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Are there any practical datasets that, by their nature, cannot be partitioned in any practical way?

I am wondering about this because such datasets would be ill-suited to scaling out on commodity hardware and databases containing such data could be forced to scale up on expensive servers, at great cost.

Edit: by nature, I mean that the lack of partitionability is a consequence of the data and of the queries that must be made against it, rather than poor design choices.

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  • Any data set which only contains values which are very similar, or has many identical values wouldn't partition very well (e.g., Y/N, 1/0, True/False, NULL/NOTNULL flags). Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 8:55

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