Vendors in the data management space lately have been flinging about a new term, “data lake,” to describe the vast pools of data that are forming across enterprises.

What, exactly, is a data lake, and how does it differ from a virtualized data layer, or cloud-based storage? While it sounds an awful like the latest marketing buzzword, it actually offers an alternative to enterprise data warehouses. And, let's face it, a “lake”evokes much more positive imagery than that of a “warehouse.”

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