Just a couple minor clarifications on partitioned tables:
First, as far as the application is concerned, there's a single table. While it *could* access the subordinate tables individually, it normally wouldn't. When you submit your query, the database server has the task of converting your query against the main table into queries against the subordinate tables: so your application doesn't get more complicated--only the database management does.
Secondly, MS SQL Server doesn't keep a table of pointers to the other tables: Instead there's a function that returns the table. I doubt that other database servers use a table of pointers, either, as that would be another table and index to maintain.
Another advantage of partitioned tables is that a single query on your table can break into a query per subordinate table, and those can be queried in parallel. So many queries are faster that would occur in a non-partitioned table.
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