Here's a thought, based on incomplete evidence (and guessing at code you aren't showing (and based on having read some DBM source a long
When dealing with a hash tied to a DBM,
does disk I/O. The larger the underlying database grows, the greater the number of page reads needed to check that the key exists. Getting the corresponding value requires additional page reads.
Since a single script is creating the file, and you don't need to worry about concurrent access while the file is being created, it might make sense to short-circuit existing testing by adding an in-memory hash of valid keys.
You might also consider using md5_base64(), which returns a 22 byte string instead of the 32 byte returned by md5_hex(). Given the number of records you're dealing with, that'll save you space and time.
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