You might be familiar with the term partitioning – meaning splitting into separate parts - if you’ve ever installed more than one operating system on a disk drive. When it comes to database partitioning it still means “splitting”, but it’s also a way to improve performance and user experience.
It’s about how data can be “drilled down” in to, and made more meaningful by applying different search criteria or transformations to it. This data is then retrieved without gathering all the surrounding non-relevant data. For example, a list of contacts might be categorised alphabetically, but you might only be interested in contacts who joined the list in the last month from a particular area. So the database only retrieves these. By partitioning the data, it is split in to smaller, more useful and less cumbersome chunks. It has the advantage of improving performance, availability and ease of access, in line with the goals of the business.