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They're all set up to allow access from the main database's IP address.
FEDERATED storage engines [dev.mysql.com] looks like another approach that may be useful to me.
Has anyone any insight or active experience of using this storage engine? Thoughts appreciated.
Agreed on the tutorials, outside of the mysql documentation, I found an O'Reilly article on them fairly useful and insightful.
It looks like using them requires very careful planning of queries, or you can end up doing a full table scan (and sending the full table across the network).
I had plans for using federated with partitions but it appears that there are quite a few bugs with that combo just now. Partitions would be paired with the various remote servers being used...partitioning the federated table as well as the remote tables could lead to some very fancy / large / optimised setups, like a DNS type lookup, or a product comparison DB.
They could be a very useful and powerful part of mysql in the future.