What is a Repository?

Generally, an information technology repository is a centralized place where data is stored and maintained in an organized way, typically in computer storage. A repository can serve different functions. It can be directly accessible to users without having to travel across a network, or it can be a place in which specific databases, files, or documents are stored for access or distribution. A repository can be the aggregation of the data itself into an accessible place of storage, or it could allow for selective extraction of data. Repository is a broad term that can be used to describe various ways to collect and store data, including:

  • Database: a collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data.
  • Data warehouse: A large data repository that aggregates data from multiple sources or segments of a business.
  • Data lake: A large data repository that stores unstructured data that is classified and tagged with metadata.
  • Data mart: subsets of a data repository. These are typically smaller and focused on a particular area or department.
  • Data cube: Lists of data with three or more dimensions stored as a table.

Software repository

A software repository is a storage location for software packages, where things such as a table of contents, source code, and metadata are located. Within an enterprise, a software repository is used to store artifacts or mirror external repositories that may otherwise be unavailable due to security restrictions.

A software repository can provide additional functionality such as access control, versioning, security checks for uploaded software, and cluster functionality. It typically supports a variety of formats in order to provide a single source of truth. There are also built-in security features such as anti-malware design and an authentication system to protect users. In theory, a genuine user should be able to log into a safe environment, find specific software or code resources, and get them for interacting with the software system as a whole.

Hosted software repositories such as GitHub, BitBucket, and SourceForge can be used when a company is creating a software repository for proprietary or open source products.


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Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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