For range-partitioned and hash partitioned tables, you can specify up to 16 partitioning key columns. Use multicolumn partitioning when the partitioning key is composed of several columns and subsequent columns define a higher granularity than the preceding ones. The most common scenario is a decomposed `DATE`

or `TIMESTAMP`

key, consisting of separated columns, for year, month, and day.

In evaluating multicolumn partitioning keys, the database uses the second value only if the first value cannot uniquely identify a single target partition, and uses the third value only if the first and second do not determine the correct partition, and so forth. A value cannot determine the correct partition only when a partition bound exactly matches that value and the same bound is defined for the next partition. The n^{th} column is investigated only when all previous (n-1) values of the multicolumn key exactly match the (n-1) bounds of a partition. A second column, for example, is evaluated only if the first column exactly matches the partition boundary value. If all column values exactly match all of the bound values for a partition, then the database determines that the row does not fit in this partition and considers the next partition for a match.

For nondeterministic boundary definitions (successive partitions with identical values for at least one column), the partition boundary value becomes an inclusive value, representing a "less than or equal to" boundary. This is in contrast to deterministic boundaries, where the values are always regarded as "less than" boundaries.

This sections contains the following topics: