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A database shard is a horizontal partition of data in a database or search engine. The word “Shard” means “a small part of a whole“. Sharding is the process of breaking up large tables into smaller chunks called shards that are spread across multiple servers. Sharding is a database architecture pattern related to horizontal partitioning — the practice of separating one table's rows into multiple different. Sharding a database is a common scalability strategy used when designing server side systems. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.