I'm trying to learn something about distributed databases and I stumbled upon the concepts of fragmentation and partitioning. It seems to me as if both do the same thing and produce similar results (deviding a relation horizontally/vertically/both).

So what's the difference between fragmentation and partitioning?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Jon Seigel, StanleyJohns, Max Vernon, RolandoMySQLDBA, Michael - sqlbot Sep 6 '13 at 16:26

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  • 1
    What RDBMS are you referring to ? – Kin Shah Jun 29 '13 at 20:05
  • No specific one. Im just asking in general. – nozzleman Jun 29 '13 at 22:21
  • 3
    I think you mean sharding, not fragmentation? – Jon Seigel Jul 10 '13 at 3:18
  • no no, i meant partitioning, i've actually never heard of sharding... – nozzleman Jul 10 '13 at 14:57
  • Then please clarify what you mean by fragmentation, because the two concepts you're asking about are completely different, at least using the standard definitions of them. – Jon Seigel Jul 10 '13 at 16:27

The terminology depends on the RDBMS. In SQL server: Partitioning is a DB feature that can be used to improve performance and/or manageability of your DB.

Fragmentation happens when your rows in the data pages are non-contiguous due to insert/delete operations. Your DB performance will decrease if you have high fragmentation of your data.


look here. Remember partitioning and fragmentation on your local hard disk.


  • Thanks for your answer. Anyway, i think thats not comparable.. – nozzleman Jun 29 '13 at 17:52

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