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What is a swift partition

From the deployment guide: (http://docs.openstack.org/developer/swift/deployment_guide.html)

The first step is to determine the number of partitions that will be in the ring. We recommend that there be a minimum of 100 partitions per drive to insure even distribution across the drives. A good starting point might be to figure out the maximum number of drives the cluster will contain, and then multiply by 100, and then round up to the nearest power of two.

I am clear on the numbers, but what is a Swift partition?