralised independent computers on the Internet, on corporate intranets or extranets, or on other organisation networks. Because distributed databases store data across multiple computers, distributed databases may improve performance at end-user worksites by allowing transactions to be processed on many machines, instead of being limited to one.
Two processes ensure that the distributed databases remain up-to-date and current: replication and duplication.
Both replication and duplication can keep the data current in all distributive locations.
Besides distributed database replication and fragmentation, there are many other distributed database design technologies. For example, local autonomy, synchronous, and asynchronous distributed database technologies. The implementation of these technologies can and do depend on the needs of the business and the sensitivity/confidentiality of the data stored in the database and the price the business is willing to spend on ensuring data security, consistency and integrity.
When discussing access to distributed databases, Microsoft favors the term distributed query, which it defines in protocol-specific manner as "[a]ny SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement that references tables and rowsets from one or more external OLE DB data sources". Oracle provides a more language-centric view in which distributed queries and distributed transactions form part of distributed SQL.
distributed query[:] Any SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement that references tables and rowsets from one or more external OLE DB data sources.
Distributed SQL synchronously accesses and updates data distributed among multiple databases. [...] Distributed SQL includes distributed queries and distributed transactions.