Considerations for a Manual Partitioning Strategy in Accumulo On the Accumulo Users mailing list, Adam F. suggested:
1. Parallelism and balance at ingest time. You need to find a happy medium between too few partitions (not enough parallelism) and too many partitions (tablet server resource contention and inefficient indexes). Probably at least one partition per tablet server being actively written to is good, and you'll want to pre-split so they can be distributed evenly. Ten partitions per tablet server is probably not too many -- I wouldn't expect to see contention at that point.
2. Parallelism and balance at query time. At query time, you'll be selecting a subset of all of the partitions that you've ever ingested into. This subset should be bounded similarly to the concern addressed in #1, but the bounds could be looser depending on the types of queries you want to run. Lower latency queries would tend to favor only a few partitions per node.
3. Growth over time in partition size. Over time, you want partitions to be bounded to less than about 10-100GB. This has to do with limiting the maximum amount of time that a major compaction will take, and impacts availability and performance in the extreme cases. At the same time, you want partitions to be as large as possible so that their indexes are more efficient.
One strategy to optimize partition size would be to keep using each partition until it is "full", then make another partition. Another would be to allocate a certain number of partitions per day, and then only put data in those partitions during that day. These strategies are also elastic, and can be tweaked as the cluster grows.
In all of these cases, you will need a good load balancing strategy. The default strategy of evening up the number of partitions per tablet server is probably not sufficient, so you may need to write your own tablet load balancer that is aware of your partitioning strategy.