A database index is an additional data structure that allows us to locate the required data quickly without going through the entire dataset in the database. A secondary index is a mechanism to efficiently access records in a database through attributes other than the primary key. While the lookup by primary key always returns a single record, a query on the secondary index can return multiple records.

Partitioning a database with secondary indexes is inherently complex, as the partitioning strategy applies both to the primary dataset and the secondary index.

Broadly speaking, there are two strategies to partition the secondary index:

  • Partition by document

  • Partition by term

Partition by document

In the partition by document strategy, every partition acts as an independent database on its own. This is because every partition hosts both the primary dataset and its secondary indexes.

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