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Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals, The by Ken Henderson

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Recap

You create a server federation by creating a partitioned view that's distributed across a group of servers. These servers refer to one another via regular linked server references.

SQL Server imposes a number of restrictions on partitioned views, but once those restrictions are met, the query optimizer on each server in the federation handles eliminating unnecessary partitions (either at compile-time or at runtime) so that these partitions are not needlessly scanned for matching rows.

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