I have one large table that is partitioned (table name: Trans). At the moment this table is to be created on 32 partitions. This table will contain approximately 300 million records and data older than 14 days will be deleted daily. One of the columns in this table is a reference to a table that will contain up to 5 million records (table name: Sens) and I also want it to be partitioned. I would like to ask you about:

  1. Will it be a problem that both tables will use the same partitioning function? So the Sens table would also be distributed over 32 partitions and would be save on the same files as the Trans table. Is this a good approach ?

  2. The Trans table has a PK based on two columns TranID (Identity (1,1)) and ParititionID. At the moment, FK to a smaller table ('Sens') is based on only one column - SenID. The smaller table also has to be partitioned. What will be the difference in the approach / efficiency / speed of operation if the PK in the Sens table will only be on the IDENTITY (1,1) column instead of the IDENTITY (1,1) column and the partition column, i.e.

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[Sen]

-- or 

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[Sen]
                              [SenID] ASC,
                          ) ON [psTrans]([PartitionID])
  1. Have you ever try to have partition column which is computed ? I am thinking about choose partition according to new column which is computed base on other column in table:

CAST(HASHBYTES('MD5', [othercolumnInTable]) AS tinyint) % 32

2 Answers 2


For the first question, there's no issue with using the same function for two tables as long as the definition of the partition function doesn't ever need to change. You mentioned deleting daily data and your partition function is planned to contain 32 partitions, so I assume that you're creating one partition per day of the month. If so, I can't see a reason why you would need to merge or split partitions. With that said, given that you just have two tables involved there isn't anything wrong with creating two separate functions as well.

Whether or not the two tables should exist on the same database files depends on how you're defining your files and filegroups. Given that you're only keeping 14 days of data and you purge the rest, I assume that you aren't putting some partitions on different classes of storage. 5 million rows in the Sens table really isn't a large number, so it's likely true that there will be no issue with using the same database files with no tables. This is just a guess based on incomplete information.

For the second question, evaluate whether or not a partition-aligned index is the right fit for the table:

An index that is built on the same partition scheme as its corresponding table. When a table and its indexes are in alignment, SQL Server can switch partitions quickly and efficiently while maintaining the partition structure of both the table and its indexes. An index does not have to participate in the same named partition function to be aligned with its base table. However, the partition function of the index and the base table must be essentially the same, in that:

  1. The arguments of the partition functions have the same data type.
  2. They define the same number of partitions.
  3. They define the same boundary values for partitions.

My own opinion is that you shouldn't partition a table with 5 million rows unless you have a very good reason. Partitioning is a feature designed for large tables. Why do you need to partition a table with 5 million rows?

For the final question, I have worked with partitioned tables that have computed partition columns. I do not recommend it unless you have no other choice. We consistently ran into odd issues including partition elimination not working as expected.

  • Please see my post below:)
    – axdna
    Sep 9, 2020 at 10:00

Many thanks for the comprehensive answer. The idea is that there are 32 partitions, 16 files and 8 file group. In other words, each filegroup is supposed to contain 2 files (ie a total of 4 partitions). Honestly, it's my first time designing a large database where I have to create a new file group and use partitioning. Therefore, the above numbers are indicative. Do you have any way to properly divide into files, filegroups and partitions?

Regarding the partitioning of the Trans table, the partition column will be of Tinyint type. Partitioning follows business logic and breaks all data (about 300 million records) into roughly equal parts (or at least that's the assumption). Thus, partitioning will not be by date, but by a column of type Tinyint.

We want to take advantage of partitioning for the Trans table because it will contain a lot of data, ie about 300 million records. In addition, it will have about 60 columns. Moreover, the requirement is that the database could manage 300 inserts per second for this table and at the same time about 250 update operations on this table. So I understand that by partitioning this table, with many insert and update operations, we will be running multiple files at the same time which should speed up and handle the requirements. Although maybe my interpretation is wrong?

In addition to the Sens table, which I am describing here, there will also be one Events table, which will have FK references to the PK of the Trans table and will contain about 100-200 million records. To summarize the tables I think to partition at the moment are Trans (about 300 million records), Sens (about 5 million records), Events (about 100-200 million records). All of them would use the same partitioning function, ie they would be present in 32 partitions, 16 files and 8 filegroups. There should be 300 inserts on the Trans table and 250 ~ 290 updates per second. There should be 200-300 update operations per second in the Sens table. There should be approximately 400-500 inserts per second in the Event table. The main reason to partition them all is not to do all of these operations on one database file, but to distribute it properly. You wrote that you have experience with partitioning. Do you think partitioning will be good for these requirements?

As for data deletion. Every day, data older than 14 days will be removed from the Trans and Events tables. I thought to do it in such a way that with the operation Delete I delete data separately for each partition. I have no experience in this and I do not know if this is the most effective option. Moreover, the solution is to be created as part of AlwaysOn (so maybe there are some limits).

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