Skype uses PostgreSQL as their backend database. PostgreSQL doesn't get enough run in the database world so I was excited to see how PostgreSQL is used "as the main DB for most of [Skype's] business needs." Their approach is to use a traditional stored procedure interface for accessing data and on top of that layer proxy servers which hash SQL requests to a set of database servers that actually carry out queries. The result is a horizontally partitioned system that they think will scale to handle 1 billion users.
First, code to insert a user in a database: CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION insert_user(i_username text) RETURNS text AS $$ BEGIN PERFORM 1 FROM users WHERE username = i_username; IF NOT FOUND THEN INSERT INTO users (username) VALUES (i_username); RETURN 'user created'; ELSE RETURN 'user already exists'; END IF; END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql SECURITY DEFINER; Heres the proxy code to distribute the user insert to the correct partition: queries=# CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION insert_user(i_username text) RETURNS TEXT AS $$ CLUSTER 'queries'; RUN ON hashtext(i_username); $$ LANGUAGE plproxy; Your SQL query looks normal: SELECT insert_user("username");- The result of a query is exactly that same as if was executed on the remote database. - Currently they can route 1000-2000 requests/sec on Dual Opteron servers to a 16 parition cluster.