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The optimal distribution of a database schema over a number of sites in a distributed network is considered. The database is modeled in terms of objects (relations or record sets) and links (predefined joins or CODASYL sets). The design is driven by user-supplied information about data distribution. The inputs required by the optimization model are: 1) cardinality and size information about objects and links, 2) a set of candidate horizontal partitions of relations into fragments and the allocations of the fragments, and 3) the specification of all important transactions, their frequencies, and their sites of origin.