Data warehouses commonly use a surrogate key to uniquely identify an entity. A surrogate is not generated by the user but by the system. A primary difference between a primary key and surrogate key in few databases is that PK uniquely identifies a record while a SK uniquely identifies an entity.
E.g. an employee may be recruited before the year 2000 while another employee with the same name may be recruited after the year 2000. Here, the primary key will uniquely identify the record while the surrogate key will be generated by the system (say a serial number) since the SK is NOT derived from the data.
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